Tom Favia, R.I.P.

Dear Editor:

We are deeply saddened to read about the passing of Tom Favia, basketball coach, “dean,” and union leader par excellence. Before stepping down as President of the Jersey City Education Association (JCEA) in 2012, Tom Favia had been involved with the Jersey City School District for close to six decades.

Our fondest memories of Tom Favia are as the basketball coach at James J. Ferris High School. Many times, when the high school basketball season started, The Ferris Bulldogs were underdogs. Typically, back in the 70’s, the Ferris players were not as tall or fleet of foot as the other schools’ teams. Yet, in spite of all the negative predictions and overcoming great odds and obstacles, the Bulldogs have managed, many times, to raise to the occasion. As a matter of interesting fact, Tom Favia is the only coach to have a winning record against Saint Anthony’s legendary head coach, Bob Hurley.

Tom Favia is a credit to high school education. He reinforced the values of good sportsmanship to his players. Tom Favia helped to mold boys into men – on the basketball court and in the harshest court of them all, the court of “adulthood.”  As “Dean,” Tom Favia displayed a firmness in administering discipline; but, also, a sincere compassion. Essentially, with Tom Favia, the punishment always was equitable to the transgression. Indeed, Tom Favia was gruff. But, his heart was larger than is “roughness.”

Following the passing of Lou Scialli – an inspirational labor leader and a legend in the annals of Jersey City public education – Tom Favia took the reins of the JCEA; and, for over 20 years, served as that union’s president.

Tom Favia will be sorely missed by his colleagues and former players and students who had the pleasure of knowing him.

Very respectfully yours,

Albert J. Cupo


John Di Genio