Bernice Martha Franchino
1922 - 2021
Bernice Martha (nee Wilbur) Franchino

Bridgewater - "Formerly of Somerville"- Bernice Martha (nee Wilbur) Franchino, 98, passed away on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at Laurel Circle, Bridgewater where she resided for the past 15 years. She was born on August 20, 1922 to the late Elma and Hugh Wilbur in Braintrim Township, Pennsylvania.

Bernice graduated from Laceyville High School, East Stroudsburg University receiving a B.A. in Elementary Education and a Masters Degree in Elementary Education from Rutgers University. She began her journey teaching in Raritan from 1943-1951. On April 8, 1947 she married the late Anthony P. Franchino. Together they owned and operated Italian Home Products, catering affairs for many celebrity weddings. Her passion for education prevailed her as Principal of the Raritan Primary School from 1951-1954, the First Principal of the Bradley Gardens School from 1954-1974 and the First Principal of J.F. Kennedy School in Raritan from 1964-1969. Bernice was a member of NJEA-R, NEA-R, Somerset County Education Association, Somerville United Methodist Church, Alpha Delta Kappa, National Honor Society for women in education, a life time member of the P.T.A. and a former member of the Board of the Somerset County Heart Association. She was former president of the Somerville Girl Scout Council and served on the Girl Scout board for 8 years. Dedicated to enrich all ages Bernice also taught adult Sunday class at the United Methodist Church in Somerville where she served on the finance committee, personnel committee, a member of the Board of Trustees and Vice President of the United Methodist Women. She enjoyed to antique shop, garden and travel to Europe. Bernice loved all animals and supported many local animal shelters. She looked forward to being active in many activities and at the end of the day would sit down to read a good book. Bernice was a kind, caring and loving woman who considered everyone in her life "family" and to everyone as "Aunt Bernice".

Bernice is survived by several loving nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews.

A Private graveside service have been entrusted to the Cuoco Funeral & Cremation Services 10 West End Avenue, Somerville, NJ (908) 707-2058. A memorial service will be announced at a later date. To send an on-line condolence please visit

In lieu of flowers donations may be made in her memory to Somerset Regional Animal Shelter 100 Commons Way, Bridgewater, NJ 08807.

Published by Courier News from Mar. 27 to Mar. 28, 2021.
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5 Entries
Mrs. Franchino was my Principal at Bradley Gardens and JFK. I don't think it would be appropriate here but what she did for me was well past above and beyond. God bless her. There are people who were only meant to do good things for other people. She exemplified the Christian ethic. Thank you, Mrs. Franchino.
Rocco Carrube
September 21, 2021
At Bradley Gardens Elementary, Mrs. Franchino offered us the world. When I think of how things used to be better in schools, I think of her and all wonderful teachers there. Godspeed, Mrs. Franchino.
Rocco Carrube
April 16, 2021
Bernice was a fantastic principal. She would always listen to you when you needed to vent. She allowed and encouraged you to be creative as long as you taught the basic and had discipline. She made Bradley Gardens a FAMILY school by understanding parent's and children's problems and actively, quietly on the Q T helping them. She and Alice Barbo would spend their own money buying clothes and other things for those in need. Even retired she would remember little anecdotes about teachers and kids, always inquiring how everyone was in your household. When I would meet former BG students in Wegman's, church, the postoffice or any other place they would always ask after her and the other teachers they had or didn't have. Others listening to the conversations would be amazed that they remembered the staff . Often they didn't remember any but 1 or 2 of theirs. We always had open doors and parents would walk down the hall with the preschoolers tagging along so you knew them before you had them in class and they felt comfortable coming to school and knew the teachers. Personally she ,made a big difference in my life and I will always remember her. Teaching Kindergarten under her was fun, fulfilling, and educational. She stayed up to date and sharp as a tack until until Covid isolated us. I still remember our last luncheon at "Arbor Glen".
Dolores Weborg
March 28, 2021
She was the best principal ever had. I would like to say I can see her as if it were yesterday. You are a great part of many lives. RIP
William Seibel
March 26, 2021
I remember Mrs Franchino as our principal at Bradley Gardens School. She was also a friend of my fathers family. I am sure she will be greatly missed. She was a beautiful person.
Debbie Monteleone
Debbie Monteleone
March 26, 2021
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