Buffalo, NY—The flags at Buffalo Mud are at half mast as we mourn the unexpected passing of South Buffalo legend Jack Conrad.
I first became aware of Jack from the neighborhood and Stingray football at Okell Field in the early 70’s, but it wasn’t until high school when he transferred from Timon to South Park that I really got to know him. We sat at the same lunch table and we played on the Spark baseball team. Jack was a pitcher and his lively arm was a welcome addition to our pedestrian rotation. But there was more to Jack than just throwing a baseball, and it was evident from the moment you met him—he was a character. Loud, outspoken, kind hearted, inappropriate, exasperating and freaking hilarious—a character. A high South Buffalo honor.
I lost track of Jack after high school except for occasionally seeing him at Caz Golf Course on a few select Sunday nights at 6pm when I tried to get a quick nine in for five bucks. By that time of day Jack was surrounded by empty pitchers of beer, all red-faced with his car backed up in front of the clubhouse blaring his beloved Jackson Browne. You know, just being the character known as Jack Conrad.
The arrival of social media made it possible to connect with Jack again. Not much had changed—he was still the same vexing and lovable Jack: bitching about a Grubhub driver who went to his side door despite getting explicit instructions to go to the back door. Or in a post describing a neighbor as an “asshole” for the way he cleared the snow with his snowblower. And who could forget his unflinching support of Nathan Peterman as the Bills starting quarterback, even after the former Pitt Panther threw five first-half interceptions in his 2018 NFL debut.
In all, Jack was the subject of ten Buffalo Mud articles. In the beginning, when I had an idea for a post I would ask if he was alright with it because not everyone likes having the Mud style of fun poked at them. He told me flat out— “You never have to ask, I love this.” Then he proceeded to inform me about a woman who stopped him in Wegmans and asked: “Are you that guy from the Buffalo Mud articles?” That’s also what was endearing about Jack, he was always in on the joke even when it was at his expense, especially when it was at his expense.
So let us take a moment of silence to honor the son, brother, father, friend Jack was as he passes on to his next destination. South Buffalo and the world is a little less colorful, less rich with him gone.
Deepest condolences to the entire Conrad family.
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