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John William Kibler Sr.

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John William Kibler, Sr. John Kibler, Sr. passed away on Thursday, February 18, 2010, at the age of 81 after suffering a heart attack on Wednesday. Born on January 9th, 1929, in Piseco, NY, he was the son of the late Raymond and Ethel Kibler. He was preceded in death by his sisters Justine Vosburgh and June Grier. He is survived by his loving wife Dorothy, of 51 years, 2 sons, John Jr. and Jeffrey, and 2 grandchildren, Monica and Austin. John lived in Speculator, NY until his family moved to Fort Plain, NY where he graduated from Fort Plain High School and where he excelled in baseball. After jobs with the NY State Police, the Volunteer Fire Department, and US Navy service, he moved to Florida and attended Umpire School in 1958. He umpired for 7 years in the minor leagues before getting called up to the National League full time in 1965. During his 25-years in the major leagues he umpired 4 National League Championships, 4 All Star games and 4 World Series championships (1971, 1978, 1982 and 1986). He became crew chief in 1977. He was the first base umpire in the crucial game 6 of the World Series in 1986, when a ground ball rolled through Boston's Bill Buckner's legs in the 10th inning. He worked behind the plate for game 7. John considered himself to be among the luckiest people on earth to have had a career as a Major League Umpire. After retirement he enjoyed playing golf and being with his family. In 2003, he and his wife moved from Southern California to the San Francisco Bay Area to be closer to family. John always had a smile for everyone he met and he will be greatly missed by his family and friends. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Baseball Assistance Team at http://www.baseballassistanceteam.com. There will be no public memorial.
Published in San Jose Mercury News on Feb. 23, 2010
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