View Full Version : Remembering Jack Colavita

09-21-2005, 07:47 PM
To everyone reading this post.

This is Jack's son (Jack Jr). My mother, sister and I was at my fathers side last night when he passed away. I never thought I would have the courage to do so, but I looked into his eyes just before he passed and told him what a great father, husband he was. I also told him I was so proud of him on all his accomplishments as a professional pool player, and that no one will ever be able to replace his style, and character. My father will always be remembered as one of the most respected and liked players of the game. The game that he loved and held so dearly to his heart. He was an only child, and basically was part of a small family. But his extended family outside his immediate family was all his friends and coleagues in his many years in the Pocket Billiard profession.

He has left behind a legacy which consisted of-

* A 385 ball high run in straight pool.
* 5 Time New Jersey State Straight Pool Champion.
* 3 Time New York State Straight Pool Champion.
* New York/New Jersey King of the Hill Straight Pool
champion for 17 straight weeks back in late 1960's.
* 2nd Runner up in the 1974 US Open in Chicago.
* Numerous top 10 finishes in US Open and World
Straight Pool Tournaments.
* Was in the movie "The Player" with Minnesota Fats in
* Appeared on ABC Wide World of Sports in 1983 in a trick
shot competition with Howard Cosell.
* Won the Paul Sorvino Asthema Charity Tournament in NYC
in 1999.
* Has resurrected with Bill Haley the NJ State Straight
Pool Championship in Comet Billiards in Parsippany
which up to a couple of weeks ago he was still excited
about being there to play and help run it.

I am basically touching the tip of the iceberg. These accomplishments where achieved by him being a part time player (worked full time in a factory as a machinist), and his other battle with cancer starting which struck in his late 30's almost ending his pool career during his prime.

I would also like to thank the special friends who visited my father in the hospital the past few weeks. (John Bender and his wife Joan, Steve Lillis, Carmen Lombardo, Al Grasso, Bill Haley, Ron the caterer) Also the dear friends who contacted him to wish him well (Richard Black, Joe Baggio). I hope I didnt leave anyone out.

I know my dad respected everyone he ever came in contact with in the game. His legacy hopefully will live on for ever.

We love you dad (Mom, Cindy & Jack).

If anyone would be interested, there will be a write-up in the New Jersey Star Ledger tomorrow as well as the obitiuary on Viewing times.

Thanks for remembering my dad.

Jack Jr.

Jimmy B
09-22-2005, 12:25 AM


09-22-2005, 01:28 AM
obvious you are quite proud of your Dad ... as you should be

he's synonymous with straight pool and carried himself well

your father will be missed

rest in peace Mr. Colavita

Steve Lipsky
09-22-2005, 07:51 AM
Jack, I am so very sorry for your loss. The pool world has truly lost another of its bright lights.

I know you must be very busy and filled with grief. If you have time and can bring yourself to do it (and who knows... it might help), I was wondering if you could tell us more about your father? The earlier years, how he got into the game, who he respected, who he didn't like to play, etc.

If you do not have the time or are not up to it, I completely understand. And please accept my and Gina's condolences.

- Steve

Fran Crimi
09-22-2005, 08:14 AM

Your dad and I were partners in that 1999 Sorvino Charity event. I was deeply touched that out of all the WPBA players, he chose me as his partner. Your dad shot spectacular 9 Ball that night, putting away Sigel, Robles, and finally Margo and their WPBA partners. I'll always remember his ear-to-ear smile when they handed us our trophies. (I was smiling a bit myself /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif ).

I don't know if your dad ever told you this but he was Pat Fleming's nemesis in competition. Pat's game was top notch at the time, but no matter how well he shot or how many high runs he put together, he could never beat your father. We used to laugh about it because when Pat would draw your dad in a 14.1 tournament, Pat would say, "Oh well...I lost this one." You should ask Pat about that.


09-22-2005, 08:36 AM

Just another fond memory from one of the many people your father touched:

Jack(Sr.)used to hang at West End Billiards in Elizabeth, NJ. For those that don't know, West End was your typical old time dive poolhall. No dance floor, no fancy menus and everyone in the room could run 100's. It was no exaggeration that nobody, no road player, no nobody walked in there and left with the dough.

There was a weekly (Tues? I can't remember)tourney that looked like a mini pro tour stop. It wasn't unusual to walk in an see guys like Ray Martin, Hopkins, Mizerak, Pete Margo, Ervolino, Pat Fleming, Neptune Joe, and of course, Jack Colavita shooting in the same touney. BTW, this wasn't a tour stop, this was a WEEKLY local event. As a young guy, it was easy for me to feel overwhelmed by the talent around me. Most guys wouldn't waste time with you unless they knew you. JAck was different. One time, I was struggling with a cut shot(I wasn't very good) and Jack saw my problem, came over and asked me, almost apologetically, "Hey, can I show you somethin'? Try stroking thru the ball with a little bit of english." I still remember how I appreciated him taking the time to come over and help me. Years later, I would run into him at Comet Billiards and every time I saw him, it was always "Hey, how ya doin'?"

Jack was one of the good ones.


09-22-2005, 09:57 AM
Jack, it sounds like your dad was a great guy, in addition to being one of the real greats at pool. We're all sorry for your loss, and hope you'll be comforted by the many enduring fond memories that you have of him.....
My dad never made it in pool, or life....hardly made it past the corner bar.....but I always smile when I think of him, and his absurd sense of humor....a good man.

09-22-2005, 11:43 AM
Jack's nickname fit him to a T. Now, that's not to say that he didn't get angry at times, he was human...

A year or two ago, I was sitting on the rail at the NJ 14.1 Championships at Comet billiards. I was talking with Richard Black, who was a good friend of Jack's. Jack was in a match against(i believe) Thorsten Hohmann and was taking the heat. Richard decides to start heckling Jack a little. Jack took it, continued to play thru, even though he was obviously struggling and even made a few comments back. Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but if that was me, I probably wouldn't have been as jovial about being heckled at that moment.


09-22-2005, 07:01 PM
Jack jr. Sorry for your loss, your father was a great person that was respected by all the Players. I all my years playing I never heard anyone ever have anything but respect for your father and his game. Most players I knew always felt that your father would have won more tournaments if he wasn't a workingman. Still he managed to compete at a high level and work to support a family. You
can be proud of him and his legacy.####

09-27-2005, 02:07 AM
Dear Jack,
My heart and prayers go out to you and your family-I loved your Dad-we had ALOT of fun and laughs-he sent me an autographed picture ,many years ago, when he was a youngster,but he'll always be a youngster in my mind:)-I'll treasure it always-he'll always be my sweetiepie and I have ManY more pictures from the SBE and will always remember his smiling face!
My deepest condolences!
Carol~I was the one who sent him the "image of hope" of the 3 firemen in the remains of 9/11-I'll always remember him!

09-27-2005, 07:47 AM
I never met your Dad, Jack, but I saw him play many times. Even from a distance, it was impossible not to admire his passion not just for pool, but for 14.1. How I wish the game had another two dozen ambassadors like him; on the other hand, given how much everyone respected and loved him, maybe it's just as well that there was only one. GF

09-29-2005, 07:59 AM
I first met Jack almost 2 years ago at Comet. He was sweet, and kind, and always made a point to say hello to me. I will never forget that. I learned as much from him as I could and he left such a positive impression ever since the first time I met him. He will be greatly missed.