Rudolph E. Liberto, 85, of N.J. farming family

Rudolph E. Liberto
Rudolph E. Liberto
Posted: June 02, 2014

Rudolph E. Liberto, 85, a member of the third generation of a farming family in Winslow Township, died after being hit by a car while he was crossing Route 73 in front of his home Tuesday, May 27, a son, Anthony, said.

Mr. Liberto was struck by a northbound vehicle about 12:40 p.m. at the intersection of Route 73 and East Charter Avenue and was pronounced dead at the scene, a Winslow police report stated. There was no arrest. The incident is under investigation.

"He would go across for lunch or dinner" at a restaurant sometimes, his son said, and was hit while returning home.

Mr. Liberto came from a big family, his son said. "He had one sister and five brothers and they all worked on the farm when they were young."

Anthony said that his father "completed the 10th grade," then dropped out to go into the family's fields. He later served in the Army in West Germany.

At their most expansive, the Libertos farmed produce on 300 acres, mostly in the Blue Anchor section of Winslow, Anthony said.

By the early 1960s, he said, Mr. Liberto and his brothers, Edward and Raymond, were running the farm business, selling wholesale to Campbell Soup Co. and others, while operating a retail roadstand on Route 73.

A fourth brother, Sam, had a trucking business, taking the food to the Food Distribution Center in South Philadelphia, where a fifth brother, Joseph, was a wholesaler.

The big crops, Anthony said, were peaches, apples, and sweet and white potatoes, which the brothers packed at home.

"They were in the field. They worked in the packing house right here in Blue Anchor. They drove the produce to market at night.

"They didn't sleep much," Anthony said. "They worked."

Mr. Liberto left farming in the 1970s and his brothers called it quits in the 1990s, Anthony said.

But from the late 1970s through the 1980s, he still had a farming presence, as a retailer.

"Hammonton had a lot of clothing factories," he said, and Mr. Liberto was the man whom the workers could count on to show up, one day a week.

"Four o'clock, everybody gets out of work. They come out and see tables set up with all this produce," his son said, not all of it Jersey-grown. "He sold bananas, persimmons. . . ."

What made him memorable, his son said, was that he sold some of it in bags for one dollar each.

For the last 20 years, Mr. Liberto had returned to his roots and was running a small roadside stand outside his home.

Besides his son Anthony, Mr. Liberto is survived by his estranged wife, Dolores; son Stephen; daughters Diana and Lydia Liberto; two brothers; nine grandchildren; and his companion, Faye Freas.

A viewing was set from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, June 2, and from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 3, both at the Marinella Funeral Home, 102 N. Third St., Hammonton, before a 10 a.m. Funeral Mass at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 285 Route 206, Hammonton, with burial in Greenmount Cemetery there.

Donations may be sent to the Southern Branch of the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, 6735 Black Horse Pike, Egg Harbor Township, N.J. 08234.

Condolences may be offered to the family at www.marinellafuneralhome.com.


wnaedele@phillynews.com

610-313-8134 @WNaedele

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