James W. Engelhard, Sr., 88, of Roscommon, died Jan. 30, 2018 at McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey.
He was born in Crosby, Minnesota in 1929 to Raymond “Jake” and Leona (Rochon) Engelhard. He graduated from Ishpeming High School and played in the U.P. High School All Star football game in 1946. In 1947, he attended Central Methodist College in Missouri on a football scholarship where he was a standout player.
He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War and served honorably. After his discharge, he began a career in teaching and coaching at Mt. Morris High School. He met the love of his life and wife of over 59 years, Patricia (Huffman) in Tustin, Michigan, where he taught and coached basketball. He moved to Roscommon in 1962 and in 1963 became the head football coach at then Gerrish-Higgins High School.
In 1975 he became the head boys basketball coach and turned a program that had lost all 21 games in 1974 into Regional champions in two years. He also coached the girls basketball and track teams, and built them into successful programs. As a teacher and coach, he was “second to none” in the words of fellow coach Tom Weede.
He loved to fish, golf and spend time with his wife (with whom he had wonderful adventures), his two children, three granddaughters and two great-grandsons.
He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Patricia; children, Jim Jr. (Pamela) of Roswell, NM and Julie (Bobby) Huerta of Universal City, TX; granddaughters, Rachel (Tommy) Veitch of 29 Palms, CA, Emilee Engelhard of Albuquerque, NM and Madison Engelhard of Hollywood, CA; great-grandsons, Addison and Finnegan Veitch of 29 Palms, CA; brother, John (Jean) of Pte. Roberts, WA; sisters-in-law Beverly (Don) Johnson of Tucson, AZ and Marilyn Smith of Tucson, AZ, and several beloved nieces and nephews, friends, former students and ballplayers.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Tom and his wife Lori; and sisters, Lois Hart and Eve Hill.
A Life Celebration will be held 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10 at the CRAF Center in Roscommon.
Memorials are requested to the Roscommon Area District Library, P.O. Box 888, Roscommon, MI 48653.
Arrangements are by Walsh Funeral Home, Roscommon.
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