ISAAC G. McNATT
(From: Pamphlet of Isaac G. McNatt for 1976 Citizen of the Year)
Isaac G . McNatt deserves much of the credit for the unique character of the unique character of our community. When brockbusting first threatened to take us over, he drafted an ordinance "with teeth" and continued to press for its adoption with quiet determination, despite bitter opposition. His ability to keep his cool earned him Teaneck's respect and a seat on the Council, where he served two terms, the second as Deputy Mayor. He founded the Teenage Job Corps, and--along with other farsighted Councilmen--passed legislation to protect property values and tenants' rights. The rent-subsidy program for senior citizens was a campaign promise he made and later kept.
His father, a Sunday preacher and weekday sharecropper, was an independent thinker who taught his son to read the Koran as well as the Bible. He was also a dedicated teetotaller. To this day, Rev. McNatt's son, though happy to mix drinks for his guests, imbibes nothing stronger than gingerale.
Isaac worked his way through Hampton Institute, taught for four years, served in the Seabees, than enrolled in St. John's University Law School. One after-school job gained him a wife. He didn't succeed in selling Gladys any silk stockings, but he did persuade her to take on the salesman. He earned his LL. B., magna cum laude, and began to practice law in New York City. Eight years ago, he studied for and took the Bar exams in New Jersey - passed them on the first try, and opened a second office in Teaneck.
The McNatts came to Teaneck in 1960 with their children, Glenn (Brandeis, 1972) and Robert (Yale, 1976). Isaac added the chairmanship of his sons' Scout Troop to his other volunteer jobs. When he was elected chairman of the Teaneck Fair Housing Committee in 1962, his involvement with unfair real estate practices became a major concern. He is still on the Board of the Bergen County FHC.
His most recent assignment is the chairmanship of Teaneck's Bicentennial Committee. Recently he joined the local Scouts' reenactment of the march from Fort Lee to Teaneck--a long hike, but to someone who used to-walk five miles to school, not such a big deal. Not nearly so far as the distance from a southern tenant form boy to Teaneck's Man of the Year.