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In Memoriam

Stephen A. Decter

Stephen A. Decter, former senior associate director of the Ecopolicy Center of Cook College and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, died on September 5, 2017, in Capital Health Regional Medical Center. He was 80. Memorial services will be at Palmer House, Princeton, on November 19 at 2 p.m.

Decter served as an academic administrator and researcher at Rutgers for 31 years. At his retirement in 1999, he was senior associate director of the Ecopolicy Center of Cook College and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. Previously, he was a research associate at the Center for Government Studies, formerly the Bureau of Government Research.

He contributed numerous publications that included studies of the future of agriculture in N.J.; environment and natural resource use, water and solid waste management; land use planning and management with a focus on farmland preservation, transfer of development rights and growth management; housing and affordable housing policy; regional planning and development, in particular, the Hackensack Meadowlands Development and Redevelopment Act. He developed and taught courses in the Rutgers departments of environmental resources, ecology evolution and natural resources, and political science. He also served as a consultant to New Jersey State government departments of Agriculture, Environmental Protection, Community Affairs, and the State Legislature, as well as county and municipal governments.

Decter was twice elected to the West Windsor Township Committee from 1983 to 1988 and served as mayor in 1987. He received his A.B. from Princeton University School of Public and International Affairs in 1959; and an M.A. in political science from the University of Pennsylvania in 1962.
Born in Newark, the son of Rose Jacobson Decter and Harry Decter, Decter was a lifetime resident of New Jersey. He was predeceased by his brother Philip and his nephew Andrew; and is survived by his sister-in-law Alice; niece Lori Yaspan and husband Richard; and four grand nieces and nephews. He is remembered fondly by his longtime friend and travel companion Susan Stanbury.

Special Requests

Contributions in his name may be made to the ALS Association in memory of Andy Decter at

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