From left: Berny Capaldi '61 and Roger Hansen '61 at the Atlantic City Country Club (circa 1980).
As the days get longer and the water warmer, beachgoers flock by the thousands to New Jersey’s shores. Many of them pass over the Margate Bridge, a four-span causeway several miles south of Atlantic City linking the towns of Northfield and Margate. In addition to linking two shore communities, the bridge still connects former Peddie roommates Roger Hansen ’61 and Berny Capaldi ’61. It remains standing thanks to their enduring bond.
Built in 1929, the Margate Bridge had been operational for over three decades when its original owners went bankrupt. “My father and uncle, and [Berny’s] father and his father’s partner, bought it in 1963,” said Hansen. Hansen’s family dealt with the engineering, and Capaldi’s managed the finances. “And now we own it.”
Hansen now serves as the chairman of the bridge’s management company, and until his retirement, Capaldi served as its accountant — the same roles their fathers played. However, long before ownership of the bridge passed into their hands, Hansen and Capaldi attended Peddie together. “Our fathers and mothers were friends,” Capaldi said. “I entered in my sophomore year, and Roger entered in his senior year. We became friends and stayed good friends, and I’d say best friends. We’ve enjoyed life together.”
After graduating from Peddie and taking leadership roles in their own businesses, they remained close, and eventually, Hansen hired Capaldi’s accounting firm to manage the bridge’s finances.
Nearly 60 years after sharing a room at Peddie, both Hansen and Capaldi live in Florida, within walking distance of one another’s homes. Aside from upgrades to the bridge’s tolling system, it seems not much has changed between 1963 and today. “Our relationship functions pretty much the same,” said Hansen. “We’ve been friends forever.”