LACKWOOD – In a strong show of support for one of the Cavaliers’ most beloved and respected former players, the team’s five-decade general managers attended Saturday’s funeral service for Jennifer Elguskas, wife of former center Zidronas Elguskas.
Jennifer Elgoskas, who adopted sons Davidas and Povilas of Zedronas, died on September 11 at the age of 50.
James’ Church in Lakewood included five current or former Caves senior basketball executives, led by Hall of Famer Wayne Embry, who spent 1986-99 as Cleveland’s head coach. Joining Embry is Danny Ferry, who played for the Caves from 1999-2000 and served as 2005-10 general manager, Chris Grant (2010-14), head of basketball operations Kobe Altman, who was appointed GM in 2017 and promoted in January, and Mike Gancy, who was promoted to GM in February.
Previous players in attendance included Anthony Parker, who played for the Caves from 2009 to 2012, and Anderson Fargao, who spent 13 seasons at Cleveland from 2004 to 2016 and in 2020-21. Vargau, who once said that Zydrunas Ilgauskas was like an older brother to him, acted as a coffin bearer.
The legend of Caves loses his wife:Jennifer Elgauskas, wife of Cleveland Cavaliers legend Zedronas Elgauskas, dies at 50
Mike Manchias, longtime coach of LeBron James who is now an athletics coach and athletic performance coordinator with the Los Angeles Lakers, also expressed his respect. When Ilgauskas retired the No. 11 jersey by the Cavs on March 8, 2014, James, and then with the Miami Heat, chartered a jet from Chicago to attend his best friend’s tribute.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas was formulated by Cavs 20The tenth Overall in 1996 he overcame serious foot injuries to become a two-time All-Star. He spent 12 seasons at Cleveland, Ilgauskas and James, who were drafted in 2003, and led the Cavs to the NBA Finals in 2007. Ilgauskas followed James to the Miami Heat in 2010 and played one season before retiring.
Jennifer Elgoskas has owned several businesses in Northeast Ohio — including Rebound Physical Therapy, North Olmsted Urgent Care, Lakewood Urgent Care, and Darbo Medical Billing Company — and has been a strong supporter of many charities.
Reverend Deogratias Rowinini, a resident priest in the Parish of St. Clement, preached his homily around the memorable phrase, “You are kind. You are smart. You are important, from the movie Help.”
Rwenini mentioned the words of Justin Weiss’ mother Jennifer Elguskás, who told him to “roll up your sleeves and find out, girl”.
“Jennifer, I was told, was very kind and loving. She nurtured and cherished her friendships and was always a role model,” he said, also noting her devotion to her husband and children.
There was no eulogy. Near the end of the mass, Ruaini asked Zidronas, Davidas, Povilas Ilguskas, and Weiss to turn around and face the mourners to thank them. Always a private person, Zydrunas Ilgauskas admitted the crowd with a small wave.
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Marla Ridenour can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MRidenourABJ.