Alphonse G. JarusMay 11, 1917 ~ June 11, 2021 (age 104)
Alphonse G. Jarus
A great dad, husband, friend, and entertainer
Alphonse “Al” Jarus, 104, of Cheshire, formerly of Waterbury, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his loved ones, on Friday, June 11, 2021, at MidState Medical Center in Meriden. He was the devoted husband of Evelyn (Valuskas) Jarus for 57 years until her passing in 2006.
Born on May 11, 1917, to Lithuanian immigrants Tekla (Paulius) and Jurgis Jarusevicius, Al was raised in the Brooklyn section of the city and attended St. Joseph School and Church, where he performed with the Lithuanian choir and formed a six-man band called The Young Melodians. He was also among the singers and dancers who performed for Lithuania Day at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. Al played baseball for St. Joe’s, and made the varsity basketball team in his freshman year at Crosby High School, but played for just one season because Saturday night games conflicted with his musical endeavors.
After high school, he went to work in the brass mills until World War II when he was called to serve in the U.S. Army Air Force. During his military service, he was appointed Technical Sergeant of the IV Corps Infantry Band, entertaining the troops stateside and later in the Philippines and Japan, alongside such celebrities as Red Skelton, Danny Kaye and Gary Moore.
Following the war, he married his sweetheart Evie, whom he had met in the choir at St. Joseph. He attended Post College and started a career at the Savings & Loan Association of Waterbury, which later became American Bank. He worked there for 35 years, first as Loan Officer, then as Seymour Branch Manager, and finally as Treasurer, before retiring in 1982. Al was often approached by Waterbury residents who wanted to express their gratitude for his assistance in acquiring loans for their homes and businesses.
But, really, Al was a musician who just happened to work in a bank. He continued to play trumpet and sing, first with his own band The Melodians, then at the Actors Colony in Derby for 13 years, and in bands with other notable local musicians including Carl Berg, Champ Siconolfi, Ted Grohoski, Israel “Goldie” Goldberg, and Vic Fuda. He helped make musical memories at countless wedding receptions, anniversary celebrations, and dances, and played “Taps” for many Veterans Day ceremonies on the Waterbury Green. Al also truly loved singing with the Waterbury Chorale through his 90s and well past his 100th birthday.
He was a longtime member of the musicians union, AFM Local 186, as well as the Knights of Lithuania Council 7. He was also an enthusiastic student at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UConn Waterbury, where he especially enjoyed performing in cabaret shows and Veterans Day celebrations.
Al and Evie made a loving home in Town Plot for their three children, Tom Jarus of Cheshire, Ellen Jarus Hanley (husband Scott Hanley) of Milldale, and Alan Jarus of New York City; and grandchildren Alexis Hanley (fiancé Sebastian Harris) of San Francisco, and Thomas Jarus Jr. (spouse Josh Hartmann) of Boston. They, along with Al's extended family, brother-in-law Edward Valuskas and his wife Bette of Waterbury; nephew Francis Rodgers and his wife Mary Ellen of Rhode Island; nieces Anita Rodgers of Waterbury, Valerie Rodgers and her husband Bob O’Sullivan of Torrington, Janice Valuskas of Waterbury, and Marcey Valuskas Tweedie and her husband Bill of Southbury; former daughter-in-law Maureen D. Jarus of New York City; and honorary son Anas Abouzaid of New York City; and his many friends and acquaintances, are grateful for all the love, music, corny jokes, hugs, and smiles that he constantly brought into their lives.
He is surely happy to reunite with loved ones who predeceased him: his sisters Vincenta and Natalie, his infant brother John, and his sister-in-law Agnes (Valuskas) Rodgers and her husband Tony.
Al lived and worked in Waterbury for most of his 104 years, and was very proud to be named the city’s Lithuanian Mayor for the Day in 1994, and extremely honored to serve a second “term” in 2017, the year of his centenary. At the time of his passing, he was enjoying life at Elim Park Place in Cheshire, where he had resided since 2016.
There was no stopping Al, even into his mid- to late-90s when he traveled with his family to Lithuania (twice!), traversed the U.S. by train (twice!), cruised to Bermuda, and attended the Lithuanian song and folk dance festivals in Boston, Chicago and Vilnius. Al loved people and made friends everywhere he went.
Calling hours will be held at Colasanto Funeral Home, 932 Bank St., Waterbury, on Friday, June 18, from 5 to 7 p.m., and on Saturday, June 19, from 8:30 a.m. until the funeral procession to St. Joseph Church, 46 Congress Ave., Waterbury, where a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Burial will follow in Mount Olivet Cemetery, 669 Platt Rd., Watertown. Donations in Al’s name may be made to Camp Neringa, 147 Nering Rd., Brattleboro, VT 05301 (www.neringa.org). For online condolences, please visit www.colasanto.com.
147 Nering Rd., Brattleboro VT 05301