John Ghindia, a dedicated professional athlete, Trenton resident, educator and coach with ties to several Downriver communities, died Friday. He was 86.
Born Oct. 12, 1925, in Niles, Ohio, to Romanian immigrants, John and Mary, he grew up in Ecorse. He went on to the University of Michigan, where he was a starting quarterback on the highly acclaimed 1946-48 teams. The team won Big Ten Championships for all three years. The 1947 and '48 teams went undefeated, winning the 1948 Rose Bowl game and later capturing the national championship title.
Once he earned two college degrees and his playing days were over, John returned Downriver and coached tennis and hockey at Ecorse High School and football, basketball and baseball at the former St. Patrick High School in Wyandotte. He helped pioneer youth hockey in the Downriver area.
Those athletic accomplishments led to him being inducted into the Michigan High School Coaches Hall of Fame, Michigan Catholic High School Hall of Fame and Michigan Tennis Hall of Fame.
John, who most recently lived in Trenton, was a World War II Army Air Corps veteran and a former Ecorse Recreation Director, where he worked for 16 years.
Community involvement also was important to John, who served as a 45-year member of the Kiwanis club and a 40-year parishioner and usher at
His son, John, said his dad's "dignity, grace, faith, and strength was beyond words."
"He kept teaching us and providing a great example right up to the end," he said. "He was the best father anyone could ever hope for. Dad is now with our Lord in Heaven. Alleluia & Go Blue!"
In addition to his son, John is survived by his wife of 56 years, Katherine Sue; daughters, Mary Beth Cirocco, Suzanne Robertson and Janet Ghindia; another son, George; grandchildren Colleen and Emily Cirocco, Tyler, Nick and Jennifer Robertson, and Jacquelyne and Eva Ghindia; and sister Olympia Sutherland.
Girrbach-Krasun Funeral Home in Southgate is handling the arrangements. Visitation is from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday and from 1 to 8 p.m. Tuesday. A Scripture Service will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday. A Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Trenton. He will be buried at Woodmere Cemetery in Detroit.
In lieu of flowers, relatives are asking donations be sent to the John V. Ghindia Scholarship Fund or St. Joseph Catholic Church.