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John Frampton

Loving husband, father and friend

John Philip Frampton died peacefully at the age of 90, on December 3, 2014, with his family by his side. 

John was born June 8, 1924 in Inglewood, California to Charlie and Grace Frampton, and spent his childhood in Pomona with his beloved siblings, Keith, Mary Ann, Gail and Gary.

He attended Pomona High School and, in 1949, went on to graduate from the University of Notre Dame, where he studied sociology and was a member of Frank Leahy’s 1947 National championship football team.

“We will always think of our own #36 when we watch the Irish play, win or lose,” his family shared.  

Mr. Frampton was a veteran with the US Navy having served during World War II in the Naval Air Corp. He was training to be a fighter pilot when the war ended, and achieved his aviator wings and rank of Lieutenant JG.

After graduating from Notre Dame, Mr. Frampton began his football coaching career in Pueblo, Colorado, where his team won a state championship. It was there that he met and married the love of his life, Suzanne Felible. They moved back to California in the early 1950s, settling in Pomona where John coached at Loyola, Pomona Catholic and Bishop Amat High Schools. He developed and nurtured many life-long friendships with the young men he mentored and with his fellow coaches. Mr. Frampton followed coaching with successful careers in insurance and commercial real estate.

Pat DiCarlo, a 1955 Pomona Catholic High School graduate, played football for Mr. Frampton when the coach first arrived at the school in 1952. With just 400 students, and less than 200 boys, building a winning football program would have been daunting even for a well-seasoned coach.

“The first year we just worked to get into a league. But his second year of coaching, the team went undefeated until the finals in CIF,” Mr. DiCarlo said. “He was a tremendous teacher, not only in football, but in character-building. He made a lasting impression on all his players.”

Mr. Frampton was modest and didn’t offer help to gain attention or reward, instead gave quiet counsel to Mr. DiCarlo after the death of his own father when he was 18 years old.

“John was my surrogate dad,” Mr. DiCarlo shared. “I had nowhere to stay after my dad died, I was homeless. The only people who knew were my high school sweetheart, who’s now my wife of 58 years, and John. And he just helped me out. He never talked about it to anyone.”

In addition to going above and beyond as a football coach, Mr. Frampton was always very proud of his five children and attended nearly every extra-curricular activity they participated in. How he found the time to do that with five active kids would bring a normal person to his knees, but John seemed to thrive on it, the family shared. His four daughters all graduated from Claremont High School, while his son, Michael, attended Damien.

As a patron of the arts, Mr. Frampton loved to sing and was a member of the choir at Our Lady of the Assumption. One of the highlights of his life was singing with the choir for the Pope at the Vatican. He enjoyed attending the theater, especially ballet, and never missed an Oscar-nominated film. John and Suzanne loved to travel and especially enjoyed their trips to the Holy Land, Medjugorje, Italy, Alaska, Boston, Calgary, Cancun, Colorado and Maui.    

Mr. Frampton had an insatiable appetite for just about everything outdoors. Many wonderful family vacations were spent in the Sierras skiing, fly fishing, hiking and camping. He was also an avid road bike enthusiast and could be found searching for big hills and smooth pavement throughout California.

Mr. Frampton participated in the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon in 1981, winning first place in the 56-60 year old age group, but he didn’t always win. A few months later, Mr. Frampton placed last in the Catalina marathon, but was said to be thrilled to have finished another race. He rarely uttered the word “no” when offered a chance for a challenge, and did not like to take “no” for an answer when he was the one suggesting an arduous trail to hike, ocean swim or snorkel, or pondering a ski run to conquer.  

Mr. Frampton was a devout follower of the Roman Catholic faith and shared his devotion as a Eucharist minister and as a youth religious education teacher at St. Joseph’s and St. Anthony’s in Upland and at Our Lady of the Assumption in Claremont. He was an avid book collector and reader of all things religious and absolutely loved sharing stories about the Blessed Mother and the Saints.

John wore his big heart on his sleeve and always greeted you with a smile that made you feel as though you were the only one in the room, family shared. It’s no wonder that each of his 14 grandchildren thoroughly believed they were his favorite. John was a huge part of the lives of his many nephews and nieces, whom he loved dearly. Uncle John was always up for a game and for any kind of fun or a quiet heart-to-heart talk. He was there for whatever was needed.

Mr. DiCarlo, who now lives in Newport Beach with his wife, enjoyed more than 50 years of friendship with Mr. Frampton and the couples often took scuba diving trips together.

“I had the great honor of becoming his friend after I graduated,” Mr. DiCarlo shared. “There’s so much to say about John. He was an extraordinary man. They broke the mold when he  was born.”

Mr. Frampton is survived by Suzanne, his extraordinary wife of 64 years; daughters Christine and her husband Orlando Mistretta of Upland; Lisa Baumann of Seal Beach; Karen Terveer of Ventura; Judy and her husband Larry Gonzalez of Trabuco Canyon; and his son, Michael and his wife Kim of Rexford, Montana. He is also survived by 14 adoring grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He also leaves behind his best friend and brother Gail and his sister-in-law, Betty, of Bishop, California; sisters-in-law Carol Frampton of Hawaii and Beverly Jahn of Colorado; as well as many nieces and nephews in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii and Oregon.

A viewing will be held on Tuesday, December 16 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. followed by the Rosary at Todd Memorial Chapel in Pomona. A Funeral Mass will be held on Wednesday, December 17 at 10 a.m. at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, 2110 N. San Antonio Ave., in Upland, with reception to follow.  

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