Thursday, December 23, 2010

Former San Jose State basketballer Jack Avina's wife passes

The author does a tremendous job at telling the story here -- getting at what we call the story behind the story.
‘It’s tough living without her’
Kerry Eggers
The Portland Tribune
Dec 23, 2010

It has been nearly three months now, but he still finds himself sitting in the easy chair in his family room, staring into space.

It is going to be a tough holiday season for Jack Avina.

All of the six children, 13 grandchildren and three great-children will be in Portland to spend Christmas with the patriarch of the family.

But not his beloved Clare.

Clare Avina died on Sept. 21, leaving her husband of 57 years alone for the first time since he was a student at San Jose State.

“I don’t care if I live or die,” Jack Avina says, fighting back tears as he rides the wave of despair and reality. “But I’m going to live.”

Avina, the legendary former University of Portland basketball coach, has always been the baddest hombre around. He has been devastated by the loss of his life partner.

“This is the toughest thing Dad’s been through in his life,” says Joel Avina, the oldest of Jack’s three sons. “You sit him down in front of a picture of my mom … he’s broken.”

At 81, after three hip and shoulder replacement surgeries and a continuing battle with diabetes, the safe bet was that Jack – who coached the Pilots from 1970-87 – would meet his maker before Clare, who was in relatively good health.

“This is not the way we thought it would happen,” Joel Avina says...
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