His Career with Obituary
02/4/06 - Posted from the Daily Record newsroom
DAWN BENKO / DAILY RECORD
Right, John Kuzman, 90, a former football player, lives at the Firemen's Home in Boonton. Kuzman played professionally for the Chicago Cardinals, San Francisco Forty Niners and Chicago Rockets. Above, Kuzman in the October 1939 edition of Athlete magazine.
The 1946 team of the Forty Niners. Kuzman played in eight games for that year's team. When Kuzman signed with the Forty Niners, he reunited with former college teammate Len Eshmont.
Former NFL player keeps game alive in his heart
Memories top pain for Kuzman, 90
His Hall of Fame plaques from Fordham and Schuylkill County, Pa., are at the head of the bed. Kuzman also has a caricature of himself labeled "King Kuzman" from his playing days, pointing out the thick, dark hair Audrey always loved -- even now that it's faded to white.
John Kuzman has trouble remembering things now and he doesn't talk nearly as much as he once did. But his eyes still sparkle when anyone brings up football.
John Kuzman 1946 Touchdown Log
1 Fumble Recovery Return, Long of 72 yards
John Kuzman (CHS '35?)
John "Chief" Kuzman age 92 of Packanack Lake, Wayne passed on Tuesday, January 29, 2008 at the NJ Firemen’s Home in Boonton. He was receiving the loving care of his wife and family and his passing was quiet and peaceful.
He was born in Coaldale, Pennsylvania and had lived in New Brunswick, NJ before moving to the Packanack Lake section of Wayne fifty-five years ago.
He was a parishioner of the Immaculate Heart of Mary RC Church in Wayne.
John received his formal education first at the Coaldale Grammar School, Pennsylvania, and then at the Coaldale High School. It was in High School that a football scout saw his performance playing football. He recruited John to enroll in the Bordentown Military Institute at Bordentown, NJ where he played football from 1935- 1937. There he was awarded the BMI Skirmisher Cup for Athletic Leadership and Loyalty in 1936. He was a member of the New Jersey All-State Football Team from 1935-1937, he received the Harry C. Bradshaw Shot Put Trophy in 1936 for breaking the Group III indoor shot put record and was elected to the Pennsylvania Carbon County Hall of Fame May 30, 1993.
He received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Fordham University in Bronx, New York with the Class of 1941 and attended San Francisco State College in California in 1947. He went on to Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ where he received a Masters Degree in 1950 and achieved 60 credits toward his Doctorate Degree.
He played football at Fordham University from 1937-1941, on the All-East Football Team from 1938-1940, the all-American Football Team 1938-1940, the all Catholic football team from 1939-1940 and was elected to the Fordham University Sports Hall of Fame on May 21, 1978.
John played Professional Football from 1941-1947. He was drafted by the Chicago Cardinals Team in 1941, then for the Chicago Bears in 1942. He was All-Rookie, All-Pro Football Team Chicago Cardinals 1941, he played on the US Navy Pre-Flight Football Team 1942-1946, on the All-Service, All-American football team 1943. He also played for the San Francisco 49ers in 1946 and for the Chicago Rockets in 1947.
He left professional football during WW II volunteering in the US Navy serving as a Lieutenant 1942-1946. He served in the US Navy Pre-Flight Program, at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC as and Athletic Officer 1942-1944. There he had the responsibility for screening Ted Williams' physical fitness into and out of the Flight Program. He then served at the US Naval Air Station in Seattle Washington in the Air Transport Squadron VR-5, Athletic Director 1944-1945 and US Navy Pre-Flight Program at Saint Mary’s college in Maraga, California as an Athletic Officer from 1945 to 1946. He was employed at the San Francisco State College as a member of the Physical Education Department in 1947, Rutgers University as a member of the Physical Education Department in 1948. He worked coaching and Teaching at Saint Michaels High School in Union City, NJ in 1950 and 1952, he coached and taught at Bloomfield High School in Bloomfield, NJ from 1952- 1954 and coached and taught at Bergen County Vocational and Technical High School in Hackensack from 1954-1974.
While living in Wayne he was active with the Packanack Lake Volunteer Fire Department Company #5 and served twelve years of active duty. He was a member of the Packanack Lake Country Club, the Wayne Golden Age Circle, the Packanack Leisure Club and the Wayne American Legion Post 174.
Audrey and John had sixty-six years of “very compatible and loving” marriage together.