Robert “Bob” Edward Francis
Lifelong Educator, Coach, and Family Man
Bob Francis passed away on April 23, 2022 in Morristown Medical Center, NJ. Bob, the middle of three children, was born on October 11, 1954 in Muhlenberg Hospital in Plainfield, NJ, to John and Louise (née Tuite) Francis. Bob was raised in Union, NJ where he was most likely found on the baseball and soccer fields, or basketball and tennis courts. He was proud to share the memories of these athletic accomplishments with his own three children, especially about his time playing on a semi-pro soccer team. Bob graduated Union High School in 1972 and following an accident, which put his soccer career on a brief hold, he graduated Kean University in 1977, having made his mark in their soccer arena and as a member of the Nu Delta Pi fraternity.
Upon college graduation, Bob briefly taught in the Manville Public School System and Marist High School. Bob then began his decade of teaching at St. Joseph’s High School in Metuchen, NJ. which he truly enjoyed. In 1990, Bob began teaching at Clifford Scott High School in East Orange (where Bob’s children fondly remember him taking them during spring breaks while he coached track and they roller bladed in the school’s empty hallways). When Clifford Scott closed and East Orange Campus High School opened, Bob continued to work alongside his beloved colleagues, which were viewed as family, as he positively influenced the student community, both in the classroom and while coaching soccer, track, and tennis until his retirement in June of 2021. Throughout Bob’s decades of coaching, he not only touched the lives of high school student athletes in East Orange, but also at St. Joseph’s (lacrosse), Arthur L. Johnson in Clark, NJ (soccer), Solomon Schecter in West Orange, NJ (tennis), and Newark Academy in Livingston, NJ (tennis).
In April of 1981, Bob met the love of his life, Anne Marie (née Williamson), they married in August of 1983, and lived in Rahway, NJ until moving to Cranford, NJ in 1988, where they lovingly raised their three children, Megan Ashley, Kaley Jane, and Jeffrey Robert. Always working hard for his family, Bob humbly juggled multiple jobs at the same time so that Anne Marie could stay home to support their children (as Bob knew this was Anne Marie’s most cherished job). Bob especially enjoyed becoming an instructor for the Don-Tre Driving School family, which he continued into retirement. Bob’s hard work allowed for his family to be able to follow their hopes, dreams, and passions. After all, his greatest source of pride was his children and their accomplishments, including Megan’s baby on the way, Kaley’s upcoming fall wedding, and Jeff’s completion of his MBA in the late spring. As a devoted husband and father, he loved spending his free time with his family, which included attending all of his children’s athletic events, traveling together, and eating dinner together. Bob was a member of the Central Jersey Road Runners Club, and very much enjoyed running in the Cranford Firecracker 4 Miler and Millburn Presidents Cup road races for years. He was involved in the Cranford Jaycees, and was a parishioner of The Parish Community of Saint Helen in Westfield, NJ since 1981.
A few of Bob’s small pleasures in life included: reading the daily Star Ledger with his coffee, Snoopy’s dance moves, a great burger, local draft beer, The Honeymooners, Gunsmoke, endlessly watching Home Alone at Christmas time, singing Christmas songs off key year round, his Adidas slides, his Clifford Scott Varsity Jacket, and providing oddly specific, yet transient, driving directions.
Bob will be sorely missed and joyfully remembered by all who knew him and loved always by his surviving family members which include his wife, Anne Marie Francis, children, Megan Curto and husband, Alex Curto, Kaley Francis and fiancée, Kevin Milella, and Jeffrey Francis; his adored older brother, John Francis and loving younger sister, Maureen Francis Adkins; brother-in-law, Bobby Williamson and wife Marlene; sister-in-law, Sally Salvatoriello and husband Rich; sister-in-law, Kathy Mayberry and husband Jack; and brother-in-law, Jerry Williamson and wife Leigh; as well as his favorite 15 nieces and nephews and 6 great nieces and nephews.
To honor Bob’s memory, please enjoy a family dinner together and hug a loved one.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Bob Francis’ name to the American Heart Association.
The family will gather to celebrate Bob’s life on Thursday, April 28th from 4-8pm at Higgins and Bonner Echo Lake Funeral Home in Westfield, NJ and Friday, April 29th at 11:15 am for the funeral mass at The Parish Community of Saint Helen in Westfield, NJ.
Those wishing to stream the funeral mass please visit the following link: https://youtu.be/gMnfuagJmIU