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John Lombardy

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MANCHESTER -- John J. Lombardy, 89, of Manchester, died Sunday May 6, 2007, at the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center.

Mr. Lombardy was born March 30, 1918, in Manchester. He was a World War II veteran who served in the 10th Mountain Division at Camp Hale, Colo. Johnny started his golf career as an Ekwanok Country Club caddie at age nine. He was just 19 when Bobby Jones made one of his visits to Manchester to play Ekwanok. Lombardy was assigned to caddie for Jones. He observed Jones’ gentlemanly conduct and decided then and there to make golf his career. After winning the caddie championship for the third time, the young Lombardy was given the opportunity to advance above the rank of caddie, when he was offered a job in the pro shop. The following season, he was promoted to assistant in charge of the Equinox golf course which was then managed by Ekwanok. Three years later, Johnny was appointed head professional at Equinox. In 1941, Lombardy played in a exhibition match with Craig Wood, the year Wood won the Masters and the U.S. Open. In 1943, he scored a 65 at Equinox, a new course record which has yet to be broken. In the Vermont Open in 1963 and 1964, Lombardy was low Vermont professional.

In 1960, Johnny installed a golf school in the basement of his home in Manchester Village, complete with tee, driving net and putting green. When the school opened, Golfdom Magazine published an article with several photographs featuring the school in operation. For many years Johnny was personal golf instructor and friend to Mr. Lincoln Isham, great-great grandson of Abraham Lincoln. Mr. Isham visited the Lombardy home each evening for a social visit and lesson.

Mr. Lombardy continued to serve Ekwanok over a period of 54 years. He became Head PGA Professional in 1952, a post he held for 30 years until his retirement in 1982, when the position was taken over by his son John Lombardy Jr.

Johnny is survived by his wife, Lydia Ruth Lombardy; and his five children: two sons John Lombardy Jr. of Manchester and James Lombardy of Melbourne, Fla, three daughters, Mrs. Linda Piccolella of Melbourne, Fla., Mrs. Joy Alexopoulos of Manchester and Mrs. Leigh Miles of Rutland, a step-daughter Mrs. Susan Roth-Nichol of Massapequa, N.Y.; a sister Mrs. Marion Batchelder of Manchester; and 11 grandchildren. Johnny’s first wife, Joan, predeceased him in 1987.

The Liturgy of Christian Death and Burial will be offered 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 9, 2007, at St. Paul’s Catholic Church. A private family graveside service will follow at Dellwood Cemetery. Friends may call at the Brewster Funeral Home, 34 Park Place Manchester, on Tuesday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. when the family will be in attendance. The family requests memorial contributions be made to the Ekwanok Country Club Scholarship Trust Fund or the Burr and Burton Academy Athletic Department c/o Brewster Funeral Service PO Box 885 Manchester, VT 05255. For directions or to send a personal e-mail condolence to the family please visit http://www.sheafuneralhomes.com
Published in Bennington Banner on May 8, 2007
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