Boxford — John "Spike" Boda, 78, passed away peacefully at Mass General Hospital after a long illness. He was surrounded by family.
Spike grew up in Lawrence and graduated from Lawrence High in 1952, with his high school sweetheart, Angela Manzi. He was in the Naval Reserves from 1954 through 1962 and was elected to the PGA of America in 1958.
Growing up at Andover Country Club, Spike worked as a caddymaster and assistant pro until 1967 under his dad, John E. Boda Sr., who was the head pro since 1945. In 1968 Spike got his first job as a head pro at The International Golf Club in Bolton, Mass., where he spent 7 years and still holds the course record. After his father’s passing Spike decided to leave the IGC and fill the vacant head pro position, carrying on the family name at Andover C.C. Spike made an indelible mark on the Merrimack Valley. He remained there until 2004, three-plus decades, a mainstay in one of the most beautiful golf courses in the state. It was a long career at one place, where he came in contact with thousands of members throughout his three decades as head pro at Andover C.C.
He had a profound effect on many people at the club, including a former junior player, Mike Menery, whose father, Mike Sr., was a member. Mike Sr. died of cancer when Mike was 20 years old. On his death bed, he told Spike to take care of his son.
"The first phone call I got after my father died was from Spike," recalled Menery, who worked odd jobs at the club. "He said 'I'm going to be your father now, and was."
Menery became an assistant pro under Spike in 1990, and eventually took over as head pro when Spike retired in 2004. "It was a privilege to have Spike Boda as my mentor. Not only in golf, but in life."