Stephen B. Wiley, a native of Morristown, NJ, attorney for more than half a century, State Senator, educational and legislative reform leader, and fund-raiser extraordinaire, is expanding his reputation as Mr. Renaissance Man by publishing his first book of poetry, Hero Island.
The author's poems are a collection of reflections of his life and the insight Wiley has garnered from an active life as an advocate, community-builder, reformer, and writer.
"As a lawyer I became known for concise and exact legal briefs," says Wiley. "As a poet I use the same skills and disciplines to craft language to express my thoughts clearly and then compress them even further to share my thoughts and feelings as simply as possible."
Wiley earned a bachelor's degree from Princeton University and a law degree from Columbia University School of Law where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and Faculty Assistant. He holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Upsala College.
After serving in the U.S. Army from 1954-56, Wiley was appointed Assistant Prosecutor for Morris County in 1957 and became Counsel to the Governor of New Jersey in 1960. In 1973 he was elected to a four year term in the New Jersey State Senate and was selected as New Jersey's outstanding legislator for that period by New Jersey Monthly.
Wiley served as Chair of the Senate Education Committee, the Joint Committee on the Public Schools and the Senate Rules Committee, and was author of the Public School Education Act of 1975 which offset the property tax with the income tax as a source of school funding. He also led a successful effort to consolidate a community with a substantial African American population with a nearly all-white surrounding township into a single regional school district.
Wiley and former Governor Robert B. Meyner formed a law practice in Newark as Meyner and Wiley in 1962, and in 1973 Wiley formed Wiley, Malehorn and Sirota in Morristown where he now practices. In both firms Wiley conducted an active litigation practice in state and federal courts. He has also served as counsel to many corporate clients and numerous public agencies, as well as hundreds of individual clients. He has handled a number of important civil rights cases. In his home community Wiley organized and served as the first president of the Morris County United Way, and as first chairman of the Morris Educational Foundation. He has served as a trustee of many charitable organizations and received various awards, including the first Public Education Advocate Award for his work for public education. He recently led successful fund drives, including the Community Theatre for $8.5 million and the "Victory Phase" of the $8.0 million Morristown & Morris Township Library campaign. In 2002 he was named Professional Lawyer of the Year for Morris County, New Jersey. For more than 35 years Wiley has been Chairman of the First Morris Bank and Trust in Morris County.
Mockingbird Come Home
Synopsis: Like the mockingbird, poet Stephen B. Wiley tells of what he has learned in a full and generous life. His "repertoire" is wide and varied - inspired by the places and people he has loved, the small pleasures of nature, the joys and sorrows that visit us all and the stories of those he has met along the way in a life that has spanned more than three-quarters of a century.
As he did in Hero Island, his first acclaimed collection of poems, Wiley shows us the world we live in and the simple acts of living with a fresh and observant eye. Come with him to watch the circles that ripple on Foote's Pond or gaze in awe at the cherry tree, as magnificent as a Botticelli, when it comes into full bloom. Or share his bemusement as he contemplates the design and functioning of his elbows.