Pelham man puts his adventures down in autobiography
“Titus” is the life story of a highly accomplished athlete, chiropractor, family man and political activist, who grew up in Lowell, Mass., and lives in Pelham.
“Trying to excel, driving toward excellence, rather than mediocrity, that’s been my theme,” said Plomaritis, who’s 83. “That’s the theme of the book, really.”
Plomaritis is a Lowell High School football legend, known for leading his team to victory over rival Lawrence High in the Thanksgiving Day, 1948, football game watched by more than 14,000 fans.
Lowell won the game 20-19 when Plomaritis, a diminutive, hard-running halfback, scored with just four seconds left and kicked the winning extra point. He scored all of his team’s points that day, and the game capped an undefeated season.
The hardcover book is filled with black-and-white photos and includes articles from several newspapers, including the Union Leader and The Salem Observer. It was edited by former Lowell Sun sportswriter Sam Weisberg, a friend of the author. Plomaritis spent seven years writing the book, which he dedicated to his wife, Claire.
“He has received continuous encouragement from his children and grandchildren over the past several years, to put on paper the stories that they never seem to get tired of hearing,” reads a portion of the book jacket about the author. “These stories are what you are about to read.”
Plomaritis, born Sept. 6, 1929, is the third of seven children born to Greek immigrants. His father, Plomaritis recalls, was a “mean but honest” man who ran a barber shop in Lowell and had been paired with his wife through an arranged marriage.
In the book, Plomaritis writes that his father wanted him to drop out of Lowell High when he was only a 15-year-old freshman in order to go to work and help pay the household’s expenses.
When Plomaritis told the school’s headmaster about this, he, the school superintendent and the athletic director arranged to take Plomaritis in a police car to the barber shop to let Plomaritis’ father know that it was against the law to remove the boy from school before he turned 16 and he would go to jail if he didn’t allow his son to stay in school.
“That was customary in Greece, in the old country. When the kids got to be old enough, they were to get a job and (help) feed the rest of (the family),” Plomaritis said. “There were seven kids in the family. When you were 14 you were expected to go to work and bring the money in.”
Plomaritis went on to become a 17-year-old U.S. Army paratrooper, a Boston University gridiron standout, a successful chiropractor, a founding member and director of Pelham Bank and Trust Co., and he devoted a great deal of his time to charitable and community organizations.
He and Claire, who became Pelham’s first female legislator when she was elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives in 1976, raised four children.
Plomaritis met Claire at a dance, and one of the book’s funnier stories describes her eventually agreeing to be his senior prom date after asking her father for permission. Just 2-1/2 years before she married Plomaritis, Claire told her father, “Dad, I’m only going to the prom with him, not marrying him!”
“I’m still madly in love with her,” said Plomaritis, who’s been married to Claire for 61 years. “It’s one of the better stories in the book.”
Plomaritis, too, was active in Democratic politics. He was the personal photographer to Gov. Hugh Gallen, whose first appointment in office was naming Plomaritis to the New Hampshire Board of Chiropractic Examiners.
Plomaritis, who hosted First Lady Rosalynn Carter at his Pelham home with Claire in 1979, was on a first-name basis with her husband when he was president.
In the book, Plomaritis shares that Jimmy Carter, at his urging, intervened to remove a restrictive clause in a Medicare bill that would have mandated a referral from a medical physician before a patient would be covered and treated by a chiropractor.
At the time, Plomaritis was chairman of the New Hampshire Chiropractic Political Action Committee. When he told Gallen in his State House office that he couldn’t rally his fellow chiropractors to support Carter’s re-election because of the bill, Gallen called the White House and put Plomaritis on the phone with the president.