Obituary of Mark Thomas Hardenburg
Mark Hardenburg, Piscataway Township’s longest serving council member, died August 19, 2023.
Hardenburg's political career began in 1980 when he replaced a councilman who moved out of the township. That November, he ran for the remaining two years of his predecessor’s term, won and was reelected every four years since. He served a total of 35 years as Ward 1 Councilman before his retirement in 2015. He served four times as council president.
“Mark was one of the most dedicated individuals when it came to Piscataway residents and the longest serving councilmember ever in the history of Piscataway," said Mayor Brian C. Wahler. "He was very meticulous in looking after the Ward 1 residents who he took care of for several decades. His knowledge of local government will go unmatched. Mark was an asset to the Piscataway community at large whether volunteering on several boards and commissions or serving on the Town Council or as an Arbor Hose fireman. His friendship will be missed.”
A lifelong Piscataway resident, Hardenburg was an advocate not only for his constituents in Ward 1, but for all the citizens of Piscataway.
Hardenburg was an active volunteer Arbor Hose fireman reaching Exempt Firemen status and a member of the Board of Fire Commissioners. He was a past member of the Zoning Board of Adjustment and the Green Brook Flood Commission. He continued to volunteer in the township until his death serving on the Library Board of Trustees and the Property Maintenance Appeals Board.
He was an officer of the Piscataway Community Center Foundation and was a strong advocate for its construction. He was proud to be able to see the building come to fruition.
Hardenburg was a longtime member of the Piscataway Democratic Organization and took civic responsibility very seriously.
In 2000, he was inducted into the New Jersey League of Municipalities Elected Officials Hall of Fame for his over 30 years of service to the Piscataway community. He is also a member of the Piscataway High School Hall of Fame.
Hardenburg had deep roots in the Piscataway community. He was once quoted as saying, “I enjoy politics, so that’s what I do. I’m just doing what I enjoy.”
He is survived by his wife, Lina; his daughter, Marta Klaus and her husband, Greg; two grandchildren, Max and Kirsten Klaus; his sister, Tracy Carter of Perth Amboy; Randall Fishter of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, and a number of nieces and nephews.
“As a dedicated public servant and volunteer fireman, Mark Hardenburg gave our town his all and continued to do this throughout his retirement," said state Sen. Bob Smith. "He will be sorely missed yet his legacy of service will live on. As the longest serving councilman in the history of Piscataway Township, Mark was a big part of the leadership to make Piscataway one of the finest towns in America in which to live.”
“I had the fortunate opportunity to serving on the Council with Mark for 12 years," added Middlesex County Sheriff Mildred S. Scott. "I acquired a lot of knowledge from him about Piscataway government and serving the public. He was very passionate about public service.”