Robert J Reagan, “Bob” to his friends, “Bobby” to his siblings, and “Dad” to his children, was a gentle, compassionate man of few words and great peace. And so, his passing on the sunny morning of March 3rd, 2022 was quiet and peaceful with family and friends around him.
Born on June 12th, 1935, in Kearny NJ, the youngest of twelve children, he led a vibrant and athletic life. At four-years-old he was already catching fastballs on the street by his home in Harrison, NJ, all to the amazement and entertainment of locals and passersby. From high school at St. Benedict’s in Newark, NJ, to college at St. Peter’s in Jersey City, NJ, he easily became a NJ-State All-Star shortstop before signing a contract for the MiLb team Crowley Millers out of Kansas City in 1956.
After baseball, Robert tried corporate life but felt unfulfilled. He returned to his high school Alma Mater and joined the Benedictine Monks of Newark Abbey and later was ordained a Catholic priest. His time in the priesthood was short-lived as it was at his first assignment, St Mary’s in Deal, NJ, that Robert met the love of his life, Carole Anne. Having heard his final calling, they soon began a marriage that would last for his last 47 years.
Blessed with great health all the way into retirement, Robert was always active and adventurous: baseball, golfing, canoeing, and hiking were just some of the ways he enjoyed the great outdoors. From his home on a peninsula in the Poconos, he enjoyed many summer days tending his birdfeeders, playing with his German Shepard, and watching the sun go down over the lake, always with his beloved wife at his side. Winter evenings were spent by the fireside in their cozy cabin watching sitcoms, laughing late into the night as the snow fell outside.
Robert is survived by his wife Carole of Deal, NJ; children Barbara Phillips of West Long Branch, NJ; Jacqueline Palmieri of West Long Branch, NJ; Carole Gaffey of Deal, NJ; Matthew of Neptune, NJ; and Owen of Wendell, NC; brothers Charles (Cathy) of Williston, Vt; Laurance (Joan) of Forked River, NJ; and Sister, Violetta (Thomas) French of Spring Lake, NJ; four grandchildren and their spouses; and one great grandchild. He is predeceased by parents, James and Catherine Reagan; daughter Jessica; brothers, Thomas (Sonia), James (Marie) and John; sisters Catherine, Claire, Mary Price (Thomas), Eleanor McGarril (James) and Eileen.
Services will be at a later date; details to follow.