shs header picture

John Pendlebury - (Deceased)

WIFE: Mary Pendlebury
John Pendlebury

The following is taken from notes provided by John's son Bill:

My dad, John Henry Pendlebury, , was born on the 4th of July in 1910, the youngest of three sons and lived in Sidney where his father owned a department store. Dad's grandfather, Leroy Smith, was the first sheriff of Delaware County. At 6'5" and 260 lbs., he was a rather imposing figure in his day. Dad played sports at Sidney and also loved extra curricular events which probably led to him being a so-so student. He once told me he was lucky to graduate. Upon graduation, Dad enrolled and went to Springfield College in Massachusetts, where he graduated in 1934. At Springfield, he played organized sports and was also a boxing champion. At Springfield his love for kids and sports was defined and he returned to Sidney after graduation to teach and coach. Dad coached Sidney to its first two undefeated football seasons (1934-35) and he always loved the students and athletes he had in Sidney. It was always a treat for me to go visit my Uncle AI (John's brother and a lifelong Sidney resident) as we would always run into former students and athletes that dad coached. I could see the love he had for them and also the love they had for him. He was a man who loved kids.

It was around this time that he married a woman name Beryl. Also after a brief time back at Sidney he took a teaching position in a starting school system in Vestal, New York. His first couple years were driving back and forth between the two one room school houses and teaching Physical Education. As the school system grew, Dad's responsibilities did too. He became not only the Phys Ed teacher, but its first Athletic Director. Dad also coached all sports and was the first coach for all the main sports at Vestal. As the school grew, Dad hired more coaches and the Vestal School System grew into a powerhouse of sports in New York State. At the time of his retirement in 1969, he had the largest coaching staff in New York State. His first love was track and he remained the coach through 1969. He coached many champions in New York State and his relay team held the state record for over twenty years. But the main thing I always respected and honored was his philosophy that sports were for the kids, not the coach's ego. Dad would never allow coaches to "cut" kids from any team. He felt that if a kid came out and practiced, then he should be on the team. And that kid should play. Sports were for the kids, period. Legendary coaches he hired along the way were Dick Hoover (football) Willie Lobb (basketball) and Lou Gennett in baseball

With the post war boom, Vestal grew and grew. Dad loved his teaching and especially his coaching and of course his first coaching love was track. Proudly through the years he served as a Director of the New York State Public High School Athletics and was also on the President's Council for Youth Fitness. As the years crept by, Dad suffered some physical ailments and managed to recoup from some heart problems and other maladies. At a family summer camp in Earlville, he also started a baseball league for all the local kids. He would bring up all the equipment from Vestal for them to use.

Dad had married and later divorced his first wife when he met my Mom, Mary. Mom was teaching at one of the one room school houses and they hit it off. They married in 1952.

Sidney Sports Hall of Fame Committee Notes: John Pendlebury's coaching record in only three years at Sidney was astounding, In 1934, his football team went 7-0, scoring 81 points to just 11 for the opponents! Five of the seven games ended in a shutout. For the '35 season, the Warriors also went 7-0, blanking four opponents and amassing 123 points. His basketball teams were almost as successful.

As Bill said, John moved on to Vestal and created sports history there. He was elected to the Section IV Hall of Fame in 1980 and was given a nice tribute in 1977 as Vestal honored then retiring coach Dick Hoover, who John hired in 1951. Congratulations and "Welcome Home" John Pendlebury!