Longtime Caseys Educator Dies
John Paul Rafter, a teacher and coach at Red Bank Catholic for 45 years, passed away Monday at Riverview Medical Center.
Longtime Red Bank Catholic educator and coach John Paul Rafter, known for his multitude of successes as coach of girls track and boys cross country, died Monday at Riverview Medical Center at 79.
St. James Church Msgr. Philip Lowery made the announcement at the end of the school’s graduation ceremony Tuesday at Brookdale Community College. Lowery described Rafter, who was an educator for more than 40 years at the school, as a man who had touched the lives of every student who went though this classroom and left an indelible legacy at Red Bank Catholic.
Rafter retired after 45 years of teaching in 2006. Among the highlights from his career include, according to his obituary, getting parochial schools admitted to the Shore Conference, serving as Red Bank Catholic’s athletic director for 16 years, and being recognized on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives by President Ronald Regan in 1988 for having the most boys cross country victories.
Rafter's obituary, as it appears in the Star Ledger:
Red Bank Catholic's Coach Jack Rafter is going out a winner.
John Paul Rafter, 79, of Middletown, N.J., died on Monday, June 6, 2011, at Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, N.J. Visitation will be held on Thursday, June 9, 2011, from 5 to 9 p.m. at John F. Pfleger Funeral Home, 115 Tindall Rd., Middletown. A Funeral Liturgy will be offered at 10 a.m. Friday, June 10, at St. Joseph's R.C. Church, 376 Maple Pl., Keyport, N.J. Burial will follow at St. Catharine's Cemetery, Sea Girt, N.J.
John was born in Newark, N.J., and moved permanently to the New Jersey Shore area in 1961. A proud alumnus of St. Benedict's Prep in Newark and of Seton Hall University, he became a history teacher and a coach for Red Bank Catholic High School, Red Bank, N.J., for 45 years before retiring in 2006.
He is known throughout the state as the father of girls track and was instrumental in getting parochial schools admitted to the Shore Conference Athletic Association. He served as director of athletics from 1963 to 1979. John was honored on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 for having the most boys cross-country victories in the nation. He was inducted into the N.J. Sports Hall of Fame and the RBC Hall of Fame.
Surviving are his wife of 10 years, Antonia S. Malone; three daughters, Mary and husband Denis Gallagher, Margaret and husband William McMahon, and Colleen Rafter; two sons, John P. Rafter Jr. and wife Sharon, and Michael Rafter and wife Melissa; 10 grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; six step-sons, three step-daughters, and 25 step-grandchildren. John was predeceased by his first wife, Margaret A. Rafter; brothers, Joseph and Edward Rafter, and by his parents, Joseph and Marie Rafter. In lieu of flowers, the Coach requested that donations be sent to the St. Joseph's Haiti Parish Twinning Program, c/o St. Joseph's Church, Keyport. For more information, to send condolences or for directions, please visit www.pflegerfh.com.