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AROUND TOWN: McIntyre’s Gifts Weren’t Just In Medicine

December 2, 2018

He might be remembered as a physician who served the Tunkhannock area for 40 years. Or, as the devoted father and sports fan who died last week at 79. But a lot of people wouldn’t know that John McIntyre, father of six, including son, Bryan, who played lacrosse at Keystone College, and daughter, Krystyn Kitto, who played hoops at Scranton Prep and Boston University, was a star in his own right. He was the Associated Press Back of the Year in his high school classification in Georgia, quarterbacking the team to consecutive state championships in 1955 and ’56. He even beat out a pretty legendary guy for that all-state award — NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton. A bout with mononucleosis forced him out of Georgia Tech, where he went to play football, landing him at Navy, where he was a three-year defensive standout, playing with Midshipmen greats Joe Bellino and Roger Staubach, each a Heisman Trophy winner. “He kind of had an unbelievable track record in sports,” Bryan McIntyre said. “You really couldn’t believe some of the stuff he had to say when we were growing up.” But those stories were true. Growing up playing for Monticello High School, a small town northeast of Atlanta, John McIntyre made his name as a quarterback who could run and throw the ball, his teams losing just one game in his three years as a starter. Hyperbole sometimes takes over through the years, but not for John. “We found newspaper cover after newspaper cover of him shaking hands with league commissioners,” Bryan said. “It was the most unbelievable thing in the whole world. He was like this mythical creature put on earth to play quarterback for the Monticello Purple Hurricanes.” He played on both sides of the ball. Would have done that at Georgia Tech if he didn’t come down with the mononucleosis that forced him to drop out of school. “My dad said he didn’t want to do nothing for year,” Kitto said. “He did lumber work for the family company and threw baseballs all summer. He said he lost all his zip on the football and wasn’t a good quarterback.” So, he was a walk-on at Navy, playing running back and starting at defensive back from his sophomore season — at a time when sophomores at Navy, a Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl team in John’s stay, just didn’t earn varsity jerseys. After his Navy military service, he went to med school, then moved to this area, where he was a devoted doctor and father, Kitto recalls. Kitto also remembers one of the reasons her dad walked on at Navy. “He said, ‘I really wanted to eat at the football table,’ ” Kitto recalled. “They had desserts and steak and I’m going to try out. “My dad loved food.” And his sports. He didn’t miss a game Kitto played until she went to Boston University. “Because I walked on at Boston University, there were a lot of parallels there,” Kitto said. “I think it meant a lot to my dad that he walked on and I walked on. He was at every single game since I started playing in fourth grade. He worked in the ER (emergency room), worked nights in his office.” He was a proud father, too. When Kitto was MVP of the Lackawanna League All-Star game in 2007, her father was on the phone the next day, telling anyone who would listen. “He was a brilliant guy, loved watching Prep and was a sports guy,” Kitto said. A legend as an athlete and in his community. Contact the writer: mmyers@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9100, ext. 5437; @mmyersTT on Twitter

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