John Gazda, 90, of Metuchen, died on Friday, July 24, 2020 at JFK Medical Center in Edison.
Born in Jersey City, John resided in Metuchen since 1958. He played basketball at Jersey City Jr. College & coached basketball at St. Nicholas Byzantine Church. John loved attending his children and grandchildren’s sporting events. Affectionately known as the “Twizzler Man”, John was also a loyal fan of Metuchen Girls basketball & soccer teams. To the friends and neighbors, John was known as “Mr. G’”, the unofficial Mayor of Upland Avenue.
John proudly served in the US Navy during the Korean War & played basketball on the USS Sicily CVE 118. He attended Jersey City Jr. College, received a bachelor’s & MBA from Rutgers University -Newark. John was employed by Federated Stores (formerly Allied Stores Corp) in NYC, as the Director of Systems & Programming. He was a parishioner of St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral in Metuchen & a member of the Knights of Columbus #3272. Active in the community, John belonged to the Hillside Cemetery Committee, was a Metuchen Senior Center Commissioner & a Metuchen High School Booster Club president in the 80’s. He was devoted to his family & many friends, which he considered to be his family. He looked forward to and enjoyed the annual Navy reunion with his USS Sicily shipmates.
He was predeceased by his loving wife, Irene (nee Kartanowicz, d.2015); parents, Michael & Mary; siblings, Mary Niskach (George), Helen Schreiner (Frank), Elizabeth Gazda, & Dorothy Counterman (Robert); brothers-in-law, John (Joan) & Ray Kartanowicz & a son-in-law, Phil Branning.
He is survived by his 6 children, John (Jack) Gazda and wife, Barbara, and their children, Allison Lurie and husband, Rob, and Jennifer; Donna Branning and her son, Matthew, and wife, Eliza-Jane, and their children, Tyler, Madison and Sophie; Ken Gazda; Rich Gazda and wife, Pam, and their children, Chris and wife, Jenn & baby Gazda, and Drew and fiancé, Samantha Meyer; Valerie Gazda and spouse, Kathy Dillon; Mary Ellen Wilson and husband, Jon, and their children James and Rebecca; a sister-in law, Dolores Kartanowicz, & many nieces & nephews.
A private Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at 10:15 am at St. Francis of Assisi, Metuchen followed by interment at Hillside Cemetery in Metuchen. In order to protect the health and safety of all, masks and physical distancing will be enforced. Also please be respectful that all indoor gatherings in our state have limited capacities that are generally reserved for the immediate family and their invited guests only. The service will be livestreamed for public viewing by going through the St. Francis of Assisi website and clicking on the Link to Livestream https://www.stfranciscathedral.org/
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the John and Irene K. Gazda Scholarship Fund. Make checks payable to Metuchen High School, 400 Grove Ave, Metuchen NJ 08840; in the check memo please write “John and Irene K. Gazda Memorial Scholarship Fund”.