John K. Doldoorian, Sr., of Whitinsville, passed away on Friday, July 10. He was born April 26, 1930 in Whitinsville, the son of Soukias (Oscar) and Serpoohi (Zeroogian) Doldoorian.
John graduated from Northbridge High School in 1949, where he was an outstanding three-sport athlete, captaining the football, basketball and baseball teams during his senior year. Upon graduation, he attended Marianapolis Prep, in Thompson, CT for one year. He then received an athletic scholarship to American International College (AIC) where he continued his exemplary athletic career, continuing to play three sports. He was named the Outstanding Freshman Athlete of AIC in 1951. Additionally, during his senior year at AIC he was Little All-American in football, and he was named the Outstanding Athlete of the Graduating Class of 1954 at AIC. He was later named to the AIC All-Time Football Team, and was inducted into the AIC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011.
During his senior year at AIC, John was drafted by the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League, and he was also drafted that year by the Chicago White Sox of Major League Baseball. After signing with the Packers and reporting to training Camp, he suffered a knee injury that ended his time at Green Bay. He was later signed by the Chicago Cardinals of the NFL, but another knee injury ended his professional career.
He returned to Whitinsville in the Fall of 1955, where he became a teacher and coach at Northbridge High School. As a teacher, he taught many subjects, but the fondest memories came from his years as the school's Driver Education Teacher. At one point, it seemed as though he had taught the entire town how to drive. "Coach D", as he was known at the school, became the Head Football Coach, the Varsity Boys' Basketball Coach, the Varsity Girls' Basketball Coach, and the Varsity Baseball Coach during his tenure at NHS. He was Northbridge High School's Athletic Director for many years, and he served on the MIAA Sports Medicine Committee.
His career led to many honors, including, but not limited to being inducted into: the Northbridge High School Hall of Fame in its inaugural class, the Massachusetts Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1992, and the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009. He was also named the 1989-1990 Central Massachusetts Athletic Director of the Year and received the prestigious Paul N. Johnson Memorial Award in 2006.
Upon retiring in 1991, after 34 years of teaching and coaching, he became a professional baseball scout for the St. Louis Cardinals, and later became a scout for the Chicago White Sox, a position he held until 2015
John was known for his quick wit and the many stories he had to tell. He was like a historian of all athletic happenings of the 1940's, 50's, and 60's in the Blackstone Valley, He played for the Whitin Machine Works in the old Blackstone Valley League, becoming one of the youngest players to ever play in the league. He also played semi-pro softball for Front Page Cigar in Western Massachusetts. He was an avid sportsman: a hunter and fisherman, loving both fresh and saltwater fishing.
One of John's favorite and dearest associations was with the Clark Tournament. His association with "The Clark" spanned approximately 50 years as a committee member. He was also a past President and Secretary of the tournament, and he was the Floor Director for many years.
In the most recent years, the Northbridge Senior Center became a daily part of his life. A member of their board, he would drive to the Center for lunch, meetings, and storytelling, enjoying the company of staff and members alike.
"Coach D" is survived by two sons and their wives; John K. Doldoorian, Jr., and his wife, Lynne, of Whitinsville, and Robert M. Doldoorian, and his wife, Elizabeth, of Brimfield. He is also survived by his grandchildren: Danyelle, Keri, Kirsten, and Joseph Doldoorian, and Michael and James Kiritsy, and a great granddaughter, Adeline Kiritsy.
The Carr Funeral Home, 24 Hill Street, Whitinsville, is assisting John's family with funeral arrangements. Calling Hours will be 4-7pm, Tuesday, July 14, in the Funeral Home. Coach's Funeral Service will be held at 10am, Wednesday, July 15, in the Village Congregational Church, 5 Church Street, Whitinsville. Burial will follow in Pine Grove Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to the Northbridge Senior Center, 20 Highland Street, Whitinsville, MA, 01588.
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