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John Wesley Ply

John Wesley Ply, 89, of Flagstaff passed away March 22, 2013.  He was born on August 9, 1923, in Crockett, Texas to James L. and Mary Ivy Ply.

After graduating from Rio Hondo High School in 1941, John attended Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas where he played football, basketball, and ran track.  His college days were interrupted by WWII.  He left college and went into the Navy where he was a Beachmaster on the USS Brule, stationed in the South Pacific.  After the war ended, he returned to college where he graduated with a degree in Education in 1947.

After graduating, the LA Rams offered John a contract to play professional football but he turned it down to pursue his teaching career.  He taught in McCamey, Texas and Gallup, New Mexico, then began teaching at Flagstaff High School in 1957, where he coached football and track.  He taught Spanish, PE, History, and Math, where he touched and influenced many lives during his 41 years of teaching.  In 1960, John was named Coach of the Year for high school football in Arizona.

John loved his family and the fun times he spent with them.  He enjoyed the outdoors, hunting, fishing, boating, and golfing.  For the last several years, he was a ranger at Elephant Rocks Golf Course.  One of his greatest loves was watching his grandsons, Michael and Daniel, play baseball.  He rarely missed a game from T-ball through high school.  John also enjoyed the times he spent hunting and fishing with them.

He is survived by his loving wife of 49 years, Barbara Ply, their daughter Beth Langston (Paul) and grandsons, Michael and Daniel of Flagstaff, brothers Les, Cash, and sister Wilma Bearden of TX, and Milton of FL.  He is also survived by his daughters Janey Taylor (Eddy) of LA, Gayle Plummer, Susan Parris (Gary), and Diane Goodgion (Mike) all of TX, numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews, whom he loved dearly.

Both his parents, brother Vernon Ply, sisters Margaret Wardlow and Ruby Wardlow, preceded him in death.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, April 6 at 10:30 am at Flagstaff High School Auditorium with a reception immediately following at the Flagstaff Elks Lodge.

In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made in John’s honor to Northland Hospice, PO Box 997, Flagstaff, Arizona 86002 or charity of your choice.

Arrangements are by Norvel Owens Mortuary, Condolences can be shared with the family at

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