We would like to send our L.O.V.E. and condolences to Mr. Branca and his entire family at this time of loss.
MJ FANS: If you wish to make a donation in memory of John Branca's FATHER, Mr. John R. Branca, we might suggest the American Heart Association, which can be found here.
Brother of famed Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher dies
By LINDA DEUTSCH (AP) – 5 days ago
LOS ANGELES — John R. Branca, brother of famed Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca and father of prominent entertainment lawyer John Branca, who is co-executor of Michael Jackson's estate, has died, his family said Thursday.
John R. Branca was a former New York state assemblyman and retired New York Athletic Commission chairman. He dedicated most of his life to teaching and coaching high school sports teams.
He died July 17 of vascular disease in Boca Raton, Fla., where he retired in the late 1980s, his family announced in Los Angeles. He was 86.
John R. Branca spent most of his life in Mount Vernon, N.Y. He was one of 17 children in an Italian-American family and was 18 months older than brother Ralph.
Family members say John was his brother's most vocal defender when Ralph was called out for giving up the "Shot Heard 'Round the World" to Bobby Thomson to put the New York Giants in the 1951 World Series. It was revealed a half-century later that the Giants installed a telescope-and-buzzer system at the Polo Grounds to spy on catcher's signals. But Thomson insisted he wasn't tipped off to the fastball he hit from Ralph Branca.
John R. Branca was great brother and friend and was "always on my side," Ralph Branca said in a statement.
He aspired to be a baseball player too, but his dreams were interrupted by World War II.
John R. Branca was invited to try out for the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants but went to war in the Pacific instead and once pitched a no-hitter for the U.S. Army Air Corps team, his family said.
When he returned home, he received an undergraduate and master's degree from New York University and turned to teaching and coaching at Mount Vernon Edison High School. As Mount Vernon recreation commissioner, he developed programs for the disabled and elderly that were cited by President Kennedy as a model for other communities.
Branca served as a state assemblyman from 1980 to 1984, and was later appointed New York State Athletic Commission chairman. In that role, he brought championship boxing back to Madison Square Garden and instituted national reforms in the sport.
His son, John G. Branca, became a top entertainment attorney and represented Michael Jackson throughout Jackson's life. He is now co-administering the Jackson estate. He has also represented the Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys and currently represents Carlos Santana.
John R. Branca also is survived by his wife, Mildred, and children William J. Branca and Angela Guerra.
A memorial is being planned at Forest Lawn in Glendale, Calif., the same cemetery were Jackson is buried.
Source: Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.