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Richard W Gaines
April 13, 1936 ~ December 10, 2022 (age 86) 86 Years Old
6 Trees, Flowers, or Condolences have been shared with support of Richard's family - View on Tribute Wall
Richard W. Gaines was the sixth of nine children born to Irene and Ulysses Gaines on April 13, 1936, in Saluda South Carolina. When Richard was still an infant the family moved and settled in the borough of Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn NY.
He attended Junior High School No. 35 where he began his illustrious athletic career and then cultivated at Franklin K. Lane High School, where he was named to the High School All-American basketball team. After high school he was recruited for Seton Hall University by the late coach “Honey” Russell. Gaines scored over 700 points in his first year for the Seton Hall Pirates and averaged 500 points in each of his three varsity seasons.
He spearheaded the Seton Hall squad to three bids to the prestigious National Invitation Tournament (NIT) and Richard was the most valuable player in the Orange Bowland Virginia Invitation Tournament. During his collegiate career, honors received by Richard include the Metropolitan Basketball Writers of New York and named to the Look Magazine All-NCAA basketball team.
In his professional athletic career, Richard played for a brief time with the Syracuse Nationals in the NBA, but a majority of his professional basketball career was in the Eastern Professional League with Easton, Scranton, and Camden. Named “Rookie of the Year “and selected for the All League Team 11 consecutive years and played on seven championship teams.
Richard is inducted into the following Halls of Fame including Seton Hall University (1978), Brooklyn USA (1986), New York Daily News, Holcombe Rucker Professionals and the National “Old Timers” Inc., of Newark, NJ (1996) and the New York Athletic Club (2003).
After leaving the Eastern league, Richard 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 ninety’s
Richard met Marie Brantley while attending Seton Hall. The two were married in June of 1958 the union produced two children Dana Alison and Richard Jay. The family settled in Montclair in 1966 where both children still reside. Marie Gaines predeceased her husband in July of 2000. In 2015 Richard married Gail Smith.
Richard is predeceased by his parents Ulysses and Irene Gaines, siblings, Ulysses Gaines Jr (Jack), Benson (Mickey) Gaines, Annie Moore, Elease Wiggins, John (Red) Gaines, Lorretta Greene, and Melvin Gaines. He is survived by his Brother Ronald Gaines, his wife Gail Jordan Gaines, children Dana and Richard Gaines, stepchildren Jannah Wilder and Christopher Jordan, as well as a host of grandchildren, nephews, nieces, and close friends.
A private service will be held for immediate family only.
At the Family request No Flowers Please
We all knew Richard by many names
Big Man, Hollywood, Chink and Sam were just a few
Didn’t matter what we called him
Cause we loved him through and through
Oh and how he loved sports
Could discuss it for hours
Didn’t matter the team you chose to discuss
He’d match you in knowledge
A loving husband and dad, uncle and friend
He was always a sweetheart
To the very end
I remember the first time I met him
At Bogie’s Lounge one Friday night
A distinguished looking guy
In the center of the crowd
He was holding court as he often did
Everyone hanging on to every word he spoke
And the crowd stayed put
‘Til it was time to grab their coats
I wondered what was the attraction
That kept everyone enthralled
But I got my answer
Once I got close to his call
Tall and handsome with a head full of gorgeous hair
Conversation that was interesting, funny and light
I began to see why
People were drawn to him all night
Richard was also a groundbreaker
Played pro ball many years ago
When only a few black players
Could answer that call
He paved the way for others to follow
And when they let him go
It was a hard pill to swallow
But Richard continued to love the sport
Encouraged others along the way
His influence made a difference
Which is more than most can say
His life with my sister Gail was so full of love
Just being around them you knew they were blessed
With a love that endured
The very worst and the very best
We will all miss him so much
Things just won’t be the same
But instead of being sad
We should celebrate his name
Know that Richard is in a better place
No pain, no sorrow, nothing unpleasant at all
Just memories of the good times
He had with us all
Richard, know that we loved you
And today we say goodbye
Your memory will be with us forever
And we’ll try not to cry
To you from me and all your loving family and friends