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Vergil Fletcher Obituary
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December 03, 2016

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December 03, 2016

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 Memories & Condolences
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October 22, 2010
My name is Bill Adams. I was JUST out of college and took a chance and drove 300 miles to visit Coach Fletcher. I knocked on his door and told him who I was and what I had done. He graciously invited me in. We spent that whole Saturday talking basketball. I told him how much I wanted to learn from him and he invited me back, and back, and back. Finally He offered to mentor me. I worked with Coach Fletcher off and on for a few years on completely understanding all the details of The Ball Press Defense. I started coaching at Highland Park High School and eventually went into Christian School education. I coached for over 25 years and had a record of 520-105. I owe that and so much more to Coach and his wife for their grasciousness and loving kindness. What a gift he gave me !!! My coaching career would have turned out very different without Coach Fletcher and The Ball Press. The Lord blessed me greatly through Coach Fletcher.
May 20, 2010
Our deepest sympathy for your loss of a very special man.

I'd like to think you remember me, Jeri (Hoffman)Dennis. I was Marlene's roommate in college. I remember the wonderful times I had visiting at your home in Collinsville and attending games in Champaign. I was so proud to know "The Coach"! Even people from north of Chicago knew Coach Fletcher. A fun memory was one evening during the games in Champaign Marlene and I went to the motel room in which her parents were staying. Coach Fletcher's shoes were sitting under the desk so I proceeded to put them on and upon finding out they fit I was able to then claim to be able to "fill Coach Fletcher's shoes!" I remember, so well, Mrs Fletcher being the most ardent fan in the bleachers.
Thank you for the fond memories. My husband, Bill, and I wish all of you sincere condolences and God's blessings. Jeri Hoffman Dennis
April 12, 2010
My sincere sympathies to Coach Fletcher's family, and to his many friends and colleagues.

We moved to Collinsville a few months after Collinsville won the 1965 state championship. I was a nerd kid, book smart, socially lost, athletically inept, absolutely incapable of making a basket. Yet the friendly kids in my neighborhood, under Coach Fletcher's pervasive influence, played a lot of sports, especially basketball, so I did too. By the time school started things I'd improved. Then a friend persuaded me to run cross-country, where I consistently finished last - but it helped my endurance. Then over the next few years I played lots of basketball both in P.E. and out of school. Though never good, I grew to love basketball. Now, many years later I still play regularly. For this I thank Coach Fletcher. It wasn't just athletes whose lives he improved. It enhanced my whole life.

I enjoyed reading how he demanded academic seriousness from his athletes. This wasn't rigidity. I'm pretty sure he saw they needed this to become better individuals. I had a contrasting experience. Once my biology teacher made me miss cross-country practice. I was irrelevant to the team's success. But Coach Fletcher and Coach Gatewood found this disturbing. Likely they saw I needed athletics and not academics to become a better-rounded person, so had my long-term best interest in mind. Had I been a good athlete with a cavalier attitude toward school I'll bet they would've felt differently.

In 1967 I had the privilege of working under Coach Fletcher's daughter Marian on the yearbook. I wasn't very good at this either, so needed coaching. As a coach, like her Dad, she was solid, and was remarkably lacking in self-centeredness for a teenager. If she felt being Coach's daughter gave her any special rights, besides a duty to do her work well and help others, I never saw it. As an editor, like Coach Fletcher, she was able to focus on the task at hand and the individuals around her, capable of being kind when appropriate and direct when required. I assume all Coach Fletcher's kids are much like this. If so this alone is quite a contribution to the world.

I hardly knew Coach Fletcher. Nevertheless, the things he created, the forces he set in motion, and the people he influenced had a huge impact on my life. This enhanced my ability to appreciate life and be useful to others. There must be hundreds of thousands of people like me whose lives have been or will be blessed indirectly, through those who knew him - even if many persons removed from the start of the chain.

Someone like Coach Fletcher doesn't really die, except physically. Individuals pass; souls live. But even on earth he leaves a huge powerful vibrant influence that is a continuing source of good. What a wonderful example of what one person can accomplish by living well, day by day! Coach Fletcher, thank you.

Walter Chao CHS '68
Pembroke Pines, Florida
February 5, 2010
My deepest sympathies to the entire Harris Family. I have many fond "Harris Family" memories while hanging out with Brenda and the boys. Back in the day, Mrs. Harris was like my second Mom. Actually, she was like a second Mom to many of the neighborhood kids. Not a day would go by without 20 or so kids in her front yard/street. She always enjoyed having us around. She will be missed by many and my thoughts and prayers go out to her wonderful family. Love to all, Diane (Gerst) Kleinhoffer
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