Panunto Family History in Strathmere

Jim and Betty Panunto, started coming to Strathmere in the early 1940's. They bought the May's Boat Yard in the late 40's and built the Bayview Motel in it's spot on the bay.
The images below are vintage postcards from the 50's featuring the Bayview with it's pool, and a view from the docks.

The photos below show the building right after it was built, before the pool was added. There are views from the street and the bay.

1952 - The boat is The Aramingo Jim named it after his company the 'Aramingo Electric Company' That was an electrical contracting company that he founded in 1937, on the front porch of his home on Aramingo Avenue in Philadelphia. He used to keep his boat in Barnegat until Buck Fox introduced him to Strathmere. Buck lived in a boathouse on the May's property that Jim eventually bought.

Mid 50's - digging the pool


In the mid-50's they bought the property across the street from the Bayview and built an annex to the motel, which was called the Bay House. The next 3 photos show the construction of the building, then it's open for business in the last.



In the late 50's they bought the McCullough property on the highway and remodeled it as another annex to the motel. They referred to it as the Highway House, now it is called the Strathmere Motel.

The photos above show the McCullough house right after the Panuntos bought it. There was a sign for the motel on the side of the building along Commonwealth. Betty's sister Anna rented the front porch on the Sherman side of the building before it was remodeled. She ran a candy & ice cream store in the porch for several Summers. She later opened a similar store in Philadelphia. The photo below shows Betty next to the corner of the house. The 2nd photo shows the ground that became a parking lot, and where the sign for the Strathmere Motel stands today. The third photo shows a view of the porch that was for Anna's candy shop, out front are Ronald & Loretta Panunto on the grass, unsure of the adults

Below shows the building right after it was remodeled.

Two color photos show the pink exterior and the bright colored adirondack chairs in the back yard.

After the storm of 1962, they purchased the lot and the three homes next to the Bayview motel that was owned by Mrs. Fox. They filled the property in, bulkheaded it and converted it into a parking lot for the Bayview Motel. They also built a marina where they put boats into the water and sold gas.




Jim & Betty Panunto working on yet another building project in Strathmere!

Mr. Panunto also bought about 6 lots around Strathmere and built houses on them. He gave one to each of his daughters, Loretta and Irene, he sold one house to his brother, Michael, and sold the other three houses to strangers. The 2 photos below show 2 of the houses that he built and sold on Sherman.



Charlie Shaffer, who used to run the Starfish party boat out of Florrie Andress's dock when the inlet was still open, also worked as Mr. Panunto's carpenter. Charlie helped Jim with the building during the winter months when no one came down to fish.



Jim and Betty next bought about 40 acres of land on Whale Creek in Whale Beach with the intent of building a housing development, but since there was no public water in Whale Beach, he purchased the Corson's Inlet Water Company with the intent to run water lines from Strathmere to Whale Beach to serve his development. He installed new water pumps and controls at "the Water Company" and began filing in the Whale Beach property and built a garage there just off the highway. However, at this time the State of New Jersey passed an environmental protection policy that prohibited further development of wetlands so the project had to be abandoned.

Jim and Betty's kids, Ronald, Loretta, and Irene grew up, had families of their own and were no longer in a position to help keep the Strathmere businesses running so Jim and Betty started selling them off. First they sold the Water Company, then the propoerty in Whale Beach, then the Highway House, then the Bay House, and finally the motel on the bay. It was the first that they built and the last to be sold off. Jim Panunto died in Strathmere, and his wife and oldest daughter, Irene, now live offshore in Mays Landing. Irene sold her Strathmere house, and Jim's brother Mike passed away and his wife sold their Strathmere house that Jim had built for him.

So the only remaining Panunto in Strathmere is Jim and Betty's youngest daughter Loretta who still summers in the house that dad built for her back in the mid 60's. Ronald Panunto met his wife of 40 years, Fran, in Strathmere. Her grandmother, Mrs. Rebstock, used to rent one of the houses from Mrs. Fox right next to the motel. She was Loretta's best friend. Strathmere holds a lot of good memories for the Panunto family.

More Panunto Photos

Above - Irene & Ronald Panunto playing on the beach with a friend, around 1947.
Some houses on the end of Tecumseh can be seen in the background.

Below shows Loretta and Ronald out on the beach. In the first 2 photos they are playing on what they use to call 'The Indian Rocks' They were the remnants of a house that was destroyed in the hurricane of 1944. The beachfront house was built in the early 1900's by Gilbert Smith. The exterior walls of the house were all concrete with tile details. The kids are on the outside wall that featured a large tile design of an indian in profile. The ruins were visable for many years after the storm.

The house in the next 4 photos use to stand on Bayview, across from Twisties. There is now a gigantic new duplex there. It was owned by the Camerons and Jim & Betty use the stay there when they first started coming to Strathmere in the late 1940's. They used the house as a base when they first started building the Bayview Motel. The first photo shows Ronald & cousin Sonny on the bike, then The Panunto's Aunt Anna, 1947.

Strathmere Home

Photos were donated to the site by Loretta Panunto. Family history provided by Ronald Panunto.
All photos Copyright The Panunto Family, Do not copy or reproduce.