Fred Depken Retires
After 75 Years
After 75 years on the job, Fred Depken is retiring from his
family business at K & D Oil.
As the patriarch of the company, Fred Depken III’s memories
go back to the days of coal.
It was his great grandfather, Gerhard Depken and his two sons,
Frederick and Gerhard Jr., who founded the G. Depken and Sons
Company over a century ago.
Gerhard Depken Jr. was born in Bremen, Germany in 1850. He
immigrated and came to Hasbrouck Heights in 1895. He went
into partnership with his two sons, Gerhard Jr. and Frederick,
two years later and started delivering coal.
The new business was successful from the start. One reason
was that it offered customers something very new in those
days -- call up delivery service!
The first advertisment was found in the first edition of the
local newspaper and it read: “Just call us up when you
need coal. Your order will be filled just as quickly and satisfactorily
as if you had come in person to order it, and the coal will
be just as good coal as ever came out of a mine, clean, dry
G. Depken & Sons would advertise the best Lehigh Coal
ever mined. Their coal yard and offices were located in Rutherford,
Carlstadt and Hasbrouck Heights, NJ with coal docks at Berry’s
The need to modernize and keep ahead of the times was understood
by Fred Depken Jr. when he joined the company. By 1930, the
shift from coal to oil was well underway, but the company,
now run by Gerhard Jr., only accepted the change reluctantly.
As a result of this continuing refusal to modernize, Fred
Jr. finally made a dramatic decision.
In 1950, he resigned from the original company and formed
his own firm with his son, Fred Depken III: Fred Depken and
Sons, Inc. With the formation of the new company came modernizations
with equipment and staffing to handle installations and service
as well as oil delivery. In the late 1950’s, the switch
from oil to gas began, creating a crisis for the company and
its new president, Fred Depken III. But Fred was at the helm
of a fully modernized company offering installation services
as well as oil delivery. He also had faith that the oil business
would come back strong, so he hung in there -- and sure enough,
the tide turned and the consumers’ faith in oil heat
came back stronger than ever.
In 1982, in a marriage of equals, the company merged with
Keller Engineering and positioned itself to better serve its
customers. Depken moved operations to Passaic Terminal so
they could use the fuel tanks. Oil was barged up the Passaic
River until 1992 when the tanks were removed. Keller-Depken
has since acquired several other oil companies to become the
largest family owned oil company in northern New Jersey.
Originally, Depken was based from the sun porch of their grandmother’s
house at 281 Henry Street (she passed in 1994). Depken then
moved their office to the Velasco TV shop at the corner of
The Boulevard and Franklin Avenue (now Anton’s) and
operated there for about 25 years. Fred Depken maintained
his presence in Hasbrouck Heights by opening up a satellite
office at 166 Franklin Avenue in 1982.
For years, Hasbrouck Heights “old timers” would
stop by the office for a visit.
Fred is retiring and closing the office. He said, “Sorry
to close the office -- I will miss all my friends. Depken
is not leaving Hasbrouck Heights -- we will always be here
to serve our friends and customers. We will always maintain
our local phone number -- 288-0723. And, many of our employees
still live in town.” K & D represents state-of-the-art
home heating oil technology with an old fashioned service
heritage dedicated to keeping families warm, comfortable and
Presently, the company has entered in its fifth generation
of “The Depken Tradition.”
Fifth generation John Depken affirms, “Everyone in our
company is committed to maintaining a high-level of customer
service. We deliver to a customer base of several thousand
homes and businesses -- with prompt fuel oil deliveries using
a modern fleet of ten sparkling trucks.
We also provide system maintenance, new installations, and
gas conversions with our highly skilled team of twelve technicians.
In addition, we offer convenient budget plans, tank protection
plans, etc.” He adds, “As a state-of-the-art company
with an old-fashioned service heritage, our small family business
can continue to serve their customers and prosper in a world
of huge conglomerate corporations.” Fred’s children,
Carol & John, are carrying on the traditon of forward
thinking service. www.kdoil.com
you for visiting our hometown. Come back soon!
Gazette Newspaper] [Contact
©Copyright 1998-2008. All rights reserved.
All photographs used in this web-site are copyrighted and property of
Photographs used herein are on loan and are not public domain
Site created and maintained by The
Iron Horse Advertising & Marketing Co. Inc.
in collaboration with SAK
Information Systems, LLC