News / People

Lubar remembered for his love of the game

A 21-year-old student at the University of Denver died on Feb. 11 from head injuries he sustained in a ski accident at Copper Mountain Ski Resort on Jan. 25.

Joseph Rochford Lubar, of Fox Point, Wis., was a junior at DU. He was an economics major and a starting pitcher for DU’s club baseball team.

He died at St. Anthony Central Hospital in Denver. He was in the trauma center after suffering serious brain injuries and broken bones. Lubar was skiing with friends when he lost control on a double black diamond run at the Summit County resort and fell over a 50-foot cliff, according to reports. He first was taken to a hospital in Summit County then was transferred to St. Anthony Central Hospital. His teammates rushed to be with him when he arrived at St. Anthony’s.

Doctors consulted with the family throughout last week and ultimately decided to disconnect life support Thursday afternoon. Lubar died the following morning.

Lubar was the grandson of prominent Milwaukee philanthropist Sheldon Lubar.

The funeral was held Monday at Congregational Sinai in Lubar’s hometown of Fox Point.

Lubar’s teammates, sophomore Anthony Zurcher and senior Tommy Appert along with head coach Jared Floyd and manager Marissa Yandall, attended the funeral.

“Joe was the kind of kid everyone looked up to, the kid everyone wanted to be friends with,” says Zurcher. “He was a leader and always will be a winner.”

“Not only was he a great teammate and friend, but an all-around great kid,” says Appert. “He was a stud, he had everything going for him. We’re going to miss him both on and off the field.”

Lubar’s family has a long association with professional baseball, which teammates say was reflected in his passion for the DU club team.

Lubar’s father serves on the advisory board and finance committee of the Milwaukee Brewers, and both of his parents are investors of the team.

“He was one of the hardest workers on the team,” says Ryan Woods, a senior at DU and the president and captain of the club baseball team. “He always came to practice and was dedicated to improving the team. He really loved the game of baseball and was always giving his all to the team and the sport.”

Woods specifically recalls a fond moment in Lubar’s career that occurred last year in a loss to the University of Arizona. Lubar provided the Pioneers’ two hits in the game even though he was a pitcher and only had a dozen or so at-bats throughout the season.

Woods remembers his fallen teammate as the ultimate competitor.

“I want to win — that’s the only reason I play this game,” Lubar said in an e-mail to his teammates and coach last season. “I’m sick of losing and seeing us give up way too easily, it’s just pathetic and looks like some guys just don’t want to be out there.

“I still have a lot of faith in this team, because I think we have a lot of talent but we got to pull it together and play like a team. I’m more than willing to work hard and I know I’m going to play as hard as I can this weekend and throw a great game. Winning is all that matters so let’s get it done.”

He is survived by his parents, Madeleine Kelly Lubar and David Lubar, his sister Hannah, brother Patrick, grandparents Marianne and Sheldon Lubar and Patricia Reagan, and many aunts, uncles and cousins.

The baseball team is hosting a fundraiser at 9 a.m. on Saturday in memory of Lubar, or “Lubey” as many of his teammates called him. The fundraiser will be held at CrossFit Conquer, a gym where the team usually works out. The gym is located at 1137 South Huron St. in Denver. The team is asking for $5 donations and all proceeds will go to the Lubar family.

In addition to the fundraiser, his teammates will sell T-shirts in Lubar’s memory. The shirts will have No. 9 — the number he wore — on the right arm. The back reads, “Never stop fighting, Never stop believing.” Contact team member Vinnie Girardi to make a donation or to purchase a shirt.

For additional stories about Lubar, visit: The Clarion, Denver Business Journal, The Denver Post,,  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

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