Monday, March 05, 2007

In Memoriam: Mr. Garry: 1926 - 2007

Jim Garry passed away Sunday at age 80. He was the coach of the Fort Cherry H.S. Rangers for more than 40 years and for a season or so before that at the old McDonald High School. He was a good, humble man whose presence on the sidelines, around town and at church has been missed since his heath began to decline a few years back. Mr. Garry taught me how to drive, too.

My cousin, Luke Snatchko, sent me this e-mail earlier today that describes extremely well how many of us felt about Mr. Garry:

I read today that Jim Garry passed away. What a huge loss for the McDonald community.

Coach Garry influenced thousands of young men over the years directly and hundreds of thousands indirectly, including myself. During his 40-plus years at Fort Cherry, he produced two NFL coaches, numerous NFL players, scores of div I prospects and thousands of good men. You always knew what you would get with his teams ... Line up, let his big farm boys blow you off the ball and run the ball well. He coached eight uncles and dozens of cousins and friends of mine and all my youth football coaches. In his coaching he never tried to fool anybody, he dared you to stop him and his teams. A good formula for life.

I spoke to Coach annually growing up and he always made a great impression. He was a regular at the family greenhouse every spring and I always made a point to ask him about the prior season and the one coming up.

The conversation would always get around to how many of my relatives he coached and what good people they were (including your dad). When he stopped showing up a couple years ago, everyone noticed. He always left you with something to think about and you felt better after talking to him.

Jiminy Crickets...

Truly a sad day. My heart goes out to my friends at Fort Cherry.

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