Golden 'Pete' Sunkett Sr., 75, Camden Councilman, Detective

Posted: May 13, 1993

Golden "Pete" Sunkett Sr., 75, a former Camden councilman and respected Camden police detective, died Sunday at Kennedy Memorial Hospitals/Cherry Hill Division.

Mr. Sunkett was named to City Council in 1969 to fill a retirement opening. He was subsequently reelected and served until 1979.

During his tenure, Mr. Sunkett became head of the police committee and received many citations for his work to improve Camden's Police Department and neighborhoods, said a daughter, Sylvia, a Camden resident.

"He had a certain rapport with the community," said Sylvia. "He demanded respect, and they respected him," said another daughter, Audrey, also of Camden. "People were scared of him - and so were we."

Mr. Sunkett's service to the community as a police officer for more than 30 years was highlighted by many awards as well, Sylvia said.

He joined the force in 1944, became the first black motorcycle patrolman in the city, and was a charter member of the city's Fraternal Order of Police lodge, said Orlando Rodriguez, a fellow FOP member.

"If it wasn't for him, there wouldn't be an FOP chapter in Camden," Rodriguez said.

Former Cherry Hill Police Chief Frank Jones recalled a tip he once got from Mr. Sunkett about a planned holdup at a township shopping senter. The tip led to the arrests of four men and solved three payroll heists.

"Cooperation of such kind should prevail among all enforcement agencies in the nation," Jones said.

"Pete Sunkett and his partner and best friend, Nate Jones, were two of the best detectives known in Camden," daughter Sylvia said.

"They were like the 'Untouchables' together," added Audrey.

He was also an exceptional athlete. In 1989, he was admitted to the South Jersey Baseball Hall of Fame for pitching. He played for the Camden Giants and Philadelphia Stars of the Negro Professional League, Audrey said. He was also an avid bowler who won 15 bowling titles, she said.

During the late 1950s, Mr. Sunkett was a coach for a Centerville Little League Baseball team. "His sons were all good athletes," said his oldest son, Sonny, of Cherry Hill.

Besides his son and two daughters, Mr. Sunkett is survived by four other sons, Gary of Camden, Gordon of Lindenwold, Glenn of California and Guy; another daughter, Sandra of Philadelphia; 14 grandchildren, and a sister, Margaret Patterson.

A viewing will be held at 9 a.m. tomorrow at the Miller Funeral Home, 831 Van Hook St., Camden, with services at 11 a.m. Burial will be in Sunset Memorial Park, Pennsauken.

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