Richard W Gaines

April 13, 1936 ~ December 10, 2022 (age 86) 86 Years Old

Richard Gaines Obituary

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


Your Sister in Law, Marcelle




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