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Jack (Joaquin) Braz, 77, of Clarks Green died surrounded by his family on Saturday after an illness at the Hospice of the Sacred Heart, Dunmore. He was the husband of the former Peggy O'Malley. The couple had been married 58 years.
Born on the 29th of April, 1939, in Scranton, PA, to the late Joaquin and Anna Marinchak Braz, Jack was a member of Saint Gregory's Catholic Church, Clarks Green.
He was educated in the Scranton schools and subsequently became a proud member of the U.S. Army. Jack was then stationed in Nuremberg, Germany, and toured many parts of Europe.
After returning home from the army, he worked as a pipefitter for Gus Weinberger and Jack Plotkin and Son, and was a dedicated member of the Local Pipefitter's Union 524. In high school, Jack was an outstanding athlete in football, basketball, and baseball. His love of baseball would shape his life and the lives of many others. Not only did he play baseball in the army, he went on to become a highly respected coach for his favorite sport for the next 20 years. As a Little League coach, Jack passed on his passion for the sport to his two sons. Jack also coached Teener League, American Legion, and Summer Collegiate baseball. Jack's ex-players will tell you at times he was a tough coach, but he knew his sport like few others, and if you played for him, you were always on a winning team. His passion for sports was also passed along to his three daughters who played softball, basketball, and volleyball in high school.
Jack's whole life changed when he became a grandfather. His two granddaughters were the light of his life. He wanted to impart his love of life to them, and never missed an opportunity to broaden their horizons. From museums, to the circus, to movies, Jack showed his granddaughters as many different experiences as he could. He instilled a love of nature and the outdoors in them, taking them on long country rides to see the horses and spending as much time as possible at Lackawanna State Park. He taught the girls how to swim, ride a bike, kick a soccer ball, and swing a bat. But when he introduced them to basketball, all three of their lives became centered around that sport.
Starting with the Lady Royals' games at the University of Scranton, Jack exposed the girls to basketball when they were very young. Both girls went on to become high school basketball standouts at Forest City Regional because of him, and Jack never missed a game. Jack's life revolved around his family and sports, particularly the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Eagles. In recent years, he and his family spent many summer nights at the Rail Riders games.
Jack will also be remembered for his awesome sense of humor, quick wit, and the ability to make people laugh everywhere he went; he was a consummate storyteller.
The family would like to thank the Hospice of the Sacred Heart for the outstanding care Jack received. They would also like to thank the many wonderful caregivers he had throughout the past two years: Margo, Julie, Shermaine, Annette, Sue C., Sue H., Marty, Marie, Maura, Geneva, Angel, Jeff, Lana, John, Bill, Marissa, Corey, Carol Travis, and of course his daughter Terri for her never-ending devotion.
Also survivng: two daughters, Terri Erdmann and husband Mark, Browndale; Sandra Tailor and husband John, Los Angeles; two sons, Johnny, Clarks Green, and Christopher, Atlanta, GA.; his beloved granddaughters, Cassie and Carly Erdmann of Browndale; a sister Nina Yudiskas, Scranton; and nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his daughter Laurie, a brother Manuel, and a sister Sylvia McGinty.
The funeral will be Saturday with Mass of Christian Burial at 9:30 at Church of Saint Gregory, 330 North Abington Road, Clarks Green, to be celebrated by Fr. John Lapera. Military honors and committal service will follow the mass. Interment, Clarks Green Cemetery. The family will receive relatives and friends, Friday 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Jennings- Calvey Funeral and Cremation Services, Inc. 111 Colburn Ave., Clarks Summit
Memorial contributions may be made to the St. Luke Foundation For Haiti, 8980 SW 56th Street, Miami, FL 33165
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