BARNEGAT – Frank Caputo, a former member of the Township Committee and Board of Education who once served as mayor, was remembered by loved ones for his dedication to teaching and youth athletics.
TapInto’s Stephanie Faughan reported that a family member said he died from COVID-19. He was 76.
Elected to the Township Committee in 2016, he was mayor in 2018. He was also on the Planning Board. Prior to this, he was on the Barnegat Board of Education and before that, he held elected office in northern New Jersey.
His obituary posted by the Barnegat Funeral Home stated that he was born in Newark and raised in Belleville.
His Viewing will be at the Barnegat Funeral Home (841 W Bay Ave.) on Friday, January 15 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Mass services will be held at St. Mary of the Pines, Manahawkin, on Saturday, January 16 at 9:30 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the educational Frank Caputo Memorial Fund, set up for future graduating Barnegat High School seniors.
“As an educator, Frank touched many lives while serving in various New Jersey elementary and high schools as mentor, role model, and principal. He also served on numerous NJ Boards of Education which include Mt Olive, Clifton, and Barnegat. Besides his educational impact, Frank was always ready to roll up his sleeves and help his communities. He made a major impact with the Belleville Little League as both long time tenure President and coach, was a former NJ 2nd Ward Councilman, the Belleville Deputy Mayor, and more recently as the Mayor of Barnegat,” his obituary read.
He is survived by his wife, Dee Caputo; his two brothers and sister, Anthony, Patrick, and Barbara Blahut; his son, Frank Caputo; loving daughter Kellie Jackson, and Danielle Benanti; along with his seven grandchildren; Lexie, Madison and Nickie Jackson, Frank and Lila Rose Caputo, and Jack and Carter Benanti.
As mayor, Caputo celebrated volunteerism in town, supported the police and veterans causes.
He was present at the unveiling of the Vietnam Veteran Monument at Gazebo Park which had been purchased by residents Thy and Jimmy Cavagnaro to give vets the “welcome back” they never received and to thank them for their service.
“It’s been over 44 years since our U.S. troops withdrew from Vietnam; due to the unpopularity of that war, veterans returning home were often met with disdain,” Caputo said during the 2018 ceremony. “In going forward…lets thank all of our veterans for their service…because they are nothing but the best of the best.”
Barnegat is a Republican-controlled town, but there was some in-fighting.
In 2018, the Township Committee moved to censure Caputo and incorporate a vote of no confidence. A vote of no confidence means the committee no longer supported him as mayor.
Committeeman John Novak had said at the time that this was the result of “an out of control, profanity-laden tirade and the threat of violence against another Committeeman.”
In response to this action, Mayor Caputo remarked that he was offended and called the motion an effort to “discredit” him as mayor.