Joseph "Jake" Salafia
January 5, 2021
Joseph "Jake" Salafia, husband of Shirley (Stevens) Salafia, and son of the late Joseph and Carmelina (Carta) Salafia, passed away on January 5, 2021. Jake was predeceased by his brother, Sebastian and Salvatore and by sisters, Lucy Rustic and Josephine Heath. Jake grew up in the Hillside Avenue neighborhood in Middletown. He graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1947, where he had been captain of the track team and co-captain of the 1946 State Championship Football Team. Jake was drafted in to the Army in 1950 and served with the 1st Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas.
Jake returned to Connecticut and received his Bachelors of Science in History from Central CT State University. While at CCSU, Jake earned letters in football and track. Jake began teaching in Cromwell in 1956 and began coaching cross country in 1958. Jake became the Cromwell High School (CHS) head basketball coach in 1962, the same year he received his Master's Degree from Springfield College. Jake coached basketball for 25 years, compiling a 445-118 record. Jake's basketball teams won seven State Championships, five of which were consecutive years. Jake's basketball teams made it to the State Finals eleven times. Jake's 1970-71 basketball, track and cross country teams each won the Class S State Championship. Jake's cross country teams won seven State Championships. Jake also coached tennis for four years and volleyball for three years. Jake was the Athletic Director at CHS for 20 years and was a co-director of the Fundamental Basketball Camp for 25 years.
Jake has received many athletic awards: Connecticut Sports Writers Gold Key Award 2004-2005, Central Connecticut Alumni Association Hall of Fame 2000, New Haven Register Award for the first coach to win five consecutive CT Basketball Championships. He has also been inducted in the Middletown Sports Hall of Fame, the National High School Coaches Hall of Fame and the Connecticut High School Coaches Hall of Fame. The ultimate award was having the new Cromwell High School Gymnasium dedicated in his name.
Jake also enjoyed spending time at Lake Ossipee, skiing, playing tennis, swimming, gardening, and reading to his grandchildren. Most of all, Jake enjoyed spending time with his family. Jake is survived by his wife, Shirley, his daughter, Linda Werner-Gerner and her husband Eric Gerner and their children, Alicia, Alec, Olivia, Grace and Luke; his son, Joe; his son, Steve and his wife Trisha, and their children, Isaiah, Cali and Cheyenne; his daughter, Lisa and her husband Michael White and their daughter, Faye; and his brother, Albert Salafia and his wife, Doreen. Also, many nieces and nephews.
Graveside services with military honors, will be held Friday (Jan. 8th) at 11 a.m. at Calvary Cemetery, Bow Lane, Middletown. There are no calling hours. A Celebration of his Life will be held at a future date. Those who wish may send memorial donations to Leukemia And Lymphoma Society, PO Box 4072, Pittsfield, MA 01202 or the Connecticut Humane Society, 701 Russell Rd., Newington, CT 06111.
To share memories or express condolences online please visit www.biegafuneralhome.com.
the Middletown Press - January 7, 2021
"I still take walks. I just don't go as far as I used to."
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