E. John “Jack” Tamblyn is this year’s recipient of the Varsity D Association’s Athletic Citation for his accomplishments as an athlete at Denison and for his lifelong contributions to the Denison football program. The presentation will be posthumous, as Tamblyn passed away in 2003 at the age of 85.
Tamblyn was a three-year letter winner in football, a two-year letter winner in basketball, and a two-year letter winner in baseball. On the football field, Tamblyn enjoyed his best season in 1938 as a halfback on Denison’s 6-2 squad. He was named to the Ohio Conference All-Star team as a senior and was honored as Little All-American as well as All-Phi Delta Theta in 1938. In 1937, Tamblyn’s Denison football team captured the Ohio Conference divisional championship. In two seasons of basketball and baseball he would play guard and third base, respectively.
After earning his bachelor’s degree from Denison, Tamblyn went on to Wayne State University before enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1941, and later in the U.S. Navy. He would go on to earn the rank of Ensign while serving in the Navy during World War II. After leaving the military, Tamblyn worked in sales, then partnering to open a restaurant chain. In 1974, he opened a manufacturer’s representative business named NY-TAM, Inc., where he would remain as president, even following his retirement. A devoted lover of sports, Jack spent countless hours coaching youth athletics while also serving as chairman of the Detroit Boat Club’s swimming committee and the Grosse Pointe Senior Men’s Tennis Club.
Jack was married to his wife, Barbara, for 61 years. They had three children; son Jack; and daughters Nancy and Peggy, along with six grandchildren.
His undying love of Denison athletics never wavered. Since his passing, at the conclusion of preseason training camp, the entire Big Red football team is treated to a meal at a local restaurant that is paid for annually by Tamblyn. “Dinner on Jack” has become a treasured tradition of the Denison football program. Tamblyn’s legacy also lives on today through the establishment of the Jack Tamblyn Memorial Award which is presented annually to the member of the Denison football team who demonstrates the highest degree of integrity, enthusiasm, team spirit, dedication and love of the game throughout the season.