Jack Scharff, Sr., boxing

Jack Gordon Scharff, Sr.

This photo is an absolute treasure to me; my sister brought it to me this fall after a visit with our grandfather, Jack Scharff, who still lives in Memphis TN, where this photo was taken. I had no idea that my grandfather had ever had an interest in boxing.

He told my sister that he was about 15 years old when this photo was shot, and that he boxed some in high school, but actually did more wrestling than boxing. I think he also wrestled in college.

My mother describes her dad as a daredevil. I can remember reading a book called Peruvian Rambles, which was written by my great-grandather Abe Scharff to document his time adventuring in Peru with Jack, who was 17 at the time. I loved the scene where they woke up to find their feet all bloody from where the vampire bats had feasted on them like giant mosquitos in the night.

My grandfather was also a pilot in the Army Air Corps, and when he was stationed in Germany his job was to fly up and down a portion of the Rhine River to keep watch on it.  He told my mother that his plane got shot at more than once.  His plane was not armed, but he had been issued a sidearm…not that it would do much good.  He was able to remove the seat from his plane and replace it with a more substantial one which was a little better at stopping the bullets which penetrated the shell of his plane.

When I still lived in Memphis he was in his sixties and getting up at 5 am every morning to play racquetball. He taught me just how bad at racquetball I really am, and there are plenty of witnesses to testify.

, , , , , , , ,

13 Responses to Jack Gordon Scharff, Sr.

  1. Mom December 19, 2009 at 8:36 pm #

    I sent this post to Grandaddy who said he was pleased to see it! He told me that he was about thirteen years old in this picture and while boxing, won the Golden Gloves award at about that time. He also boxed after he went away to school in high school and college, but did more wrestling than boxing.

  2. David Jones December 6, 2010 at 2:22 pm #

    What a treasure to discover this photo and info! Your grandfather has been such a family friend. My late parents, David W. Jones & Frances Bledsoe Jones both worked at Model Laundry Cleaners and that is where they met. They married in 1940. My mother was first Abe Scharff’s executive secretary then Jack Sr’s for many years. I think she started working there around 1938. We spent many cherished weekends with them at Pickwick Lake. I last saw Jack Sr. and Jack Jr. this past October at my Mother’s funeral.

    I had no idea of his boxing or of his war experience. Thank you so much!

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe December 6, 2010 at 4:23 pm #

      Your mother always knew my name when I came to visit or phoned my Grandaddy Scharff at Kraus Model. She treated me like a cherished grandaughter, and always made me feel welcomed.

      Thank you so much for stopping by here and commenting.

  3. Angie Stephens March 5, 2011 at 4:32 am #

    Lisa, what fun finding this blog post and photo! That’s a great shot of Jack, and if you played raquetball with him in his 60s, then I am very impressed. He still gets up at 5 am and plays most mornings, and has not slowed down a bit. I remember you and your sister going to the Mid-South Fair with my sister and I, Jack, my Grandparents and my parents and your mom. I don’t know if you remember those fair days, but wow I sure looked forward to it every year! I got to see your mom at Jen’s wedding reception party in Memphis, and loved seeing her. It’s been forever. I hope you are well, and your blog site looks like a good read: I’ll have to explore further! XOXO, Angie (Spilka) Stephens

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe March 7, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

      Hi, Angie! Of course I remember you. And your sister Carrie, and your mom Jocelyn, and Bob and Carolyn — I think Jack brought Terri along with us for one or two of those years, although I don’t recall my Mom ever going — but my main memories involve us three girls mostly; it was like we were in a brightly-lit, fairy tale world of our own. How could I forget? Those State Fair holidays were a major highlight of my growing-up years. I remember them with deep pleasure — even learning to NOT be terrified of riding the Zippin’ Pippin over in Liberty Land. (Please tell me that rickety old thing is long out of service.)

      How perfectly wonderful to hear from you again; I can’t wait to connect with you again and hear what you’ve been doing all these years. Thank you so much for dropping by here and leaving a comment to let me know how you are. I’ll look forward to talking with you again.

  4. Judith Welden Wilson December 1, 2011 at 3:45 am #

    This is so strange..My mother was Olga Scharff Welden and I guess we are cousins in some way. I used to have a copy of Granddaddy’s book and I will look for it;…..but I was told Uncle Jack still had one. Do all or any of you still live in Memphis? I have been living in CA for over 30 years. Uncle Jack and my mom look like twins as they aged..My mom died in 2000, but she loved here little brother, Jack, fiercely! And they both look a lot like Grandaddy, I adored Muv and had such a remarkable relationship with her growing up.

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe December 1, 2011 at 10:53 am #

      Hi, Judith — I’m so glad to hear from you. Yes, I suppose we are cousins, although it’s probably a bit complicated. 🙂

      I imagine Jack, Jr. or Tommy Scharff have a copy of Peruvian Rambles… I would enjoy reading that again. I was just sure my mother (Jack Sr’s daughter) had a copy but neither of us can find it anywhere.

      I can remember meeting Muv at least once in that grand house in Memphis. I couldn’t have been older than 6 or 7 years old. It’s been years since I visited Memphis, but Grandaddy Scharff, Jack Jr., Tommy, and several other family members still live there. My mother (MaryEllen Scharff Creech) and father live here in NC where I am now, and my sister is in CA.

      I’m so pleased you found this and connected!

      • Lisa Creech Bledsoe December 1, 2011 at 10:57 am #

        Judith I completely forgot to tell you: there’s a photo account online that Angie Stephens has put up of some of Grandaddy’s photos. She got permission to go through some of his closets and get the pictures online. And there’s your mom on the very first page!


  5. Joanna May 16, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

    Jack was my neighbor on Philwood for about 4 years!! What a sweet, sweet grandfather you have! I live in Chicago now, but saw him about a year ago when I came back to visit Memphis. Please send him my love and a pat on the head for Dude, too! 🙂 So glad I found this post. Love the picture! He looks just the same, really!!

  6. Crista Orefice September 9, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

    This is so cool that your grandfather was also a boxer, Lisa!! Doesn’t it make your involvement in boxing that much more meaningful? I know it does for me!! See…it IS in the blood!! 😉

  7. Taylor Gilliland November 9, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

    Hi Lisa,
    My grandmother Mary Jo Beloate worked there from 1955 to 1958. We went looking for it today and she couldn’t believe it was still there. She said she loved working there.

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe November 10, 2014 at 8:59 am #

      Hi, Taylor — How cool. So glad you took the time to comment and share that with me. Would you believe Jack Sr. is still going in to work every day? It’s true as I post this! I’m not sure of his age (I’ll ask my mother), but I think he’s 90 or 92. He’s an inspiration.

  8. Jonathan Abraham Welden April 6, 2018 at 8:25 pm #

    What a great piece. Thank you for this. Abe was my great uncle and my namesake. The Scharff’s are a wonderful family and I am proud to call them family.

Leave a Reply