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Harry J. Betar, Jr.

Black-and-white photo of a man in an athletic jacket

Harry J. Betar, Jr.

A 1950 graduate of South High, where he won the 1949-50 Sportsmanship Award, Harry J. Betar, Jr. was a barber in South Glens Falls and served as park commissioner for the Town of Moreau for many years. In that role, Harry was instrumental in the creation of Moreau Recreation Park, which was renamed Harry J. Betar, Jr. Recreation Park after his death in 1997. The Village of South Glens Falls also named the walking trail along the Hudson River the Betar Byway after Mr. Betar.

After high school, Harry served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War. Upon his return home, he immersed himself in community activities. He was active in South Glens Falls American Legion, the historical societies of Moreau and South Glens Falls, the South Glens Falls Little League and the Fire Department. Mr. Betar was also involved with the Marine Corps League, Toys for Tots, the Veteran of Foreign Wars and the Eagles Club.

Harry was born to Irene (Norman) and Harry Betar, Sr., in the family home at 27 Hudson Street. His niece, Shirley Napolitano Banker, said family lore was that Harry was born prematurely and was said to look like a peanut, hence his nickname, “Peanut,” which many of his longtime friends called him.

“I remember being told that my grandmother covered him with olive oil when he was born and then wrapped him, swaddling style, and placed him near the wood burning stove they had at the time,” Mrs. Banker said.

“He was very proud to serve his country in Korea and to be a Marine. Our whole family was very proud of him.”

Harry’s daughter, Maria Betar, said, “It is such an honor that my father is being remembered in this way, and that people still remember him and are recognizing his contributions.”

Wayne Bruce, who nominated Mr. Betar, said, “Anyone who knew Harry Betar and the families he personally helped out knew this man was a true role model. He was also a true friend to the South Glens Falls School community, attending sporting events and the annual Marathon Dance.”

He had two daughters, Maria Betar and Tyanne Betar Rhode. Maria has two children, Jessica and Nicholas Steta. Tyanne has two sons, Josh and Andrew Weils, and two stepsons, Ethan and Eric Rohde.