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 Memorial Service Celebrating Bernice's Life will be 11:00am on Thursday, August 19, 2021 at The First United Methodist Church of Somerville 48 West High Street, Somerville, NJ. A Private graveside service took place in March. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Antonietta E. Cuoco and staff of the Cuoco Funeral & Cremation Services 10 West End Avenue, Somerville, NJ (908) 707-2058. A memorial service will be announced at a later date.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made in her memory to Somerset Regional Animal Shelter 100 Commons Way, Bridgewater, NJ 08807
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