“A Boy And His Basketball”
Our beloved Pops, 88, passed away peacefully at home on August 15, 2021 of heart failure. Born to Theodore John Prokopis and Helen Kosmopoulos Prokopis on October 28, 1932 in New York.
Johnny grew up in Magna, Utah, and at age 7 began a distinguished path for a love of basketball. He and his Greek buddies cleared a vacant field, put up a 2x4, and a plywood backboard. They were able to pool their coins and buy a hoop and basketball, thus beginning an amazing basketball career. He played varsity at Cyprus High School all 4 years, was leading scorer and rebounder, and won many games and accolades with his amazing ability.
John accepted a full basketball scholarship to Westminster College. He gained notoriety with countless awards and records as a 6 foot tall center. He was team captain 3 years, 4 years all conference, and again, the leading scorer and rebounder. He continued playing for Salt Lake County Rec League from 1955-60, and in Greek tournaments for Paulos Auto from 1951-58.
Johnny went on to give back by coaching CYO basketball and baseball for St. Ambrose and St. Vincents for 21 years. Their teams won many games and the other coaches commented how John could outcoach anyone, even with a less experienced team. He inspired success by example.
His most celebrated moment in sports was being the first basketball player inducted into the Westminster Hall of Fame. His family and friends came from all over to share in this amazing acknowledgement.
John spent 41 successful years as production manager at Packaging Corporation of America before retiring in 1997. He was an analytics guy before analytics was popular. Everything he did was on his 8 1⁄2 x 11 yellow note pad. JP played an integral role helping pave the way for a new plant in 1996.
He met and married his cherished Marie Hale in 1958. John was so proud of his 3 perfect children: Trish (Steve) More, Tedd (Joni) Prokopis , and Brooke Dyer. Adding to his lineage came 7 grandchildren, Madison, Camryn, and Hannah More; John and Taylor Prokopis; Ethan and Nicholas Dyer. Preceded in death by his precious Trish and brother Billy.
We wish to thank Rocky Mountain Hospice for their compassionate care.
To honor the memory of Pops, in lieu of flowers,we would appreciate a donation to Unicef’s Five Basketballs program which gives kids a chance to exercise and play.
A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, September 4th from 5:00 PM until 8:00 PM at Starks Funeral Parlor, 3651 South 900 East, Salt Lake City, UT. Guests are encouraged to use the parking on the north side of the building.