Frances “Fran” Welcome, 84, passed away on Saturday, October 16, 2021. Born Frances Cosentino, she grew up in West Long Branch, the daughter of public servants: Josephine, a nurse, and Anthony, the Borough’s Fire Chief. She graduated from Long Branch High School in 1955, where in 1953 she met her best friend and husband Donald Welcome, with whom she spent 68 years. They attended Murray State University together in Kentucky, earning degrees in education. She worked every day while going to school — as a Bell telephone operator, a waitress on the Long Branch Boardwalk — and she seemingly never stopped. After college, Fran and Don returned to Long Branch and devoted their careers to the education of the district’s elementary school students.
Fran was a standout teacher from the beginning, distinguishing herself in every way with a deep commitment to student excellence, and by providing inspirational leadership and service during periods of profound change in American public education. She taught for a record 51 years at the Elberon and Garfield Schools, primarily in the third and fourth grades, and later the No Child Left Behind program. She was understandably celebrated as Teacher of the Year at the district and county levels several times.
Fran was recognized for always being out in front, for giving so much, and for being so kind. She was beloved and immensely popular. Even in a profession where it’s common to find good people with heart, Fran’s qualities and abilities were uncommon and inimitable. She brought love, humanity, inclusivity, and generosity to the classroom and her community. She valued staying in touch with her students and their families, including many times teaching the children of her former students. She impacted the lives of thousands of school children and personally mentored scores of teachers, building so many lasting relationships with them.
Fran pushed these successive generations to be their best and to influence the world around them in meaningful ways. She was similarly generous to countless relatives and friends who also loved her dearly, and to institutions that meant a lot to her and that “do good things.” She was a passionate cook, the life of every party, and an avid library patron having read well over 2,000 books during her lifetime.
Fran is survived by her loving husband Donald, and two nephews whose lives and careers she continually inspired: Anthony Crowell, the Dean and President of New York Law School, and William Crowell, who trained as a social worker. She was predeceased by her sister Martha.
Visitation Tuesday, October 19, 4:00 – 7:00 pm at the Woolley-Boglioli Funeral Home, 10 Morrell Street, Long Branch. Mass of Christian burial Wednesday, October 20, at 1:30 pm at Star of the Sea RC Church, 101 Chelsea Avenue, Long Branch. Burial to follow at Woodbine Cemetery, Oceanport. For messages of condolence, please visit Fran’s page of tributes at www.woolleyboglioli.com.
In honor of Fran, the family requests that any donations be made to the West Long Branch First Aid Squad; www.westlongbranch.org/emergency-medical-services.
KINDLY NOTE: for the health and safety of all guests, face masks are required at indoor services.