Coach Jack Harold Kidwell Sr. passed into Glory on Friday evening, April 25, 2014.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Eleanor Anderson Kidwell; mother, Gladys Manes Kidwell; and father, O.M. Kidwell.
He is survived by wife, Martha Kidwell of Cleveland; sons and daughters-in-law: Jack Jr. and Linda Kidwell of Cleveland, Barry and Diana Kidwell of Chattanooga, Lance and Alicia Kidwell of Cleveland, Tim and Karen Kidwell of Cohutta, Ga.; daughters and sons-in-law: Tera and Russ Witcher of Cookeville and Melissa and Sean Torbett of Cohutta, Ga.; 15 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
He attended Knoxville Central High School and was competitive in track and football at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where he earned his bachelor of science in education and physical education and a minor in history. He earned two master of science degrees from the University of Tennessee system, one in psychology and one in education.
After marrying Eleanor Jane Anderson in August of 1954, the couple moved to New Orleans, where they would begin their family of four sons. During his time in New Orleans, his love of sports led to semi-professional stints in football and basketball. He also earned a brown belt in judo. He was physical director of the YMCA in New Orleans from 1954-1963 and went on to be general secretary of the YMCA in Cleveland from 1963 to 1967.
He and Eleanor owned and operated Kiddie Kollege Daycare/Preschool. From the YMCA, he entered the education profession and served as history teacher and head coach of girls basketball, assistant football and track coach at Cleveland High School. His teams won many district and regional championships in the early years of Cleveland High School. He also served as assistant principal at Cleveland High School, was Project 714 coordinator and was a Teen Learning Center educator. He worked at some of the local elementary schools as a P.E. teacher as well.
In his capacity as a lifelong educator and coach, thousands of young lives were positively influenced by his direction and compassion.
Following the death of his first wife in 1982, he married Martha Allen Billings in November 1984 and became the father of two daughters. Traveling was a passion for Martha and Jack. Together, they traveled and led educational tours to most European countries, South America, Australia, Northern Africa, Egypt, Russia and Scandinavia, to name a few. Through their travels, they provided many students and adults the opportunity to see the world.
He was a man of integrity with deep faith in God. He was always willing to help anyone who needed assistance of any kind. He loved well, was loved well and will be missed by many.
A Remembrance of Life service will be held at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 29, 2014, at Wesley United Methodist Church.
The family will receive friends this evening from 5 until 8 p.m. at the North Ocoee Street Chapel of the Jim Rush Funeral Homes. The family will also receive friends Tuesday from 3 p.m. until the service time at the church.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Jack’s honor to Mustard Tree Ministry, P.O. Box 4002, Chattanooga, TN, 37405.
We encourage you to share your memories and/or condolences with Coach Kidwell’s family by going to www.jimrushfuneralhomes.com.