• John Charles Diaz
  • 82 years old
  • Lived in Germantown
  • Played in many local theater productions

More Memorials

John Charles Diaz loved the arts.

Blessed with a resonating stage voice and a dashing physical presence, he relished the roles he played in community theater productions at Stagecrafters Theater and Allens Lane Art Center. He performed in Don Juan in Hell, Curse of the Starving Class, Sticks and Bones, A Runner Stumbles, A Doll’s House, Catch-22, Little Murders, and Little Alice.

“We used to practice the lines with him,” said daughter Christina. “It was fun.”

He also loved jazz, so much that he’d tune to it each night on the radio and let it carry him off to sleep at his Germantown home.

Mr. Diaz, 82, died at Lankenau Medical Center on Friday, April 3, of complications from the coronavirus. He had battled chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Mr. Diaz developed his love of jazz in New York City, where he was born and raised. He regaled his family with stories of seeing the trumpeter Miles Davis live on a weekly basis as he was growing up.

In 1958 and 1959, he earned two engineering degrees from Columbia University. After jobs in Tennessee and California, he moved to Philadelphia in 1966, and four years later took over his father’s import/export business in Central America.

In 1978, he became general manager of Day & Frick, a Philadelphia manufacturer of vitamins and supplements. He landed his dream job in 1986 when he became physical plant director at Haverford College, supervising construction and renovations on campus until retiring in 2009.

But it was the visual and performing arts that moved Mr. Diaz. He in turn passed along that passion to his children and grandchildren.

He attended contemporary and interdisciplinary theater, screened films at International House, and was interested in innovative programs for playwrights.

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his wife, Pamela Kerr; daughters Lisa Riegel and Cymantha Liakos; son Austin; and nine grandchildren. His first wife, Catherine Ericson, from whom he was divorced, died in 2006.

A memorial service is delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic will be held later.

— Bonnie L. Cook