By PETE WALTON
Fran Sauta, longtime secretary to the Bradley Beach planning and zoning boards and a popular figure in the borough her entire life, died over the weekend. She was 82.
“Bradley Beach’s heart is truly broken,” said Mayor Gary Engelstad. “We have lost one of the kindest, loving persons who was so committed to serving the residents of the borough.”
Sauta was born in Neptune, grew up in Bradley Beach and graduated from Asbury Park High School.
A summa cum laude graduate of Kean College (now Kean University) in Union, Sauta taught for 25 years at Neptune Middle School, where in 1995, she was named Teacher of the Year.
“Fran worked for the borough since 1983, starting as planning and zoning secretary and in 1985 became the court clerk, continuing in the court until 2003,” said Borough Clerk Kelly Barrett. “She was the first tourism secretary for the Borough of Bradley Beach. She was instrumental in establishing the Memorial Day Committee and was secretary of the committee. She helped out at one time or other in every department in the borough.”
“I will sorely miss her always positive attitude, her wicked sense of humor but mostly her compassion for everyone she met,” added Mayor Engelstad.
Most recently a resident of Manchester, Sauta was an avid reader and traveler. She served as a CCD teacher for many years at St. Luke Roman Catholic Church in Toms River.
“Fran had an unbelievable work ethic but a more remarkable outlook on life,” Barrett said. “She was always positive, never complained, was quick witted and came out with the most amazing zingers. I have heard many times over the years people say ‘I want to be Fran’ because she made the most of life.”
“Everyone could depend on Fran,” Barrett said. “She was a dear friend to me for over 30 years and it will not be the same without her. I will miss you, Frances Mary.”
A memorial Mass will be held June 1 at the Church of the Ascension, Bradley Beach, where Sauta was a lifelong member.