By Tim Grobaty, Long Beach Press Telegram
They were stars from the old days at St. Anthony, the 1940s and 1950s: Jack Senske, one of the key players of the 1949 Saints football team that won the CIF championship, with B.I. Mais and Johnny Olszewski, and his youngest brother Bob, who excelled in baseball, golf and sailing.
Jack died on Aug. 11 after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s. He was 86. Bob died suddenly on Wednesday from a heart attack suffered after knee surgery. He was 80.
Mais recalls the early 1940s when he and Jack Senske would roam the wild and open west side of Long Beach around the alphabetized streets east of Santa Fe. There were large fields of strawberries and vegetables, a turkey farm, and pastures of cows and horses. Above it all were barrage balloons tethered nearby the oil fields to protect the Texaco refinery from aerial attack by the Japanese.
The Senskes lived on Baltic Avenue, the Maises two blocks away on Delta Avenue. “Jack was the oldest, and his three younger brothers all wanted to be like him, so we all hung out together,” said Mais. “We spent a lot of time at Silverado Park playing sports.”