John Michael "Gutch" Kustich
The following appeared in today's Cleveland Plain Dealer. John Kraljic
John Kustich, starred at East Tech
Richard M. Peery
Plain Dealer Reporter
Independence- John Michael "Gutch" Kustich, a 12-letter athlete at East
Technical High School during the 1940s, died Friday at Cleveland Clinic
Kustich played on the football, basketball and baseball teams during his
high school years. He graduated in 1946 and played minor league baseball
for a number of years. At 6 feet 4, he was tall for an athlete of his
era and was known as "Big Wheel."
Kustich later was a supervisor at Republic Steel Corp. until he retired
in the 1980s. Then Kustich, who was of Croatian descent, and his wife,
Caroline, visited Slovenia and Italy.
Kustich, 75, was born in Cleveland. He played first base in the
Cleveland Indi ans farm sys tem. He en tered the Army and played on a
team with Hall of Fame great Willie Mays at Ft. Eustis, Va. After his
discharge, Kustich played with the Brooklyn Dodgers farm team in
Hagerstown, Md., and the Boston Red Sox farm team in Morristown, Tenn.
He kept his hand in athletics as a bowler with a 200 average. He also
volunteered to help his son, John M. Jr., coach baseball at Cleveland
Central Catholic High School.
Kustich lived in Garfield Heights for many years and more recently in
Besides his wife and son, who lives in Seven Hills, he is survived by
daughters, Linda O'Neill of Independence, Kathy Pruchnicki of
Strongsville and Karen of Cincinnati; four grandchildren, and two
Services will be at 11 a.m. today at St Monica Catholic Church, 13623
Rockside Rd., Garfield Heights.
Ferfolia Funeral Home in Sagamore Hills handled arrangements.
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