John Paul Ambrose Jr., a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning contractor who was a professional football player for the Baltimore Colts in 1954, died of cancer Friday at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was 74.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., he boxed in Golden Gloves competitions and served as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division from 1945 to 1947.
He earned a bachelor's degree in the early 1950s at the Newark College of Engineering in New Jersey and attended Arizona State University, where he played football as a running back.
He was drafted by the Colts in 1954 and played part of that season. He then began a long career in heating, ventilation and air-conditioning sales.
From 1976 to 1992, he owned J.P. Ambrose Associates in New York City. After moving to Maryland from Greenwich, Conn., in 1992, he was president of Potomac Environmental & Power Technologies Inc. in Beltsville until his death.
A 12-year resident of Annapolis, he was active in St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, including the choir. He also enjoyed water sports and was a strong supporter of the U.S. Naval Academy's sailing program.
In 1952, he married Virginia McKeon. The couple divorced in 1979. Mr. Ambrose later married Lisa Holsapple.
A funeral Mass will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at St. Mary's, 109 Duke of Gloucester St., Annapolis.
In addition to his wife, survivors include four sons, John Ambrose III and Christopher Ambrose, both of Annapolis, Anthony Ambrose of Bolingbrook, Ill., and James Ambrose of Glassboro, N.J.; six daughters, Terese Donovan of Powhatan, Va., Donna Deford of Tega Cay, S.C., Virginia Galicher of Brewster, N.Y., Edith Clarke of Lake Oswego, Ore., Catherine Love of Hellertown, Pa., and Meddaugh Ambrose of Annapolis.
Also surviving are three sisters, Aileen McGrail of Yonkers, N.Y., Edith Kelly of Long Island, N.Y., and Margaret Mary Shea of Texas; and 30 grandchildren.