Bernard J. Villa, a long-time resident of Monmouth Beach, beloved father and grandfather, died peacefully at his home on Thursday, September 1, 2022. He was an active member of The Church of the Precious Blood. Born in 1936 to the late Rosary and CJ Villa, Bernie was raised in Jersey City and graduated from Regis High School and Seton Hall University. Dad married his high school sweetheart, the late Beatrice Villa, together they spent most of the married life raising their family waterskiing, enjoying the beaches, and sailing at the beautiful Jersey shore. Bernie was passionate about being on the water. He began powerboating as a teenager and was one of the first to water ski on Shark River. He was recognized as a nationally ranked catamaran sailor and a founding member of Hobie Fleet 250/Sandy Hook Bay Catamaran Club. He loved to share his sailing knowledge and expertise and mentored many racers who went on to become national champions.
Bernie was an actuary at Metropolitan Life Insurance Company for his entire career and was instrumental in opening their Canadian offices. During his time in Canada he made sure the entire family learned to snow ski – a hobby still practiced by some members of the family. He was an avid collector of model trains since childhood and spent countless hours during his retirement building an extensive display which he proudly shared with everyone who came to the home.
Bernie is survived by his children, Pegi Villa and her husband Tom Cottingham, Jim Villa and his wife Luisa Wage-Villa, Kathy Kulkoski and her husband Dan, Mary Beth Villa and her partner Stephen Spudic, and Eileen Villa Fontana, her husband Mike and grandchildren Gabby and Robbie Villa Fontana.
Visitation will be held on Monday, September 5 from 6-8 pm at the Damiano Funeral Home, 191 Franklin Avenue in Long Branch. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday at 10:30 am at the Church of the Precious Blood, 72 Riverdale Avenue, Monmouth Beach. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to Monmouth Beach EMS (Emergency Management Services) at 26 Beach Road, Monmouth Beach, NJ 07750 or Venmo @MonmouthBeach-EMS. Monmouth Beach's First Aid Squad has graciously served our family for almost 50 years. The family invites you to leave a letter of condolence by selecting the Tribute/Guestbook link above.
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