John B. Coakley
Published in The Daily
Gazette Co. on February 19, 2012
Mr. John B. Coakley,
86, of Ballston Spa, passed away February 17, 2012 following a brief illness.
A former longtime Gloversville resident, Mr. Coakley was born in Washington
D.C., son of the late Frank and Anita Coates Coakley. He graduated Woodward
Prep School and later in his life attended Hudson Valley Community College.
Mr. Coakley proudly served his country in the Army from 1943 to 1946.
He had been employed as an electrical technician at General Electric Co.
in Schenectady for 35 years, retiring several years ago.
A passionate athlete his entire life, John was especially well recognized
in professional baseball. In 1941 at 15 years of age, he was bat boy for
the Washington Senators where he had a front row seat for Joe DiMaggio's
56 game, hit streak, and Ted Williams historic season in which he batted
From 1946-1951 he played professional baseball in the Philadelphia Athletics
and St. Louis Browns organizations. Drafted in 1946 by the Athletics,
he spent that season with the Federalsburg MD team and the 1947 season
in Red Springs, NC where he was a teammate of future bowling great Don
Carter. Sold to the St. Louis Brown's the following season, he played
in Aberdeen, SD; where he was a teammate of future New York Yankee great,
Don Larsen, pitching the only perfect game in World Series history.
At the conclusion of the 1949 season in Springfield, IL., John came to
Gloversville, pitching for the Gloversville Glovers in 1950. Here he met
teammate Jack McKeon and began a lifelong friendship with the eventual
Florida Marlin's manager.
After the Glovers disbanded at the end of the 1951 season, John scouted
for many major league teams including the Washington Senators, throughout
Locally, John continued his love of sports acting as commissioner of American
Legion Baseball for more than 20 years. He also officiated at football
and basketball games for many years. An avid golfer and tennis player,
John also coached tennis at Johnstown High School. He was a member of
the National Association of Professional Baseball, and was to be inducted
as part of the inaugural induction class into the Fulton County Baseball
& Sports Hall of Fame planned for later this year. He was also written
about in Jack McKeon's autobiography I'm Just Getting Started, as well
as in the N.Y. Times article about McKeon's religious faith this past
John will be sadly missed by the many lives he has touched.
John is survived by his loving wife of 17 years, Connie Bennice Coakley
of Ballston Spa; his daughters, Patricia Soodsma (Ron) of Tribes Hill,
and Penny Loomos (Nicholas) of Wellesley Hills, MA. John is also survived
by a stepdaughter, Mary Louise Scott (John) of Auburn, NY, and a stepson,
Nicholas DeLilli (Gail) of Ballston Spa. John leaves nine grandchildren,
nine great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his first wife, Joan McCarthy Coakley in 1987; and
brothers, Francis, George, Paul, William, and David Coakley.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated 10 a.m. Tuesday, February 21, 2012 at
the Church of The Holy Spirit, 149 S. Main St. Gloversville. There will
be no calling hours.
Burial with military honors will be in Prospect Hill Cemetery, Gloversville.
Expressions of sympathy in his memory may be made to Mountain Valley Hospice,
108 Steele Ave. Gloversville,, NY 12078 or to the Gloversville Little
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the Kobuskie-Konik Funeral
Home, 51 Fremont St., Gloversville.