Published in The Plain
Dealer on December 30, 2009
PETRICH (PETRICK) JOSEPH
Born on December 3, 1914 passed away on December 28, 2009 due to old age.
He was healthy right up into his 90s along with his wife Florence who
is recently deceased. He met Florence when he was five years old and they
were childhood sweethearts. They grew up across the street from each other
in the Slovenian neighborhood on the east side of Cleveland. They were
married for 71 years.
Joe played professional baseball during the Depression (1930- 1942).
He was a left-handed pitcher and could hit the ball well enough that he
often played first base when he was not pitching.
He played in the minor leagues mostly down south. It was a time when baseball
was the largest sport in the country. Many of the minor league parks were
sold out every night.
He was nicknamed "Goofy Joe" because of his awkward delivery
to home plate.
He threw a 90-mile per hour fastball and could run like a gazelle. He
once played on a minor-league team with Stan "The Man" Musial.
He was brought up to Cleveland and pitched a minor league game against
the Yankees which he lost 16 to 2.
He was a celebrity in every town he played since he had class.
After his baseball career he started an ice cream business on the east
side of Cleveland. The business was named "Daddy Joe's Ice Cream".
At one point he operated eight ice cream trucks employing many students
that would work each summer in between college. He also worked at Eaton
Axle for 10 years as a machinist, working mostly at night.
In the 1970s and 1980s along with his wife Florence they ran the concession
stand at Holland State Park in Holland, Michigan.
They both were very active in the Slovenian community on the east side
of Cleveland. They were members of Recher Slovenian Hall and SNPJ. They
would be at Recher Slovenian Hall dancing or playing Balinca (bocce-ball)
Joe also was an accomplished self-taught musician. He could play the piano,
accordion and button box as good as anyone. He had a talent for music
where he could hear a song one time and play it, most of the time, better
than the original song. He gave lessons on the button box into his 90s.
He was chosen Slovenian man of the year by the Euclid based Slovenian
Society home in 1995. He had a good long life and he died peacefully of
natural causes. He was a good kind man and the world is a little worse
off today without Joe Petrich in it.
Surviving are two daughters, Linda Britton (Charles) and Lana Whewell,
along with one son, Joe Petrick (Diane), six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Friends will be welcomed at the service in the Chapel of Peace at Whitehaven
Memorial Park, 615 S.O.M. Center Rd., Mayfield Village for brief service
at 11:30 a.m., Thursday, December 31, 2009 . There will be NO CALLING
A lunch will be served after the service. In lieu of flowers, please make
contributions to the charity of your choice, arrangements were entrusted
to DAVIS-BABCOCK FUNERAL HOME of Willoughby. www.davisbabcock.com