Francis Xavier Monnes, 81, of Cromwell, beloved husband of Virginia (Kuempel) Monnes, passed away on Monday, June 16th. To quote Fran, "I am the luckiest man in the world. The Lord has been good to me and has always answered all my prayers."
Fran was born into a large family of 7 children, the second youngest child of the late John J. Monnes, a 5-term Senator and very successful dairy farmer, and loving mother the late Elizabeth (Derenthal) Monnes. He was married for 54 years to a beautiful woman, Virginia, whom he loved with all of his heart. Fran had four children and 13 grandchildren that he cherished and was very proud of. He enjoyed working for 60 years on the last dairy farm in Cromwell with his two brothers, delivering dairy products throughout the region and serving his customers. Fran was a 2-term Board of Selectman and Deputy First Selectman for the town and people he loved so much. He was a graduate of Cromwell schools and Middletown High School, Central CT State University, and received a Masters and 6th year teaching degree from the University of Hartford. Fran was captain of every baseball team he played on from Middletown High to CSCU to the Cromwell Rosebuds, the semi-professional team, and played for a total of 25 years in the Middlesex and Hartford Twilight Leagues.
Fran treasured being a Guidance Counselor and varsity baseball coach at Cromwell High School for 36 years. He loved the kids and the job and wanted to give something back to this great game. Fran's passion brought his teams a record of 467 wins, 192 losses, 14 Charter Oak Conference titles, 2 division titles, 30 playoff appearances in 30 years, 6 state championship games, and 2 state titles. His teams had 21 no hitters, a CT record, including one by his son and a national record of 5 in one season by one pitcher. Fran served for 10 years as the Charter Oak Conference baseball chairman, was on the CIAC baseball committee, and was president of the Cromwell Teachers' Association. He was CT High School Coach of the year in 1976, 1987, and 1990, including a finalist as National Coach of the Year. He was the CT baseball chairman in 1969. Fran coached the CT High School All-Star teams and the CT-Massachusetts games. He was extremely honored and flattered to have the Cromwell High School field renamed "Fran Monnes Field". Fran was inducted into the Hall of Fames for: CT High School Coaches, Middletown High, Cromwell Athletic Club, and Central CT State University. The Hartford Courant honored him as one of the outstanding coaches of the 20th century. Fran enjoyed international travel, golf, skiing, and hiking. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus for 55 years, a driver for cancer patients for 12 years, and a hospice volunteer.
Along with his wife, Fran, he is survived by his sister, Catherine Ireton; two sons, Peter Monnes and wife, Shari and Rob Monnes and wife, Alicia; two daughters, Maria Barry and husband, Michael and Jeanne Pricer and husband, Mark; grandchildren, Charlie, Christopher, Emily, and Andrew Barry; Paul, Katarina, and Matthew Monnes; Katie and Remee Pricer; Jonah and Avery Monnes and many nieces, nephews, cousins, former students, players, and friends. Besides his parents, he was predeceased by two grandchildren, Elizabeth and Caleb Monnes and five siblings, John Monnes, Bernard Monnes, Marie Coburn, Betty Collins and Josephine Brennan.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, June 21st at 9:00 am at the Cromwell Funeral Home, 506 Main Street, Cromwell followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 am at Saint John Church, 5 Saint John Court, Cromwell. Interment will follow in Saint John Cemetery in Middletown. Family and friends may call on Friday evening from 4:00 to 8:00 pm at the Cromwell Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, please donate in Fran's memory to the Cromwell Athletic Club at www.cromwellathleticclub.org or to the Student Council Scholarship Fund c/o Cromwell High School, One Donald Harris Drive, Cromwell, CT 06416. To share memories or send condolences to the family, please visit: www.doolittlefuneralservice.com.
Middletown Press - June 18, 2014
ERRATA: Mr. Monnes graduated from Middletown High School in 1951. This next article is in error when it says he graduated from from Cromwell High School.