HomeMoorestown NewsOne hundred years on Earth

One hundred years on Earth

Painting Moorestown’s past with centenarian Arch Develin

Christine Harkinson/The Sun
“It’s been a great town to live in. I’ve had many friends and as I say, ‘It’s been a joy living here all these years,'” said Moorestown resident Arch Develin, who turned 100 years old last month.

Moorestown resident Arch Develin celebrated his 100th birthday last month, and for such a milestone, his advice is simple: Be nice to people.

“I think you get a lot more out of life …” he said. “You may not always agree with them (people), but you just put tongue in cheek with politics or whatever. You can argue, fine, but then just drop it. There are certain things that you just don’t talk about. People are adamant about certain things so why fight it?”

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Develin was born on Feb. 15, 1924, at Cooper University Hospital in Camden. His grandfather came to the township in the early ’30s and was very active in the First Presbyterian Church of Moorestown. Develin and his own family came to the township in the summer of 1938, and he’s been a resident since. He graduated from Moorestown High School in 1943.

“At that time, World War II was going on and seniors were allowed to take their finals when the rest of the class were taking their mid-years, which I did, and then I enlisted in the Army Air Force,” Develin recalled. “I left for the Army Air Force in March of ‘43.

“I spent three years in the service – one year in the South Pacific – with the 13th Air Force, 403rd Troop Carrier 65th Squadron.”

Develin was a flight engineer and tech inspector for his squadron, and during his South Pacific service, he and his group received numerous medals. They spent 90% of their time flying over water, landing on various islands and flying to places such as the Dutch East Indies, New Guinea and the Philippines, among others.

The veteran noted that he enjoyed his time in the service, and that led to him reminiscing about what Moorestown looked like prior to World War II.

“Moorestown had six automobile agencies in town,” he explained. “There were seven gas stations on Main Street, there were four drug stores, there was a department store, one bank, three undertakers, a candy factory – that was a store that made their own candies … We also had a bowling alley; we had an airport.”

When Develin was younger, he worked for various businesses around town, including that bowling alley. He has been associated with the Community House of Moorestown, treasurer of the Trinity Episcopal Church’s breakfast club, owner of the former MAB Paints store across from the community house for 25-plus years and a bus driver for Moorestown Friends School while he himself was in high school.

Develin and his wife Mimi have been married for 38 years – their first spouses are both deceased – and share sons and daughters. The late Kathryn, Barbara, Helen and Jayne are from Develin’s first marriage, and Jay, Jon and Lynne are from Mimi’s first.

It’s just a small fraction of his life, but Moorestown is a place that gives Develin long-standing memories.

“I have many great memories of the town,” he enthused. “I enjoyed it. It’s been a great town to live in. I’ve had many friends, and as I say, ‘It’s been a joy living here all these years.’

“I’ve had a great time in this town and the people have been fine, and I’ve had a lot of very, very good friends.”


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