Jack Dalton, Longtime Coach and Teacher at St. Benedicts Prep.
John (Jack) F. Dalton, of Cranford passed away on October 31, 2015. He was 89 years old.
Visitation and Life Celebration will be held at Gray Memorial Funeral Home, 12 Springfield Ave, Cranford, NJ on Tuesday, November 3 at 7 - 9pm and Wednesday, November 4 at 2 - 4pm and 7 - 9pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Michael's Church, 40 Alden St, Cranford, NJ on Thursday, November 5, 2015 at 9:30am.
Jack is survived by Joan, his wife of 62 years, his sister Helen and her husband Richard Nikiel, daughters Louise (Kenneth) Huebschman, Susan Marshall and Carol (Kevin) Farrell and sons John F. III, Michael (Lisa) and Timothy (Rosa). He is also survived by sixteen grandchildren, one great granddaughter and many nieces and nephews. Residing in Cranford for 57 years Jack enjoyed traveling the world with Joan and spending time with his family, friends and the St Benedicts Prep community. In his spare time, he was an exceptional perennial gardener. Jack was a lifelong Mets fan and loved watching Giant's football. He was a high school history teacher and an accomplished high school basketball coach. His teams won 5 state championships and won 523 games over 40 years.
Jack was born on July 1, 1926 in Newark, New Jersey to John and Alexandrine "Toots" (Jackson) Dalton. At age 8 he was paralyzed for almost a year from a bout with Meningitis. He spent most of 2nd grade relearning how to walk again. Jack attended Blessed Sacrament Elementary School in Newark and was active in CYO sports. In 1940, he enrolled as a freshman in St. Benedicts Prep where he would begin a 75 year relationship with the school. "St. Benedicts was my second love after Joan," he said. At St. Benedict, he starred in basketball and baseball under coaching legends Ernest "Prof" Blood and Joe Kasberger. He was named to the Star Ledger All State teams in 1944 for baseball and basketball. He enlisted after graduation in the United States Navy and served in the South Pacific as a Petty Officer, Third Class. In 1946, the Navy selected him to attend Officers Training at Vanderbilt University in Nashville Tennessee. He played on the Varsity basketball team that year. When the war ended, in 1947 he entered St. John's University where he played Varsity basketball for 4 years under Joe Lapchick and Frank McGuire. Graduating in 1951 he turned down an offer to play for the Rochester Royals (now Sacramento Kings) of the newly formed NBA basketball league. He would accept an offer to teach history and coach at St James High School in Newark, N.J. That same year he joined the Newark Iron Dukes, a semi professional basketball team where he played for several seasons. In his second season, he invited his new girlfriend Joan to a game. His teammates knew she came to see him and continuously fed him the ball. He set a league single game scoring record that night with 43 points. In 1953 he was offered and accepted a teaching and coaching position at St. Benedicts Prep. His teams in the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's were among the strongest in the state winning four state championships. He coached basketball at St. Benedicts until 1972 when the school closed. From 1973 to 1977 he taught and coached at Roselle Park High School. During this time the monks of St. Benedicts Prep reopened the school with 100 students. Jack was very active there leading their alumni association and assisting with fund raising. He was very energized by the School's recommitment to the young men of Newark. He was, after all, just like these students. Jack was still a kid from Newark. In 1977 he happily accepted an offer to return to teach and coach at St Benedicts. Two years later in 1980, his basketball team finished with a 22-4 record losing in the New Jersey State Championship semi-final game. St Benedict's basketball was back.
In 1991, he retired from coaching. In 2006, at age 80 he retired from teaching. One of Jack's favorite quotes "Every day is a great day for teaching." Jack Dalton was a great husband, father and grandfather, mentor, coach, teacher and leader who impacted the lives of many.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in Jack's name can be made to St. Benedict's Prep School, Newark NJ or
to St. Michael's Parish, Cranford, NJ.