SPRINGFIELD, NJ — Local residents are mourning the loss of former Jonathan Dayton High School Assistant Principal Manuel Pereira, who passed away on Jan. 17.

Pereira, 78, a Westfield resident, was born on April 26, 1942, in Palmerton, Pennsylvania. He met his wife Elaine in 1963, marrying her in 1966. They lived in Roselle Park for a time, before moving to Westfield in 1969. While living in Westfield, they raised their three children, Lynn Nicusanti, Christine Sliwinski and Jeffrey Pereira.

Additionally, Pereira enlisted in the United States Army from 1961 to 1963. He attended Montclair University from 1963-1967, signing a short term contract with the Yankees while he was there. After being released, he finished at Montclair with a B.A. in business education. Pereira also received an M.A. in administration from Kean University in 1974.

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He began the Springfield chapter of his life in the local board of education in 1967, when he was hired as an accounting and typing teacher at the then Jonathan Dayton Regional High School. Along with his teaching duties, Pereira also coached the baseball and football teams. In 1978, Pereira became the assistant principal of the school, retiring in 2000. 

According to the obituary notice, during his years as an administrator, "Manny had an uncanny ability to foster strong relationships with all of the students he came in contact with over his illustrious career."

A number of local residents were born and/or raised in Springfield, and as a result, have been sharing their fond memories of Pereira since his passing.

Following his retirement, Pereira delighted in watching his grandchildren play in a wide variety of sports. One moment the obituary listed as among his proudest was watching his granddaughter score her thousandth point on her high school basketball team.

Along with his Springfield stint, Pereira was well known throughout the Westfield community from coaching his son in baseball. He was also a member of the Westfield High School Booster Club. Information for a memorial will be announced in the coming months.

Pereira is survived by his brother Joe Pereira of Miami, Florida, his sisters Julia Lopes of Bonita Springs, Florida, Delores Harris of Brielle, New Jersey and his half-brother Alfredo Pereira of Portugal. Pereira is also survived by his two son-in-laws. Michael Sliwinski and Michael Nicusanti and his eight grandchildren, Dylan, Ryan, Brianna, Victoria, Jake, Alexandra, Christian, and Benjamin.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Manuel Pereira, please visit the following link.