John Konowitz

Obituary of John M. Konowitz

OBITUARY FOR JOHN KONOWITZ John M. Konowitz, 76, of Fern Lake Road, AuSable Forks, died unexpectedly on Friday, January 28, 2022 at the UVM Health Network – CVPH, Plattsburgh, John was born in Dover, NJ, on July 5, 1945, the eldest of four to John and Regina (Connolly) Konowitz. John, Sr was an athlete, teacher and coach; after raising the kids Regina returned to finish her college degree at age 40 to also become a teacher. Both taught and raised their children in Pompton Lakes, NJ where John excelled at sports. He played baseball and basketball at PLHS, and was captain his senior year of 1963 when he set the then-school record for points in a game with 41 vs Passaic Valley. John went on to play at Glassboro State College before a tumor ended his playing career after one season. The family’s summers were spent at Camp Pok-o-MacCready in Willsboro, NY where his parents worked while the children attended. It was there where his life-long love of the Adirondacks began. John came to love the area’s mountains and continued to hike every year of his life until he was no longer able. He and his brother Ronny completed their first round of the ADK 46r peaks together in August 1968. Over the ensuing decades John returned to the camp as a counselor, leading wilderness trips, and teaching thousands of kids to swim as the waterfront director. But most importantly he mentored dozens of young adults and grew life-long friendships. John’s coaching achievements are well known. Tenures at Ausable Valley Central School (1974-’82), North Country Community College (1982-’85), SUNY New Paltz (1985-’89) and SUNY Cortland (1989-’95) garnished a record of 281 wins and 226 losses. While that record may not seem the stuff of legends, consider that AVCS had 6 wins in his first 3 years, New Paltz had not achieved a winning record in 10 years, and Cortland had won 34 games in the previous 6 years. John immediately instilled a winning attitude at every stop and left each program with a much brighter future then when he started. He is an inaugural member of the AVCS and NCCC halls of fame and was named SUNYAC Coach of the Year in his final season at Cortland. Coaching brought John the opportunity to connect with many in the basketball hierarchy and travel the globe. He worked for and eventually helped run the KC Jones Basketball Camp for 2 decades, travelled to the former Yugoslavia where he spread the game to the likes of a young Toni Kukoc, and helped and befriended hundreds of tirelessly working youth, high school, college and professional coaches. John retired from coaching in 1995 to join Judy full-time with Primerica Financial Services. It was then that he returned to his beloved North Country to support the citizens of the area with their financial well-being. Soon after relocation, John was lured back to coaching as a volunteer assistant at Ausable Valley Central School (where his coaching journey began) and Plattsburgh State University, both through this current season. His impact was again felt by high school athletes in the area as he not only taught basketball skills to the AVCS kids, but the greater community at large. His knowledge and work ethic has impacted many athletes from the area to continue their basketball careers at the collegiate level. And in an age where there are now companies founded that charge kids for one-on-one instruction, John never took any money for his time and commitment. Over the last 15 years John has tended to his wife Judy as she battles Alzheimer’s. He has visited with her on a daily basis, only missing time when traveling for business or basketball, or in 2020 at the height of the COVID pandemic. Even then, he still arranged to connect with her from outside her window or for others to visit. Witnessing this progression over time led John to begin Judy’s Annual Alzheimer’s Awareness Basketball Tournament. It includes boys and girls games at the beginning of each season, with teams in the region continually asking to be involved. Currently it has raised money to fund over $125,000 in scholarships to each teams’ senior athletes, and $100,000 to local Alzheimer’s organizations. Left to cherish John’s memory are his wife Judy; companion Joanne; siblings Gina (Gary), Jim and Ron; sons Chris (Rachel), Brian (Sharon), Michael (Terese) and Keith (Rachel); and grandchildren Jackson, Eliza, Claudia, Nathan, Donna, Justin, Jonathan, Jenna, Jayce and Jackson. Relatives and friends are invited to call on Saturday, February 12th between 1pm – 5pm at the Hamilton Funeral Home, 294 Mannix Road, Peru. A private ceremony for the family will follow. A public celebration of John’s life and friendships will be held under the sun at Ausable Valley Central School in Clintonville, NY on Sunday, May 29th. Time to be determined. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in memory of John Konowitz be made to the Third Age Adult Day Center in Plattsburgh, NY, your local Alzheimer associated organizations or the Adirondack Scholarship Foundation (www.adkscholarship.org). But mostly they ask that you carry on his legacy of teaching, mentoring, and being a friend. Arrangements are in the care of the Hamilton Funeral Home, 294 Mannix Road, Peru, 643-9055.
Saturday
12
February

Visitation at Funeral Home

1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Saturday, February 12, 2022
Hamilton Funeral Home Inc.
294 Mannix Road
Peru, New York, United States
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