September 16, 1949 - January 3, 2019
John Tracy Bien died on January 3, 2019. He was 69 years old, born September 16, 1949 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey to Frank John Bien and Arlene LaVern Bien née Gokey, who predeceased him. He suffered a major heart attack and was transported from his home in Freehold, New Jersey to Jersey Shore hospital in Neptune. He was surrounded by friends and family, and he died peacefully. John is survived by his life partner, Valerie Howell, with whom he lived in Freehold; and his wife of 46 years, Kathleen Marie Bien née Tatzmann of Englishtown. His family includes his sisters, Ruth Finn (Gerard Russomanno) of Freehold and Linda Forgiarini (Gennaro) of Eatontown; and his brother, Thomas Bien of Albuquerque, New Mexico; his wife’s sister Dorothy Tatzmann; his nephews, James Finn of Cos Cob, Conneticut and Brian Finn, of Ocean Township; and his nieces, Krystine Quick (Kristian) of Keansburg, and Rachel Kozic of Aberdeen. John grew up in New Shrewsbury, New Jersey (now Tinton Falls) where he attended Monmouth Regional High School. He lettered in cross country and track. He graduated Rutgers University in 1971 with a BA in English. He did active duty with the New Jersey National Guard and was employed at the Internal Revenue Service where he was a Revenue Officer for 36 years. After retirement, he was an avid day-trader. John was a constant reader and had an open book waiting next to his chair. Along with sets of the classics, his many floor-to-ceiling bookshelves were filled with hardback contemporary fiction and his favorite, science fiction. He wrote many short stories and several novels. The bookshelves competed with his music equipment. If his books could fill a library, his guitars could equip many rock and roll bands. He wrote songs for groups he played with, and he delighted in performing to an audience, especially an audience that wanted to dance. From the time he first played guitar in high school, he wanted to play in a band and sing. His brother, Tom, would join him in early bands to play lead guitar, and his cousin, George supplied the drums. Later bands included Naked Prey. His equipment stands ready for a pick-up session in his basement. The Christmas Party at John’s house was an annual tradition. Friends and family would come together, usually on the Saturday before Christmas, to exchange gifts and to eat, drink, and . . . dance! His living room became the dance floor with his outsized speakers playing his favorite dance mix. John loved candles. In the early '70s, he formed Empire Candles, a partnership with his friends, Mimi Hill and Paul Hanlon, that established a product line with unique creations like “Love Lights” that burned a soft candle light through multi-colored squares of wax, and “Flute Things” that resembled blooming flowers and were too interesting to burn. He continued the tradition of candle-making with Val and played with new designs, giving the candles as gifts to friends. His generosity was well-known. He would help out with money, the loan of a car, or even by inviting someone to live in a spare room until circumstances improved. He would readily give a “loan” without really expecting repayment. John was not perfect. He couldn’t (or wouldn’t) cook. He broke more dishes than he washed. He wasn’t moved to clean the house but appreciated cleanliness. He gave advice freely, whether it was needed or not. His opinions were strong, and he repeated them often (in case you didn’t hear them). He could not have been a better partner, and he could not have been a better friend. A memorial service will be scheduled for a future date for friends and family to celebrate his life.
John Tracy Bien died on January 3, 2019. He was 69 years old, born September 16, 1949 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey to Frank John Bien and Arlene LaVern Bien née Gokey, who predeceased him. He suffered a major heart attack and was transported from... View Obituary & Service Information
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