Obituary: Richard W. Gaines
Richard W. Gaines of Somerset, a former longtime Montclair resident and professional basketball player who had a long career in education, died on December 10, 2022. He was 86.
Mr. Gaines was born in 1936 in Saluda, South Carolina, the sixth of nine children born to Irene and Ulysses Gaines. When he was a child, the family moved to Brooklyn.
He attended Franklin K. Lane High School, where he was named to the high school All-American basketball team. After high school, he was recruited to Seton Hall University by the late coach John David “Honey” Russell.
Mr. Gaines led the Pirates to three bids for the prestigious National Invitational Tournament and was the most valuable player in the Orange Bowl and Virginia Invitational tournaments. During his college career, he was honored by the Metropolitan Basketball Writers of New York and named to Look magazine’s All-NCAA Basketball Team.
During his career as a professional athlete, he played for a brief period with the Syracuse Nationals in the NBA, but most of his career was in the Pro League East, with Easton, Scranton and Camden. He was named Rookie of the Year and selected for the All League team for 11 consecutive years, playing in seven Championship teams.
After leaving the Eastern League, Mr Gaines worked with the South Ward Boys Club in Newark before becoming an educator in the East Orange school system at Stockton School. He retired in the early 1990s.
Mr Gaines met his wife, Marie Brantley, while attending Seton Hall. The two married in 1958 and had two children, Dana Alison and Richard Jay. The family moved to Montclair in 1966, where the two children still reside. Marie (Brantley) Gaines died in 2000. In 2015, Mr. Gaines married Gail Smith.
He is survived by his wife, Gail Jordan (Smith) Gaines; brother, Ronald Gaines; children, Dana and Richard Gaines; stepchildren, Jannah Wilder and Christopher Jordan, as well as numerous grandchildren, nephews, nieces and friends.
Besides his first wife, Mr. Gaines was predeceased by his parents, Ulysses and Irene Gaines, and his siblings, Ulysses “Jack” Gaines Jr., Benson “Mickey” Gaines, Annie Moore, Elease Wiggins, John “Red” Gaines, Lorretta Greene and Melvin Gaines.
The services were private.
Arrangements were made by Martin’s Home for Service, 48 Elm St.