County commissioners are mourning the passing of Robert Shinn Jr., who spent close to three decades in public service as a mayor in Hainesport, his hometown; county freeholder; state assembly member; and commissioner of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection.
Shinn died on May 5 at 85. He served as a freeholder (the title is now commissioner) from 1977 until 1985, when he helped pioneer programs and initiatives to protect the county’s natural landscape, resources and quality of life.
“Robert Shinn Jr. was one of Burlington County’s most impactful and influential leaders,” said county Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson. “The first farm preserved in New Jersey was in Burlington County because of Bob’s vision and foresight, and he was instrumental in the development of the Burlington County Resource Recovery Complex and Burlington County’s first-of its kind regional recycling program.
“He was a true pioneer who served with compassion and devotion to public service.”
Shinn also led the effort to secure the first conservation easement in the Pinelands, a precursor to reservation and regional planning strategies. He spent eight years in the assembly and became Department of Environmental Protection commissioner in 1994, serving in that post until 2002.
“Bob Shinn Jr. was a true environmental champion who leaves behind a legacy of accomplishments that still benefit residents across Burlington County and New Jersey to this day,” noted Commissioner Deputy Director Tom Pullion.
“Our entire board mourns his passing and sends our condolences to his family, friends and all who knew and loved him.”