William K. Dickey, 88, a former speaker of the New Jersey Assembly who later chaired the Delaware River Port Authority, died of Parkinson's disease Monday at his home in Haddonfield.
Elected to the Assembly in 1963, the Republican lawyer was majority leader in 1968 and 1969 and speaker in 1970.
During Mr. Dickey's 10 years in Trenton, prominent bills that he sponsored provided for, among other things, the construction of state colleges and institutions, the extension of student-loan programs, compulsory police training, regional state police crime laboratories, feeder buses to the Lindenwold High-Speed Line, and right turns at red lights.
Mr. Dickey, who worked in a shipyard as a young man, also sponsored legislation to expand Camden port facilities.
He worked hard to get his bills enacted, said his wife, Irene Campbell Dickey, and he told a reporter in 1973 that he was very visible to his constituents: "I try to get my people involved. I am not a phantom legislator."
In 1983, Mr. Dickey was appointed to the Delaware River Port Authority's Board of Commissioners. He was chairman from 1985 to 1987, then vice chairman for three years. He remained on the board until 1994.
As a representative for the port, "he would go anywhere to a forum or trade show to advertise the Delaware Valley," his wife said.
Before his election to the Assembly, Mr. Dickey was a judge for Gibbsboro, Medford and Collingswood. He received the American Bar Association's Traffic Court Award for Outstanding Judicial Standards in 1960.
He was former chairman of the state Supreme Court's Municipal Court Committee, past president of the Collingswood Lions Club, and former director of the South Jersey Chamber and Commerce. He held several Republican Party positions in the state.
The Westmont native graduated from Collingswood High School. He supported his parents after his father had a stroke, and earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Pennsylvania and a law degree from Rutgers University while working nights at the New York Shipbuilding Co. in Camden. Though a vision problem kept him out of military service, he volunteered with the Coast Guard and patrolled the Delaware River.
Mr. Dickey practiced law in Collingswood from 1950 until last year. He described himself in 1973 as "a small-town lawyer."
"He was a generalist. He would be willing to handle most areas of the law," said lawyer James Perrin, a friend for more than 45 years.
When in the Assembly, Mr. Dickey maintained his law practice by working evenings and Saturdays, Perrin said.
Mr. Dickey married in 1980 at age 60. He and his wife, a divorcee with four children, had known each other since high school.
"When we were kids, we stuffed envelopes for his campaigns," said his stepson, Timothy Kelly.
Mr. Dickey once told a reporter that his hobby was political discussion. He loved following the news, his stepson said, and delighted in having family read the paper to him when he became ill. He voted in Tuesday's presidential election by absentee ballot.
In addition to his wife and stepson, Mr. Dickey is survived by stepdaughters Kathleen McMahon, Linda Kelly and Norah Kelly; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Friends may call from 7 to 9 tonight at the Foster-Warne Funeral Home, 820 Haddon Ave., Collingswood, and after 10 a.m. tomorrow at the Collingswood Bible Presbyterian Church, 1115 Haddon Ave., where a funeral service will begin at 11. Mr. Dickey had been a member of the church since childhood.
Memorial donations may be made to the Salvation Army, 915 Haddon Ave., Camden, N.J. 08103, or to Samaritan Hospice, 5 Eves Dr., Suite 300, Marlton, N.J. 08053.