Remembering Charles Djerf, the ‘Voice of Quincy Football’

Charles Djerf was the “Voice of Quincy football” for 47 years. He died Sept. 28.
Charles Djerf was the “Voice of Quincy football” for 47 years. He died Sept. 28.

Quincy to name press box in Djerf’s honor

On Thanksgiving morning 2004, with the aid of a cane, Charles W. Djerf made his way down the ladder steps from the press box at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Quincy.

For 47 years, the “Voice of Quincy Football,’’ had walked up those same steps to his seat overlooking the gridiron as public address announcer for North Quincy and Quincy High home games.

Greeted at halftime by his grandson, North Quincy High honorary senior captain David Djerf, and School Superintendent Richard DeCristofaro, on his final day as announcer, Djerf was presented an award in recognition of his loyalty and longevity.


And courage.

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Djerf, who died at age 79 on Sept. 28 from complications of juvenile diabetes, had endured partial and full amputations to his lower extremities, but never lost his sense of humor or his love of life, his profession, and his family.

“I was honored to be there,’’ said DeCristofaro. “Charlie was an important part of our community who always gave of himself.’’

The city of Quincy will recognize Djerf one more time at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Mayor Tom Koch has received approval from the School Committee to name the press box in Djerf’s honor. A plaque dedication ceremony is tentatively scheduled for Thanksgiving Day at the Quincy-North Quincy football game.


“I can still recall his distinctive voice. Charlie was truly an institution and his family has been an integral part of our city for generations,’’ said Koch. “I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to remember him.’’

His son Russell said his father “never complained, no matter what he went through. Dad danced at my wedding in 1985, not long after losing part of his foot, and even after his fourth amputation he would get out on the golf course with me and my brothers, Brian and Dennis, on Father’s Day.

“He was always trying to get people to smile. He didn’t care if the jokes were bad — he just loved the reaction.’’

A 1952 graduate of Quincy High, where he played varsity basketball and golf, Djerf was a teacher and coach in Holbrook for two years after graduating from Tufts University. He taught algebra at Sterling Junior High in Quincy for 25 years and then at Quincy High, retiring in 1997 after 40 years in the school system.

“All my friends and neighborhood kids liked to imitate his voice even if they didn’t know him personally,’’ his grandson, David, recalled. “I was always proud of him. He was told he wouldn’t live to the age of 40, and so what he did inspired me, because I found out two years ago I was diabetic.


“He lived life to the fullest, and I see so much of him in myself.’’

Three of his four sons, all Quincy residents, were varsity athletes at Quincy High.

“On game days, he’d pack a lunch and a thermos of coffee before going to the press box. In my senior year at Quincy High I would spot for him,’’ said his son, Brian, a former basketball captain at Curry College in Milton.

“On the day he was honored, he was so proud to be able to announce at his grandson’s final high school game.’’

Djerf also leaves his wife of 58 years, Shirley (McGowan), a nurse who worked in the Quincy office of Djerf’s father, pediatrician Charles Djerf, whom Russell Djerf called “the town doctor.’’

A youth basketball official who played recreationally until his 50s when his illness forced him off the court, Djerf took up bicycle riding, became a Life Master in bridge, and enjoyed tutoring his children and grandchildren in math.

Djerf also officiated at Quincy middle and high school track meets — timing races and measuring shot-put and long-jump distances — and he always found time to watch his granddaughters compete in track and soccer.

MacVarish making his mark at college

Braintree’s James MacVarish, a cross-country runner at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, has been the Buccaneers’ top performer in each of their first four races while earning a pair of Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week honors.

The latest came after a 10th-place individual finish (28:48 over the 8K course) Sept. 28 at the Elms Blazer Invitational.

“It’s not very often that a freshman athlete will perform like a veteran in their first collegiate competition, but that was certainly the case with James,” said Mass. Maritime head coach Chris Ryan. “He thrives on competition and simply does not want to be beaten, and you can’t coach that kind of intensity.’’

MacVarish was a four-year letter winner and cross-country captain at Norfolk County Agricultural High School.

1990 UMass-Boston tennis team honored

The 1990 University of Massachusetts Boston men’s tennis squad — the first Beacons team to win a Little East Conference championship — will be inducted Thursday into the university’s athletic hall of fame. Coached by Michael Bradley, they posted an 11-1 record while holding a 93-15 advantage in matches.

A pair of Quincy residents, freshman Oscar Jara (12-0 at first doubles) and junior Tom Savoie (16-0 second singles, 13-1 doubles), led the way. Also on the roster: juniors Dave Bouley and Bob Wright and freshman Tom Esper of Braintree, sophomore Jeff Kearns of Milton, and sophomore Pat Finnegan of Quincy.

Bentley’s Stoddard a hit on golf course

Bentley University junior Jon Stoddard was individual runner-up at the recent two-day Northeast-10 Conference Golf Championships, helping the Falcons finish second. Stoddard had his best 36-hole score as a collegian (145) and was named to the all-conference first team.

“Jon came into his own last spring and helped our team qualify for the NCAA regionals,” said Bentley coach Mickey Herron. “He’s averaged a shade over 75 in his last four events despite playing all over New England on new courses, sometimes in bad weather.

“He’s a very tough competitor who combines length and accuracy off the tee with a very useful short game.’’

Stoddard was a Globe All-Scholastic and member of back-to-back Division 2 state championship golf teams at Duxbury High coached by his father, Jack.

Marvin Pave can be reached at