Richard W. Gaines of Somerset, a former longtime resident of Montclair and a professional basketball player who went on to a long career in education, died on Dec. 10, 2022. He was 86.

Mr. Gaines was born in 1936 in Saluda, South Carolina, the sixth of nine children of Irene and Ulysses Gaines. When he was an infant the family moved to Brooklyn. 

He attended 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 John David “Honey” Russell. 

Mr. Gaines spearheaded the Pirates to three bids to the prestigious National Invitation Tournament and was the most valuable player in the Orange Bowl and Virginia Invitational tournaments. During his collegiate career, he was honored by the Metropolitan Basketball Writers of New York and named to the Look magazine All-NCAA basketball team. 

In his professional athletic career, he played for a brief time with the Syracuse Nationals in the NBA, but the majority of his career was in the Eastern Professional League, with Easton, Scranton and Camden. He was named Rookie of the Year and selected for the All League Team 11 consecutive years, playing on seven championship squads. 

After leaving the Eastern League, Mr. Gaines 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 1990s. 

Mr. Gaines met his wife, Marie Brantley, while attending Seton Hall. The two were married in 1958 and had two children, Dana Alison and Richard Jay. The family settled in Montclair in 1966, where both children still reside. Marie (Brantley) Gaines died in 2000. In 2015 Mr. Gaines married Gail Smith. 

He is survived by his wife, Gail Jordan (Smith) Gaines; brother, Ronald Gaines; children, Dana and Richard Gaines; stepchildren, Jannah Wilder and Christopher Jordan, and many grandchildren, nephews, nieces and friends. 

Besides his first wife, Mr. Gaines was predeceased by his parents, Ulysses and Irene Gaines, and siblings, Ulysses “Jack” Gaines Jr., Benson “Mickey” Gaines, Annie Moore, Elease Wiggins, John “Red” Gaines, Lorretta Greene and Melvin Gaines. 

Services were private. 

Arrangements were by Martin’s Home for Service, 48 Elm St.