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DePaul Basketball Loses Alum and Veteran Joe Demkovich



DePaul Athletics recently learned of the passing of men's basketball alum Joe Demkovich. After playing on a state championship team at Morton High School, Demkovich attended DePaul University where he played with some of best in Blue Demon History, playing with NBA veterans: George Mikan, Ed Mikan, Eugene Stump and Jack Phelan. The Blue Demons amassed a record of 56-17 while Demkovich was a member of the DePaul squad.

His bio in DePaul's Media guide prior to his freshman season said:

"A great traveler in the Army Air Transport Command for the last three years, Joe is a strapping six-feet, 200-pound young man who saw Cairo, Athens, Yalta, Marsaille, Tunis and Malta, while in the pursuance of his Army duties. Joe, who speaks fluent Russian, is a member of a family of nine, and is one of six brothers that are proficient in basketball and baseball. A hard driving, rugged ball player, his greatest thrill was being a member of the Morton High School's State Champions in 1940-41.

Several years ago, DePaul sent copies of the media guides from the 1940s to all its letterwinners. In one of the guides, Demkovich's bio said he flew President Roosevelt to Europe. In testament to Demkovich's humility, his wife Jean called and corrected the report saying, "Joe didn't want anybody to get the wrong idea that he was taking credit for something he didn't do"

His obituary tells the story, "Mr. Demkovich enlisted in the Army Air Corps and was a P-38 Lightning Fighter pilot. He was a lieutenant in the First Fighter Wing 27th Fighter Squadron and escorted numerous bombing missions out of Foggia, Italy. Joe was awarded the Air Medal with Clusters. In 1945, he flew escort for President Roosevelt to the Yalta Conference."

His obituary tells the story of a well-rounded man that had many fabulous experiences.

DePaul Athletics Salutes Joe Demkovich

Joe Demkovich - April 02, 1923-July 22, 2009
Joseph P "Puggy" Demkovich, 86, a resident of Albuquerque since 1971, passed away Wednesday, July 22, 2009. He is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Jean, children, Clay and Joanie See, Joe Demkovich and Laurie Vogel, Rev Michael Demkovich O.P., Eloy and Marykay Gutierrez; grandchildren, Jonathan See and Genevieve, Cecily and Avalon Gutierrez (all of Albuquerque); sister, Helene Hruska of Boulder, CO and brother Tony Demkovich of Lombard, IL, and numerous nieces and nephews and friends. Joe was a devout Roman Catholic and a past member of Holy Name Society, Sierra Club, Lobo Athletics Booster Club, St. Joseph's Hospital Board and was active in the Charlie Pride Golf Tournament where he played golf with Mike Ditka and Terry Bradshaw. Joe attended Morton High School in Cicero, IL, where he was a member of the State Championship basketball team of 1941. He then attended DePaul University on a basketball scholarship where he played for Coach Ray Meyer and was teammates of George and Ed Mikan. Mr. Demkovich enlisted in the Army Air Corps and was a P-38 Lightning Fighter pilot. He was a lieutenant in the First Fighter Wing 27th Fighter Squadron and escorted numerous bombing missions out of Foggia, Italy. Joe was awarded the Air Medal with Clusters. In 1945, he flew escort for President Roosevelt to the Yalta Conference. Mr. Demkovich later worked for IBM in Chicago, Indianapolis, Oklahoma City and was transferred to Albuquerque as Branch Manager where he retired. Because he was fluent in Russian, Joe was one of the interpreters for Khrushchev's party when Mr. Khrushchev visited IBM in San Jose, CA. Family and friends were especially important to Joe, he truly valued these relationships, wanting everyone to join in his adventures. He took great pleasure in teaching investments at the Bear Canyon Senior Center and published investment articles. Joe was a member of Four Hills Country Club for 33 years where golfing was his joy in life. He played with the New Mexico State Seniors and won his "cherished" green jacket. He also enjoyed tennis, skiing, fishing, sailing, traveling, painting, wood-working and was an avid spectator of many sports. Joe was a great husband, wonderful father, amazing grandfather and a fun-loving guy. 

http://obits.abqjournal.com/obits/2009/07/26