V. Mazzie, the legendary Johnston High School teacher, coach, athletic
director and Hall of Fame creator and founder lost his
three-year battle with cancer on October 1st. As a teacher, he helped students feel as though they could stand on
mountains, walk on stormy seas and be more than they thought they could
ever be. He did so as a coach and athletic director, as well.
Although his career in the education world spanned more than four
decades and touched the lives of students in several school systems,
Mazzie will always be remembered for his untiring efforts to establish
the prestigious Johnston High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Back when his three daughters, Kira, Becky and Samantha, attended
West Warwick schools and played such sports as soccer, basketball and
softball, Mazzie made sure he did more than his fair share to help adult
volunteers that coordinated those valuable programs. Even back then, Mazzie made lasting memories, just as he did during
an extraordinary tenure in Johnston schools and with people from all
walks of life and a number of different sports squads.
“Gary was a true renaissance man,” Jim Hopkins said of his friend, with
whom he coached and assisted in the sports of basketball and golf. “He
loved to travel and the history what went with it. He loved science. He
always demanded excellence of himself and his students as a teacher.
“When coaching he always asked the players to work hard. And he
always made sure everyone played, regardless of the score,” Hopkins
continued. “He loved performing in the Narragansett Bay Chorale group
and was a very talented musician. But most of all, for me, Gary was like
a brother and his physical presence will be truly missed. But we all
know his spirit will always be in our hearts.
Richard “Dick” Hagopain, a former Johnston High teacher, coach and
member of the Hall of Fame and its coordinating committee, said: “Gary
was always thanking us for all our help. But if it wasn’t for his
tireless work, none of us would have received that great honor. Although
we couldn’t present him with a special plaque last week, his name will
never be forgotten.”
Hopkins announced at Saturday’s Hall of Fame Induction Dinner that
the group has changed its fundraiser name, which will forever be known
as the Gary V. Mazzie Memorial Golf Tournament.
Excerpts taken from the October 8th Johnston Sunrise