In Memory

John Speary (Us History)

Jack Speary, ex-Bogota High athletic director, coach, at 71: Newspaper Obituary and Death Notice

Record, The (Hackensack, NJ) - Saturday, January 4, 2003

Deceased Name: Jack Speary, ex-Bogota High athletic director, coach, at 71

Jack Speary, who spent 28 of his 40 years at Bogota High School as athletic director, died Thursday at the age of 71. Bogota wasn't Mr. Speary's hometown. It only seemed that way. "It always seemed like he was there from the beginning," said Frank Salvano, the St. Joseph baseball coach who played for Mr. Speary in the late Sixties. "During the Sixties and into the Seventies, Jack was Bogota sports. He was a Nutley boy, but then he came to Bogota and just got involved. "With Jack, it wasn't just the love of sports. He cared about the kids. When you needed a coach, he was there." Mr. Speary retired in June 1998. He coached baseball, football, basketball, and one season of softball, taking over the girls team in 1978 when his coach quit on opening day. "This is my first athletic director's job, and he was always there for me," said Brad DiRupo, who took over at Bogota when Mr. Speary retired. "If there was a problem or a question, I could always call him and he'd have an answer. When I was in a bind, he was the one I went to." Mr. Speary played football and baseball at Good Counsel High School in Newark, earning All-State honors as a catcher. He played in the Essex County League, and had tryouts with the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox. Mr. Speary attended Montclair State University, where he was elected to the athletic department's Hall of Fame. Even before he graduated he coached the newly formed Good Counsel baseball team for four years, and, while teaching at Bogota, coached baseball at Queen of Peace. "I learned a lot from coach, especially baseball," Salvano said. "It was the little things. Jack was always big on the fundamentals like bunting and the hit-and-run. A real stickler. "I remember my first year coaching in 1988, and we won a county tournament game on a suicide squeeze. I remember that because it was one of Jack's favorite plays. He taught discipline and fundamentals, and so much of what I learned from Jack you see in my coaching. I'll always remember his knowledge of the game." Mr. Speary, a member of the Bogota Hall of Fame, won seven league titles in various sports at Bogota and the high school gym is named in his honor. He is survived by three daughters, Eileen O'Mara, Patricia Isabella, and Karen Purcell, and three sons, Thomas P. Maher, Timothy W. Maher, and William Maher. A funeral will be held Monday at 8:30 a.m. at the S.W. Brown & Son Funeral Home, 267 Centre St., Nutley, and a funeral Mass will be said at 9:30 a.m. at St. Mary Church, Nutley.