Martha W. Bark

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Martha W. Bark
Member of the New Jersey Senate
from the 8th district
In office
January 14, 1997 – January 8, 2008
Preceded byC. William Haines
Succeeded byPhil Haines
Member of the New Jersey General Assembly
from the 8th district
In office
March 13, 1995 – January 14, 1997
Preceded byHarold L. Colburn, Jr.
Succeeded byLarry Chatzidakis
Personal details
Born(1928-07-30)July 30, 1928
South Bend, Indiana
DiedMay 1, 2015(2015-05-01) (aged 86)
Voorhees Township, New Jersey
Political partyRepublican
ResidenceMedford, New Jersey
Alma materDePauw University

Martha Whitmer Bark (July 30, 1928 – May 1, 2015)[1] was an American Republican Party politician, who served in the New Jersey State Senate from 1997 to 2008, where she represented the 8th Legislative District. She served as Deputy Minority Leader from 2004 to 2008. She was a member of the lower house of the New Jersey Legislature, the New Jersey General Assembly, from 1995 to 1997.[2]


She was born on July 30, 1928 in Southbend, Indiana to Hazel and Harold Whitmer.[citation needed] Bark received a B.A. from DePauw University, with a major in Economics with graduate work in accounting.[2][3]

Prior to her state legislative career, Bark was an executive with the Curtis-Young Corporation and a parole counselor at the Albert C. Wagner Youth Correctional Facility.[3]

She served on the Medford Township Public Schools Board of Education from 1973 to 1978. Later, she served on the Medford Township council from 1980 to 1987 and was the township's mayor in 1981 and 1985. Bark served on the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders from 1984 to 1997.[2]

In 1995, incumbent 8th District Assemblyman Harold L. Colburn, Jr. resigned to become the medical director of the Board of Medical Examiners (a division of the State Division of Consumer Affairs), Bark was unanimously chosen by the local county Republican Committees to fill his seat. Coincidentally, Bark succeeded Colburn on the Freeholder Board when she joined in 1984. Bark was sworn into the Assembly on March 13 but continued to hold her Freeholder seat as dual office holding was allowed in the state at the time.[4] After winning re-election to the Assembly in the 1995 general election, Bark was appointed to the State Senate on January 14, 1997 to succeed C. William Haines who died of cancer on December 18, 1996.[3][5] The same year, she won election to a full term in the Senate while choosing not to run for re-election to the Freeholder Board. At the time of her appointment to the Senate, she was one of two women serving there (the other being Wynona Lipman).[5]

She served in the Senate on the Budget and Appropriations Committee, the Economic Growth Committee and on the Joint Committee on the Public Schools.[2]

As of 2006, Bark was facing a New Jersey State investigation over about $330,000 that she was paid by the Burlington County Bridge Commission and the Burlington County Institute of Technology for part-time work performed from 1997 to 2003. It was charged that these were patronage jobs which were created in order to funnel income to Senator Bark for jobs that were not advertised to the public and for which there are no records of actual work performed by the Senator.[6] Though she did not cite the probe as a reason, Bark announced her retirement from the Senate in January 2007.[7]

She died on May 1, 2015 at Virtua Voorhees Hospital in Voorhees, New Jersey.[8]


Bark had three children and six grandchildren.


  1. ^ "Martha W. (Whitmer) Bark". Bradley & Stow Funeral Home. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Senator Bark's legislative web page, New Jersey Legislature, backed up by the Internet Archive as of August 17, 2008. Accessed April 9, 2008.
  3. ^ a b c Manual of the Legislature of New Jersey - Two Hundred and Eleventh Legislature (First Session) (PDF). Skinder-Strauss Associates. 2004. p. 223. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  4. ^ Parker, Larry (March 10, 1995). "Freeholder Bark To Replace Colburn Once Again This Time The Republican Moves To The State Assembly. She Takes The Oath Of Office Monday". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  5. ^ a b Dolan, Matthew (January 8, 1997). "Assemblywoman Martha W. Bark To Succeed Haines In State Senate Burlco Freeholder Larry Chatzidakis Will Take Bark's Assembly Seat. The Pair Were Chosen By Acclamation". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved October 30, 2015.
  6. ^ Senator remains focus of inquiry, Courier-Post, January 12, 2006
  7. ^ Ung, Elisa (February 1, 2007). "As probe continues, Bark says she'll retire The 10-year GOP state senator from Burlco says she needs "a change of pace."". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  8. ^ Naedele, Walter F. (May 7, 2015). "Services set for Martha W. Bark". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved October 31, 2015.

External links[edit]

New Jersey Senate
Preceded by
C. William Haines
Member of the New Jersey Senate for the 8th District
January 14, 1997 – January 8, 2008
Succeeded by
Phil Haines
New Jersey General Assembly
Preceded by
Harold L. Colburn, Jr.
Member of the New Jersey General Assembly for the 8th District
March 13, 1995 – January 14, 1997
With: Francis L. Bodine
Succeeded by
Larry Chatzidakis