Paul Hoynes: Firm Foundation

Firm Foundation: Paul Hoynes
by Ken Callahan

In the book Irish Americans and Their Communities in Cleveland, the authors note the obvious phenomenon of the tendency of the Irish Americans of Greater Cleveland to radiate out, on both sides of the river, parish by parish. It is asserted therein that on the east side, from the Cathedral Parish, Immaculate Conception, St. Philomena, St. Aloisius, and finally, to St. Ann’s, “the last Irish parish on the east side.”

St. Ann’s was founded and established almost single handedly by Fr. John Mary Powers, who, as an assistant at St. Thomas, was directed to do so by Bishop Farley in 1915. Fr. Powers remained in his leadership role for fifty-one years.

Between 1954 and 1970, the elementary school enrolled an average of 1,250 students a year. Fr. Powers was a relentless advocate for fair housing, for theatre, and in pursuit of his singular and successful construction of the current Church and its unique furnishings.

Among those students was future and now longtime Cleveland.com/Plain Dealer sportswriter Paul Hoynes and his siblings. Paul’s dad, “Jimmy” Hoynes, also grew up in the parish – the family business was Central Electrotype on East 22nd.

Paul’s mom, Billie Marie (nee Cook), a native of Saskatchewan, met Jim on vacation to a farm owned by Billy’s dad in Kingston, Ontario. Billie Marie was the daughter of Bill Cook, and niece of Bun Cook, both of whom are in the NHL Hall of Fame, having played with the New York Rangers in the 1920s and 1930s.

Cleveland’s Al Sutphin, who owned the old Arena, hired Bill Cook to coach the Cleveland Barons of the AHL. Bun Cook also coached the Barons for several years. 

Paul‘s grandfather, Dan Hoynes, traced his roots to County Mayo; he married Loretta McDonnell of the famous Cleveland Heights and St. Ann family that produced, among others, former presiding Judge Nancy and attorneys Jim and Billy. Billy is always among the color guard for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Paul was a twin to Mary Claire (deceased), brother Billy and sisters Susan and Patricia “Tish.” He attended Cathedral Latin High School and graduated from Marquette with a degree in journalism.  

Paul’s early career in sports writing was by necessity, and given the vicissitudes of the newspaper business, varied. He began covering all sorts of sports from the now-departed Painesville Telegraph, including high school sports, but also Little League baseball.

He later moved to the News-Herald, where he focused on the Browns and sports generally. Like a desert traveler, he moved to the Cleveland Press, until that proud institution succumbed to the market realities that would no longer support an evening and morning paper in a single market.

Paul eventually returned to the News-Herald, where he was assigned to the Cleveland Indians. Finally, he was hired by The Cleveland Plain Dealer and then moved to Cleveland.com (owned by the same company as The Plain Dealer), where he will begin his 37th year covering the Indians, when spring training begins Feb. 11 in Goodyear, Arizona.

Including spring training, that is north of 6,000 baseball games for the PD/Cleveland.com alone. When asked how much travel that requires, he replied: “Well, I have 300,00 Marriot points.”  He guesses he flies 100,000 miles a year, and never on the team plane like others in the media, because of the constant pressure of deadline.

On growing up in the St. Ann community, Paul says the Catholic, “environment was a big part of my life.” My parents told us to, “always do the right thing – treat others the way you would want to be treated.”

Paul married Jackie Demeter, a teacher who became Superintendent of Schools in Mentor, where the couple resides. They have two boys, Ed and Jimmy and four grandchildren. 

It has always seemed to me that Cleveland has been fortunate to have some very good sports writers: Gordon Cobbledick, Chuck Heaton, Hal Lebovitz, Bob August, to mention a few. When Paul Hoynes leaves behind his last deadline and Marriot Point, he will be a member of that esteemed club, and part of Cleveland journalism history.

*Ken Callahan is a retired Common Pleas Judge and a partner at Hawkins & Company, LLC.. He is on the boards of Irish Archives and Irish American Law Society. He can be contacted at kcallahan@hawkinsandcompany.com.

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