Obituary of Walter E. Figel Sr.
Middlesex, NJ – Walter E. Figel, Sr., 96, passed away at his home on Friday, July 26, 2019 surrounded by his loving family. Born in Bound Brook to the late Boleslaw and Mary (Slowik) Figel. Walter has been an active resident of Middlesex Borough since 1952. He served as the Assistant Recreation Commissioner of Middlesex Borough for many years mostly running and coaching Farm League Baseball and Rec Basketball and Pop Warner Football.
Walter was a 1942 graduate of Bound Brook High School and was a stellar athlete. He earned many awards and received state-wide accolades for his athletic skills in both baseball (BBHS, Bound Brook Indians, and Kingston-Conley in Plainfield) and BBHS basketball. His many scrapbooks of the newspaper clippings he kept and the stories he so often shared of his athletic glory days serve to validate his athletic prowess. Walter was a championship team player.
After graduation, Walter served in the US Coast Guard stationed in Maine and then in Hawaii during WWII. He talked fondly of playing basketball while in the service and also of his meeting “Stan the Man Musial” with his beloved St. Louis Cardinals baseball team. He also self-taught himself to skillfully play the harmonica while in the service and enjoyed playing until recently.
Walter then continued his education where he graduated from Seton Hall University with a degree in Education. He also coached boys’ basketball for St. Mary’s Grammar School in Bound Brook and the CYO boys’ basketball in the Diocese of Trenton. His love of basketball led him into refereeing many high school basketball games as a NJ Official. Also, he was an avid Celtics basketball fan.
For over 32 years, Walter was employed by the Middlesex Board of Education where he taught the majority of his time as a Physical Education Teacher in the Elementary (Parker, Watchung, Pierce) and Junior High (Central) Schools.
Walter was a Union Carpenter with Local 455 during the summers. He enjoyed carpentry immensely. Walter’s other interests included rollerskating, ice skating, fishing, traveling and watching his children and grandkids play sports for Middlesex High School, Immaculata High School, Hillsborough High School and Brick Memorial High School.
Predeceased by his wife Evelyn M. (Kurkowski) Figel in 1996, granddaughter Denice in 2013 and by three siblings; Julie, Helen and Joseph, Walter leaves behind his loving and devoted children; Joyce Evans (Richie) of East Millstone, Walter Jr. of Middlesex, Kenneth (Barbara) of Venice, FL, Audrey Stickel (Harry) of Middlesex, Rosemary Figel of Mantaloking and Anthony (Heide) of Middlesex. Walter will be deeply missed by his twelve grandchildren; Angela, Keith, Kacey, Nicole, Bryan, Walter III, Brett, Jocelyn, Danielle, Valerie, Trystin and Kirstin, thirteen great-grandchildren with one on the way, his loving companion Gloria, as well as many nieces and nephews.
And as a side bar, Walt’s love of children (both his own and those he taught and coached over his many years of dedicated service) will always keep him in the hearts of so many. And, let it be known that in recent years he has been referred to by former students and athletes as the Jack Lalanne of Middlesex. Yes, he was quite an amazing guy and what a wonderful way to be remembered.
Visitation will be held in Middlesex Funeral Home, 528 Bound Brook Road, Middlesex, NJ 08846 on Monday, July 29, 2019 from 2:00 pm until 8:00 pm.
Funeral services will begin 9:00 am in the funeral home on Tuesday, July 30, 2019 followed by a 10:00 am Funeral Mass at St. Mary of Czestochowa Roman Catholic Church in Bound Brook. Walter will be laid to rest beside his wife at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Hillsborough.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be sent to the Middlesex Rescue Squad, Recreation Center or Police Department or Ascend Hospice at 1600 St, Georges Avenue – Suite 312, Rahway, NJ 07065 would be appreciated.