The Bosa family is centered in southeastern Florida now, has been really since that cold, snow-foreboding April Tuesday morning on Page Street in Keene some 31 years ago. That’s when Don Shula called the family landline of Doris and Dr. Arthur Bosa. Everything changed thereon.
A handful of reporters, friends and family shared that moment when the legendary Miami Dolphins coach informed John Bosa he was being selected 16th overall in the first round of the 1987 NFL Draft. Shula was on the phone with Bosa even as NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle was live on ESPN, announcing Miami’s pick.
The tension of the morning turned into an afternoon whirlwind, heightened when the Dolphins took running back Troy Stradford in the fourth round. Stradford and Bosa were teammates and best friends at Boston College, and had been in Keene together speaking at a Sunday morning breakfast just a couple of weeks earlier. Bosa was the decorum of low-key professionalism throughout the day, but the excitement in his voice was palpable when he got on the phone with Stradford.
Quietly taking it all in, offering food and drinks and warm greetings to a revolving door of visitors including the mayor, were John’s proud parents, Doris and Doc Bosa.
John drove to Boston that evening in a snowstorm, but his flight out of Logan the next morning was cancelled. When he finally stepped into the warm, Florida sunshine that Thursday, he never looked back. Two knee blowouts derailed his football career after only three years, but he had invested his first-round bounty wisely and chose sun over snow. His brother, Marc, would later follow him to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and that’s where John and his wife, Cheryl, would put down their roots and raise their two sons. But Keene has always been home to their parents.
Today, Joey and Nick Bosa are football bluebloods — Joey is a stalwart defensive lineman with the Los Angeles Chargers and Nick could be the first player chosen in the 2019 NFL Draft, depending on how his junior year goes at Ohio State. Both play defensive end, like their father. Even Stradford settled in Fort Lauderdale, the host of a sports talk radio show.
Doris and Doc Bosa? They never left Keene, never left Page Street.
Doc died on Friday, at home, at the age of 92. He and Doris were married for more than 63 years.
Doc Bosa was embedded in Keene, a podiatrist who loved what he did, and a man of deep faith. He was a fixture at St. Bernard Church in Keene for decades. It took little prompting to get him talking about his famous football-playing son and grandsons, but Keene was home and friendships were lifelong.
His obituary embodied his personality: simple in form, elegant in prose, devoid of hyperbole. Three short, heartfelt sentences describe a life well-lived:
“His whole life centered on his love of caring for people. He truly loved his work as a podiatrist and being able to help others. That love was returned to him full-circle, creating many friendships that he cherished over the years.”
Doc was one of the first people I met upon moving to Keene 31 years ago; I had been with The Sentinel for about a month when I spent the 1987 draft in his home. We weren’t close friends but often ran into each other and reminisced about that day. He would update me on the latest feats of his grandsons, and we’d share some laughs.
For some reason, he always reminded me of the Moonlight “Doc” Graham character played by Burt Lancaster in “Field of Dreams.” They may have differed in physical stature, but they carried themselves with similar grace. Doc Bosa loved living in a small community. I almost expect to look up at The Colonial Theatre marquee and see that “The Godfather” is playing.