WARREN, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – John T. “Cappy” Caparanis, 78, passed away on Thursday morning, September 28, 2023, at Trumbull Regional Medical Center in Warren.
Born January 13, 1945, in Wheeling, West Virginia, Cappy, as he was affectionately known, was a 1963 graduate of Warren G. Harding High School where he participated in baseball, cross-country and track and field. He knew back then that a competitive career between the white lines was an outside shot at best, so he prepared for the next best thing to athletic competition when he arrived at Ohio University in the fall of 1963 where he commenced his college career. He majored in both telecommunications and English at Ohio University, all the while awaiting to start his six decade professional career behind the microphone calling various sports, games of which he had become accustomed to while participating during his youth. He served as student sports director at the Ohio University’s flagship station, WOUB AM-FM during his stay in Athens, calling various Bobcat contests then later serving as the general manager of several radio stations over a six-year period. While at OU, he teamed with former Cleveland Cavaliers play-by-play announcer Joe Tait as they called both Bobcats and area high school games.
He was the sports director of the Mahoning Valley’s first 24-hour sports talk station, Sports Radio 1240 “The Fan” with listeners turning their dials faithfully for over two decades to WBBW-AM from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m., weekdays for his highly rated “Tip of the Cap” (formerly the Front Row Show) as both he and his staff offered opinions on local, regional and national teams, always accentuating the local angle when possible.
In the late 1970s and early 80s, he became the voice of Cable 9 in Trumbull County, covering Warren Harding and Warren Western Reserve football games, his dedication and passion for the teams that he covered apparent both on the radio and television. He broadcast over 1,500 high school and college basketball games, has been in the catbird seat for over 1,000 football contests and called over 500 diamond battles, over 3,000 sporting contests in all dotting his impressive resume. Most recently, Cappy was the radio play-by-play announcer for Warren Harding football from 2012-2019 and served as a consultant 2020 to the present. The former voice of both YSU football and basketball, he also served as voice of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, the former Minor League Class A short-season affiliate of the Cleveland Indians.
Cappy’s unique style painted a clear picture to those tuning in to his broadcasts, making sure he was the eyes for those who were unable to attend the game that particular night. He has done extended research on the diamond game and for his efforts was inducted into the Ohio Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991, honored in a class that included former Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench.
In addition to sports, Cappy’s other love was the military where he was a 32-year veteran of the U.S. Army, both active and reserves, retiring with the rank of Lieutenant.-Colonel. He served in both Vietnam and Desert Storm and is the recipient of over 20 awards and decorations during a distinguished military career. He has received written recognition annually as one of the top teachers in the U.S. Army Command-and-General Staff College and was recognized nationally as one of the U.S. Army Reserves experts at NBC (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical) warfare.
He was the first Mahoning Valley broadcaster to be honored with the OHSAA (Ohio High School Athletic Association) “Sportsmanship, Ethics and Integrity in Sport” award and in 2004, was inducted into his alma mater’s “Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame.” In 2005, he became the first sports media inductee into the Curbstone Coaches Hall of Fame. A founding member of the Trumbull County Sports Hall of Fame, he was inducted into their hall of fame in 2009. In 1993, he was honored as Niles Area Jaycees “Sportscaster of the Year” and was an active participant in multiple leagues in APBA (American Professional Baseball Association) for over five decades, a board game that was devised in 1931 and is still going strong today.
His family was active in the lumber business and over the years served multiple terms as city councilman in his hometown of Cortland.
Cappy has also served on the board of directors of the Mahoning Valley Potential Development for Autistic Children.
A Civil War buff, he was a member of the Mahoning Valley Civil War Roundtable, later starting a satellite group that would also meet to discuss, in-depth, one of our nation’s highest profile wars. He gave freely of his time to speak to many local organizations about sports and the war when asked, always focusing on local connections.
He and his wife of 56 years, the former Shirley Emch, are the parents of three children: daughters, Alexandria (Gerald) Crenshaw and Deidre (Tom) Abbitt and son, John Joshua (Sarah Gillam). They have five grandchildren, Chance Abbitt, Tomea Abbitt, Pierce Abbitt, Bryson Caparanis and Ashdon Caparanis.
He also leaves behind his brothers, James Caparanis and Robert Caparanis (Linda Cater); a sister, Lorraine DeCristofaro (Raymond) and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Helen Caparanis and a sister, Nancy Caparanis.
Family and friends may visit and pay tribute to Cappy on Tuesday evening, October 3, 2023 from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Peter Rossi & Son Memorial Chapel of Warren.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Wednesday, October 4, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Mary and Joseph Parish, 232 Seneca Avenue NE, Warren, OH 44481. All guests are asked to meet at the church between 10:45 – 11:00 a.m.
“Have a great day sports fans.”
A television tribute will air Sunday, October 1 at the following approximate times: 8:58 a.m. on FOX and 9:58 p.m. on MyYTV. Video will be posted here the day of airing.