was a longtime resident of North Attleborough and Hingham, spending his last
three years at The Residence at Watertown Square.
Born in Boston on December 2, 1931, he was the eldest child of the late John B.
and Margaret (Furlong) Atwood of Charlestown. His youth was spent growing up
in his beloved Hingham with his younger sister, the late Ruth (Atwood) Gouveia
of Hull. He was a 1950 graduate of Hingham High School and competitive varsity
baseball, football, and basketball player. Upon graduation he received an athletic
scholarship to Curry College.
Fulfilling his service to his country after college, he served in the U.S. Army in
Germany for two years. He returned home to begin a career as a high school
teacher and coach that spanned over 50 years in the Hull, Randolph, Hopedale
and Norton School Districts. His early years in education were spent as a history
teacher, guidance counselor, and football coach. In the early 1960s, he earned his
master’s degree in Education Administration from Bridgewater State College.
Moving into the role of Director of Guidance at Hopedale High School, he met his
devoted and loving wife of 35 years, the late Frances (Bradley) Atwood, who was
an English teacher and guidance counselor there.
John served as Director of Special Education in Norton from 1974 until 2006,
continually advocating for the advancement and education of students with
special needs. Prior to his appointment, he served on the School Committee for
many years. In June 2019, Superintendent Dr. Joseph Baeta, along with the
Norton School Committee dedicated the John B. Atwood Student Support Center
at the Norton High School in recognition of his 42 years of work with students in
He was passionate about High School sports. Most Saturdays, you would find
John at a high school football or basketball game. His love of high school sports
dates to his time as a schoolboy in Hingham where he was known as “Jocko” for
his adoration of athletics and the statistics that go with it. He often recalled
incredible facts and figures about players and games spanning over decades. He
was a loyal supporter of both the Norton and Hingham High School athletics and
was a mainstay at baseball, football, and basketball games. John was also a
major supporter of Bishop Feehan High School and Boston College Cross-
Country and Track and Field programs, where his children competed. His words
of encouragement, signature pipe, and Tam-‘o-Shanter Irish cap is etched in the
memory of many athletes at these meets to this day.
John was a life-long fan and 30-year season ticket holder of the Boston Red Sox,
attending his first game at Fenway with his father in 1936. Over the years, he
enjoyed watching many Red Sox games with his wife or children. He was also a
huge New England Patriots fan. One of his favorite memories was sharing the
very first Super Bowl victory in 2002 with his entire family.
He always savored a good meal, a cold Budweiser, and conversation with family,
the foundation of his life. John was the quintessential conversationalist, always
full of wisdom. He could talk to anyone, anywhere, about anything …. always
done with a big smile on his face. However, his “Gift of Gab” was much more
than small talk; he loved to share his many proverbs and quotes to anyone who
would listen, and he was quick to develop many new friends. To those closest to
him, he was inspiring mentor and coach.
John was passionate about Hingham. Having grown up there, he had such fond
memories and moved himself back in town in 2006. He loved the beautiful
community and the wonderful people, and he cherished having his family there
for the 4th of July parade. He spent many days walking the beach at the nearby
Nantasket beach in Hull, meeting new people and making new friends every day.
He was on the selection committee for the Hingham Sports Hall of Fame, the
historian, who had knowledge of athletes dating back to the 1930s as he had
attended their games in his youth. John was deeply involved with the Hingham
Senior Center and the local American Legion in his later years as well.
His Catholic faith was a constant in his life. Converting to Catholicism later in life,
he was a parishioner at St. Mark’s Church in Attleboro Falls. His faith helped him
survive loss and tragedy, losing his father when he was 11 years old then later
beloved wife, Frances. He passed his love of God onto his children and
grandchildren as well.
John is survived by two children: his son Michael (wife Melanie) Atwood of North
Attleborough, and his daughter Christine (husband David) Pomer of Belmont. He
is also survived by his six grandchildren: William, Megan, & Kelsey Atwood,
and Cameron, Michael, & Matthew Pomer.
His funeral, to which Relatives and Friends are most kindly invited to attend, will be held on Wednesday, January 15, 2020, from the Sperry & McHoul Funeral Home, 15 Grove Street, North Attleborough at 9 AM. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in St. Mark’s Church, 105 Stanley Street, Attleboro Falls at 10 AM.
Interment with full military honors will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Attleboro Falls.
Visiting hours will be held on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 in the funeral home, from 4-7 PM.
In lieu of flowers, donations in the form of a check may be made out to
the Norton Public Schools. It can be sent to 64 West Main Street, Norton, MA
02766 with a letter / notation that it will directed to The John B. Atwood
Scholarship Fund. The scholarship will be presented to a SPED Student who will