Eugene Francis Gatens

Eugene Francis Gatens

1922 - 2013

God Family Country Football

It is with great sadness and pride that his wife and seven children announce that Eugene Francis Gatens, surrounded by his family and angels, joined his parents, siblings, and numerous friends on September 20th. Gene was born in Englewood in 1922 to Anne and William Gatens. Along with his five siblings, Gene was raised during the Depression in a home filled with music and laughter, sharing what little they had with friends and relatives who had even less. Gene attended St Cecelia's High School, and was named first team All Bergen County under the legendary coach Vince Lombardi, who became a lifelong friend and mentor. Midway through college, he enlisted in the Navy and proudly served with amphibious forces in the Pacific Theatre during WWII. He completed college at St Lawrence University, serving as a leader among his classmates and brother sailors. He became known and respected as a man of integrity who always defended the underdog. He was proud to have begun and ended his career at New York Life Insurance, retiring in 1986 as a Pension Vice President. In 1952 he met the love of his life Adele on a blind date. They married nine months later and moved to a half - finished "starter" home in Fanwood where they went on to raise their seven children, each of them imbred with a devotion to their faith, love of country, and commitment to serving those who were less fortunate. He considered the GI bill to be the greatest piece of legislation ever passed and maintained a special devotion to caring for all children and those less fortunate.

Gene volunteered on numerous community and parish committees and organizations including President of the Fanwood Board of Health, Union County Environmental Commission, coach for the Junior Raiders Football, Fanwood Youth Baseball and CYO basketball. He was instrumental in the founding of Union Catholic Regional High School. A Devout Catholic, he served as a Lector, Eucharistic minister and parish council member at St. Bartholomew's and St.Helens. He was the first Fanwood Santa in 1955 and the self appointed speed monitor of Waldon Rd. Gene loved Notre Dame Football, Providence College basketball and each of his children and grandchildren who never left him without an offer from him of a few bucks and an admonishment to study hard. His incredible sense of humor was his gift and legacy to each of his children. But his deepest love and devotion was reserved for his wife, Adele.

Gene is survived by his wife, Adele and their 7 children, 13 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren: Cathy Colon and her husband Frank and their children Frank and his wife Bishan, Laura, Matthew and Drew and their granddaughters Liya, Joy and Ellie; Chris Gatens; Gene Gatens and daughter Meghan and her husband Brian Wilson and granddaughters Adele & Vivian; Adele Gatens and her partner Donna Dandrilli and their children Liz & Ritchie; Patty Rush and her husband Rob and their children Robby and Erin; John Gatens and his wife Maria and their children Johnny and Kristen; Terry Gatens and his wife Kary and their children Cooper and Beau. He will also be deeply missed by his brother Donald and his wife Peggy and special friends Ginger and Hanna.

Relatives and friends are kindly invited to visit the Dooley Colonial Home, 556 Westfield Ave., Westfield on Monday from 4-8 pm and also on Tuesday at St. Helen Church, 1600 Rahway Ave., Westfield from 4-8 pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday, September 25th at 10 am at St. Helen Church, with interment to follow at Fairview Cemetery, Westfield. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Helping Hands and Hearts organization of St. Helen's Church or to the Dravet Syndrome Foundation ( which is dedicated to childhood epilepsy research. To leave a condolence or for further information, please visit

Funeral Home

Dooley Colonial Home
556 Westfield Ave. Westfield, NJ 07090

Published in Asbury Park Press on Sept. 22, 2013