Frank Anthony Cassavell, 89, of Sanibel, FL and Skytop, PA (formerly of Upper Saddle River, NJ), passed away at home on May 16, 2022, from complications of Parkinson’s Disease, with his family by his side. Frank was born on January 6, 1933, in New York, NY to the late Frank and Marie (Gaida) Cassavell. After graduating from Westwood High School, NJ in 1951, he earned a Bachelor of Business from Montclair State College in NJ and a Master of Accounting from Columbia University. Scouts approached Frank to play in the MLB minor leagues, but he chose to serve in the U.S. Navy. From 1955 to 1957 he was deployed to the Mediterranean on the U.S.S. Forrestal.
Frank is survived by his beloved wife of 64 years, Barbara (Ulrich). Together they raised six children and were blessed with 16 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Frank is also survived by his brother Edward of Bonita Springs, FL (Lois), daughter Kim Irigoyen of Marco Island, FL (Joseph- Joseph II, Anthony, Jonathan, and their families), daughter Patricia Cassavell of Key West, FL (Sophia Kloeber), son Robert of Glen Gardner, NJ (Justina- Claudia, Nicole, Zoey, Robert II), daughter Beth McGee of Milton, MA (Michael II- Michael III, Greta), daughter in-law Laura Cassavell of Pennington, NJ (Andrew, Kathryn, Frank, and their families), son-in-law Ricky Neiman of Highland, MI (Eric, Lauren, Jamie, Jennifer, and their families). Predeceased by daughter Cheryl Neiman, son Frank Cassavell, and sister Dorothy Seikel.
Frank started his career as a teacher of Accounting at Northern Valley Regional High School in Demarest, NJ where he also enjoyed teaching driver’s education and coaching the baseball and golf teams. After teaching, Frank successfully launched his real estate development company and built hundreds of houses, apartments, and condominiums in Bergen County, NJ and Sanibel, FL, including many for friends and family. He was known for his integrity as a builder of the highest quality homes and was a mentor to developers who sought out his guidance on getting started in the business.
Frank was a gifted athlete and had a passion for basketball and baseball. He played shortstop to be at the center of the action. As a Senior and captain, he led his high school baseball team to win the Bergen County championship in 1950. He excelled on the team at Montclair State where he batted .344 over his tenure and accomplished such feats as stealing home twice in the same game. He held his chops with MLB players while playing for Bainbridge in the U.S. Navy league. Frank coached youth baseball and softball teams in Upper Saddle River, NJ, where he shared his love of the game and immense knowledge of the sport with his children and the community. Always up for a challenge, Frank took up golf. He became a scratch golfer and earned the nickname “Frankie One-iron” for his uncanny ability to play with the challenging club. He won multiple championships at the Dunes of Sanibel, Skytop Lodge, and other clubs.
Frank had an appetite for living and was perpetually in motion. The ever-growing list of his interests included earning a pilot’s license, playing the piano, painting landscapes in oils and watercolors, playing tennis, and skiing (which he and Barbara took up in their 60’s). He was an excellent dancer, quick with a joke, and often had a magic trick or two up his sleeve. Frank had an inviting and infectious smile. He was magnetic: exceedingly kind and fun to be with. People were drawn to him. He was generous of spirit and went out of his way to lend a hand to family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers. He was a true gentleman, preoccupied with the safety and comfort of his family and those around him.
Frank’s greatest love was his wife, Barbara. Frank and Barbara met in high school and were married on Nov 23rd, 1957. They shared a lifetime of love and moments together, raising six children and enjoying their time with family and dear friends. They hosted lively dinner parties and huge family gatherings. The pair traveled extensively and made new friends wherever they went. They were active members of their communities in Upper Saddle River, NJ, Sanibel, FL, and Skytop, PA, and parishioners of Church of the Presentation and St. Isabel Catholic Church.
Frank was a doting dad/grandpa who not only happily shared his time and knowledge with his family, but also attended hundreds of baseball/softball games, soccer games, basketball games, tennis matches, track meets, concerts, plays, and graduations. If a nervous child didn’t want any spectators, Frank was known to observe a match while hiding in the bushes. He delighted in seeing his kids/grandkids compete and perform and did not want to miss a single minute.
Frank was a self-made man: an entrepreneur, a Renaissance man, and an athlete, but his love and dedication to his wife and family will be Frank’s legacy. He was ambitious, talented, and accomplished, yet managed to put his family first at all times. His remarkable love for Barbara was immeasurable. He was profoundly proud of their children. Through his integrity and kindness, he earned the unwavering respect and devotion of his family and the many friends he made over a lifetime. Frank will be missed by all who loved him and the countless lives he touched. The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to: Community Pregnancy Center (940 5th Ave N , Naples Fl. 34102) or Christian Action News, (P.O . Box 1711, Palm City Fl. 34991). A celebration of life mass will be held at St. Isabel Catholic Church, Sanibel, FL on December 3, 2022, at 11:00 am with a luncheon reception to follow.
3559 Sanibel Captiva Rd, Sanibel, FL 33957