The East Orange Hall of Fame recently hosted its inaugural induction ceremony. Inductees were from the areas of arts and entertainment, law and government, education, science and industry, civic affairs and athletics. One of the inductees was Al Volpe, whose passion for sports began in his youth. As a lineman, he was recognized as a New Jersey All-State Football player while attending East Orange High School and was team captain and a member of the 1958 undefeated State Championship team. Known for his intelligence on the field, Volpe was the definition of the modern football lineman, where outsmarting one’s opponent can be more important than out-powering them. Dedicated, passionate and a consummate team-player, Al earned various honors and was appointed to the Scholastic Coach All-American Team. Upon graduation, he accepted an athletic scholarship to prestigious Purdue University, where academics are as valued as athletic prowess. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree and served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam era. He later earned his Master’s degree from Kean University.
For forty-one years, Al was employed by the City of Linden, New Jersey, where he retired as the Director of Recreation, Public Property and Community Services. He also served as the City’s Community Development Representative, CETA Coordinator and also served on the Planning Board. Al was instrumental in raising over $700,000 for public and youth athletics and activities and has been involved in many community and professional endeavors.
He has sponsored numerous free baseball clinics for players of all ages, providing exposure to major league players and managers such as Jeff Torborg and Roy White. In addition, he promoted annual clinics for girls’ softball, featuring college coaches. Among his many other accomplishments, Al oversaw the construction of one of the first lighted baseball facilities in the country, Memorial Park in Linden and created a system of baseball fields available for schools, community groups and teams of all ages. Al also sponsored American Legion baseball teams, hosted numerous county and state American Legion Baseball tournaments and provided facilities for Union County and state high school tournaments. He was inducted into the Union County Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014.
Al is currently the president of The Linden Boxing Association, vice president of The Linden Athletic Hall of Fame and is a member of the Kiwanis, where he has served as president of the Linden Chapter and member of its Executive Board.
Enjoying his retirement with his wife of 37 years, Myra Elaine, Al still keeps himself busy, but has had more time to indulge his passion for cooking. And always a man of the community, he continues to do so for many charitable causes.