He is a Chelsea legend in every sense of the word: coaching, teaching, parenting – and of course, competing in high school and collegiate sports.
And the last person who would describe himself in that way would be Joseph Bevere Sr. himself, who will celebrate his 90th birthday next week.
He is above all modest about his incredible athletic career that earned him a scholarship to Drake University in Iowa where he became a Collier’s Magazine Division 1 All-American punter. Yes, Joe Bevere was the best punter in the land in 1951, even eclipsing BU’s Harry Agganis on that esteemed list. While a tryout with the National Football League was an option, Joe Bevere went on to fight for his country in the Korean War before returning to Drake to receive his degree.
The Joe Bevere Story Begins in Chelsea
Joseph Bevere Sr. grew up in Chelsea and attended Our Lady of Grace School through eighth grade. He went to Carter Junior High Schol for ninth grade and graduated from Chelsea High in 1949.
He was a multi-talented athlete while wearing the Chelsea High Red Devils uniform. He was captain of the football team and baseball team his senior year and named the most outstanding athlete in his class.
Playing before packed stadiums in Chelsea and Everett, Bevere was twice named the MVP of the famous Chelsea-Everett Thanksgiving Game.
Raising a Family in Chelsea
Joe Bevere Sr. met the love of his life, Kay Francis Cameron Bevere and they married in 1961.
Together at their home on Lawrence Street close to the high school where Joe Bevere first made a name for himself in sports, Joe and Kay Bevere raised three beautiful and personable children, Jackie, Jolene, and Joe Jr.
Jackie and Jolene were each crowned Miss Chelsea in local pageants and later captained Chelsea High cheerleading teams. Jackie is currently the principal of the John Silber Learning Center in Chelsea. Jolene is also a success in her career. Joe Jr. is nobly protecting and serving the people of Chelsea as a sergeant in the Chelsea Police Department.
Larry Notkin is among many in Chelsea who knows of the athletic accomplishments of both Joe Bevere Sr. and Joe Bevere Jr.
“Joe Bevere was a tremendous athlete and highly respected schoolteacher,” said Notkin. “He and his wife, Kay, were so supportive and proud of their three children. You’d never know that Joe Bevere was an All-American football player by talking to him. He never spoke of his own achievements in sports. He was very humble.”
Notkin said he also had the honor of coaching Joe Bevere Jr. in the Chelsea Youth Baseball League. As a former umpire in the Chelsea Little League, he recognized early on the towering talents and incredible potential of Joe Bevere Jr.
“I drafted Joe Jr. with our No. 1 pick,” recalled Notkin. “He lived up to all the expectations. We (the Royals) won multiple championships. He was an amazing pitcher and shortstop, but I put him in the outfield when he wasn’t pitching so I could rest his arm. He was the MVP, one of the best players I ever coached.”
Joe Jr., no doubt inheriting his father’s prowess, was also the No. 1 draft pick in the Chelsea Youth Baseball League. Considering basketball was probably his fourth best sport, it speaks to the widely held belief that Joe Bevere Jr. may be the best all-around in the city’s history -though he took his mountain of talents to Malden Catholic (and later San Diego City College).
Coaching at Chelsea High School
After starting his career as a substitute teacher in Everett, Joe Bevere Sr. became a full-time teacher at Williams Junior High School in 1961. In 1962, he started his head coaching career as the head coach of the Chelsea High baseball team.
His teams representing Chelsea High, the smallest school in the Greater Boston League, were always the most fundamentally sound and sportsmanlike. Joe Bevere Sr. was a teacher first and coach second, instilling in his players lessons about life that they would carry with them for a lifetime.
Bevere’s 1975 CHS baseball team, led by such outstanding players as Bobby Spinney, Mike Lush, Robert Ham, Kevin Veator, Tom Duval, Jerry Dion, Bobby Rogers, and David Nalchajian, captured the Division 2 Eastern Mass. championship.
Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson fondly remembers Joe Bevere as a coach and one of his teachers at the Williams School.
“He was one of my favorite all-time teachers,” recalled Robinson. “He taught you about life and he taught you discipline. He was a fair man and good man and most of all I can say he is my friend from seventh grade, eighth grade and ninth grade in the Williams School all the way up until today.”
Enjoying his Retirement
Joe Bevere retired from coaching in 1990 after 28 years and from teaching in 1993 after a distinguished 32-year career.
He is enjoying his retirement and loves spending time with his grandchildren. He lives part of the year in Florida away from the cold winters of New England.
“We are very proud of our father and know that our mother Kay has been looking down over Dad and us since she left us in 2005,” said Joe Bevere Jr. speaking on behalf of Jackie and Jolene as well.
Joe Bevere Jr. also related in his eloquent words why his father was so beloved and respected by his students and players.
“My father had a positive influence on the many students that he taught and coached throughout his career,” said Joe Jr. “He wasn’t the easiest coach or teacher, but he taught them the right way to live their lives and be successful.”
And for that, there are grateful Chelsea High graduates everywhere that wish Joe Bevere a happy 90th birthday and continued health in his retirement.