John (Red) W. Coram, 89, of Niagara Falls, NY, passed away on Wednesday, February 13, 2013, in Mount St. Mary's Hospital, Lewiston, NY, after a lengthy illness. Red was born August 22, 1923 to Gilbert and Elizabeth (Brice) Coram who immigrated from England in the early 1900s. Red was born in Niagara Falls in their apartment upstairs on 16th and Pine Avenue.
Red started playing softball in 1938. He graduated from Trott Vocational in 1942 and was inducted into the Navy. While in high school, he played basketball in his freshman year with the junior varsity and they won the championship with a 24-4 record. Red played varsity football for three years. He also was a member of the 1942 undefeated Cataract Semi-Pro Football Team before he went in to the Navy. He was competitive in softball, baseball, basketball and football in his growing years. He played baseball for the American Legion Team that won the City and County Championships at Hyde Park Stadium. Red played basketball in the Old Saturday Night Muny League and Semi-Pro Football for the Niagara All-High. He was also on the St. Lawrence Basketball Champion Team in the years 1939 and 1940.
After being inducted in the U.S. Navy, he served aboard the U.S.S. Yorktown (The Fighting Lady). He also had the honor of having a cameo in the movie, "The Fighting Lady". He received the Presidential Unit Citation and several battle stars. Still wanting to be in the game of sports, Red played for the Pacific Fleet softball championship in Pearl Harbor. After the war Red went to work at the Hooker Chemical Co., now OxyChem, where he played softball for 26 years with his team winning many Industrial League Championships. John (Red) Coram continued his sports career playing Semi-Pro football and softball with teams such as the Moose, Frontiers, Cataracts and Pee Wee's. In 1947 the Moose Football Team were undefeated for six straight seasons. Red started playing softball in 1938. His career covered many successful years of winning local, Canadian and NY State Championships. In his athletic prowess he played for 54 independent teams and 26 industrial in his career. He was a member of the 1958 Class AA NYS Championship Team. Red was inducted into the Western New York Softball Hall of Fame in 1975. Also in 1977, he was a recipient of the Fabulous 40's Club. He was an inductee in the Niagara Falls Old Timers Sports Hall of Fame in 1996. Over 34 years, Red played 3000 games with over 3000 hits. He also had the honor of playing with "The King and His Court" when in town as a catcher. He also hit a home run off Eddie Feigner, The King - a feat not many players got to do! In his later years Red managed and played slo-pitch and then turned to golf after retiring from Hooker Chemical Co. in 1983. Prior to that he was also drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals, which he declined.
On April 25, 1947, Red married Mildred (Sullivan) Coram, who predeceased him in November 2001. He will be remembered as a loving and caring father by four children, Trish Blanchard of Wheatfield; Brand Wayne (Mary) of Grand Island; Wayne William of Niagara Falls; and John Wayne (MaryLou Bilson) of Lockport. He also has four grandchildren, Brandy (Brian) Brancato, Brittney (Patrick) Cluckey, John (Deborah) Coram and Casey Coram. He was also blessed with five great-grandchildren, Bella, Brea and Bristol Brancato; John Howard and Kelly Coram. He is also survived by two sisters-in-law, Janet (late George) Kitcho and RoseLee (late James) Coram. He was predeceased by his parents; sister, Annie (Erving) Clear; and three brothers, Gilbert, Benjamin and James. His extensive family includes many nieces, nephews, cousins and his close coffee buddies.
Visitation will be held Sunday from 4 to 9 PM at LANE FUNERAL HOME, INC., 8622 Buffalo Avenue, Niagara Falls, NY. The memorial service will be held Monday at 10 AM, at the funeral home. Interment with full military honors will follow the service at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Lewiston. In lieu of flowers, donations are asked to be given to Hospice of Niagara.