Carpenter, coach, singer died Monday after battle with cancer

Last updated: June 28. 2014 3:50PM - 2127 Views
By Tony Callaio Sunday Dispatch Correspondent

Andy and JoAnn Griglock celebrating their 49th anniversary. Andy, who passed away Monday, left his mark on West Pittston.
Andy and JoAnn Griglock celebrating their 49th anniversary. Andy, who passed away Monday, left his mark on West Pittston.
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Barry P Finn -

“Many years ago a guy named Andy Griglock came into my life. I met him at the Little League in West Pittston. Over the next 20-years or so I got to know him quite well. He actually became a mentor of sorts. He yelled at me when I needed it, praised me when I earned it but most importantly he became my friend and my guiding influence. What a great influence he was on my life, especially my little league life. I learned so much from this gentle and caring man. I would go on to meet many guys who loved baseball and helping the youth of our area but none more deserving of my respect than Andy!”

Eddie Martin -

“Ninety percent of who I am is because of Andy. He told me when I screwed up and he told me when I did good.”

Frank DeAngelo -

“I spent two hours with him last summer watching a teeners All-Star game. We talked about all of the great players he had seen over the years, and changes in the game and in kids. One of a kind and irreplaceable in terms of what he did for kids to have a chance to play.”

Joanne Austin -

He was a wonderful man, heartfelt and caring. He loved God and his church and he will always be remembered for his kindness and magnetic personality!! My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Andy Griglock (son) -

“My father died peacefully in his sleep early this morning. He loved his family, children, baseball, comedy, music, food, and beer; he could fix anything (and I mean ANYTHING) and was larger-than-life ALL his life. He was kind to everyone he met, was loved and respected by everyone who knew him. He was the perfect dad.”

He was a true Renaissance man. He was a carpenter by trade. He was a singer by night. He was a leader. He was an innovator. He was the king of baseball. But what he was the most … was loved by many and loved by all. Andy Griglock: husband, dad, and grandfather, passed away Monday, June 23 after a battle with cancer.

Many who knew Andy knew him to be a fair man with outstanding morals. He was a spiritual man. Everyone in West Pittston knew he was a true baseball man helping every child he could in the name of the game.

Griglock was a carpenter by trade but deep down inside, he was the Commissioner of Baseball. He served at the President of West Pittston Little League for many years including a very tough year when the League had to decide to sell the community pool that it owned.

“It was a tough decision to make,” his widow JoAnn said. “It was either sell the pool to the Borough, which kept the pool alive for over 23-years after, or it would have been let go.” Griglock wanted to keep the pool alive for the children.

“Andy was a student of the game,” said Eddie Martin, fellow baseball administrator and former opposing coach. “He’d call me up and tell me to put something on TV he was watching regarding baseball. He did anything to improve his knowledge of the game. I think after awhile, Andy knew more that the professional coaches.”

Griglock along with Fred DeSanto created a Challenger League for children with disabilities. Since the inception of the league in Greater Pittston, it has been adopted at Williamsport and is now International.

“He was instrumental in getting the Junior/Senior league started,” JoAnn said. “The older kids over 12 didn’t have a place to go after Little League.”

Through his involvement with Little League, he became an Assistant District Administrator, District 16/31 reporting to Bristol, Connecticut. A lot of policymaking in Little League is often made there before eventually being made a law or rule with Little League in Williamsport.

In total, Andy had been involved Little League for 50 of his 68-years. In his passing, all leagues will be flying their flags at half-mast for the duration of the playoff tournaments in his honor.

Sean Carroll, a friend of the family and a friend in baseball said it best: “Andy got it… he knew we were not making better baseball players, but we were making better people.”

Griglock was a huge fan of his granddaughter Alexandra Holtz. Alex graduated from Wyoming Area in 2013 after playing all four of her varsity years as the ace pitcher for the Warriors. “He always had something to tell me after the game,” Alex said. “I never looked for Banta (his grandfather’s nickname), I just knew he was there.”

Banta was a nickname Andy loved to hear, especially from all children.

Andy’s daughter Christine Holtz would often work with her dad in construction. “I can remember him telling me during a roofing job, ‘I learned you don’t go up the ladder empty-handed,’” Christine recalled with a chuckle. “I’ll never forget that.”

Griglock’s love, besides his family and baseball, was singing. He and JoAnn were a part of the Spark Gospel Singers. Prior to that, the duo sang in the church choir. Andy also was a long-time member of the Wyoming Valley Barbershop Quartet. One of his proudest moments was singing back up to recording star, Josh Groban, according to JoAnn.

The Boy Scouts was another passion for Andy, serving with Troop #352 at the First United Methodist Church in West Pittston for over 30-years. He served as a longtime committee member and father of two scouts.

Griglock was the father of DawnMarie Crake and her husband, Matt, Andrew D. Griglock and his wife, Trish, Christine Holtz and her husband, Jeff, and Thomas Griglock and his wife, Angela. He had five grandchildren, Samantha, Sarah, Alexandra, Ethan and Christopher.

Eddie Martin summed up Griglock by telling a story of when his team faced Andy’s team in a game. While Martin’s team was on defense, Andy called a time out. “I wasn’t sure what he was doing, but he went to the mound and approached my pitcher,” Martin said. “The next thing I knew, he was showing my player how to use better technique when throwing the ball … that was Andy.”

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