Donald Kardok, 87, passed away on April 15, shortly after being diagnosed with cancer. Don was born at New Britain General Hospital in New Britain, Connecticut, July 29, 1926.
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Raised in New Britain, at the age of 17, Don enlisted in the Marines and joined the war effort in the South Pacific. He saw action on Saipan and Tinian and was wounded in action at Iwo Jima on March 8, 1945, for which he was awarded the Purple Heart. After several years of physical rehabilitation and surgeries, Don entered Moorehead State College where he was Drama Critic for the school paper and Captain of the track team. Graduating Moorehead in 1953, Don went on to complete graduate studies at Columbia University, New York City, earning an M.A. in Physical Education and Medicine on June 1, 1955.
After teaching and coaching at Stockdale High School in Ohio and at Birch-Wathen School in New York City, Don and his family settled at Fountain Valley in 1969 where he accepted the Director of Athletics position. At Fountain Valley, Don coached baseball, track, football and basketball. Don, fondly known as "Coach K", was well loved by his players and made all feel like they were part of his extended family. Over the years, Don coached and influenced hundreds of young people and his impact on their lives is evident in the many awards and accolades bestowed on him by his athletes and alumni.
Not just a coach, Don was also a successful athlete in his own right. He participated nationally and internationally for many years in Masters Track and Field events, competing in the high jump and discus events and at one time was co-holder of the world record in the high jump for men over thirty.
Don was preceded in death by his sister Valerie and by his son Don (Butchie). He is survived by his brother Charles, son Tim, daughter Kathy, and grandchildren Kristopher, Ryan, and Katie.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to The Fountain Valley School Scholarship Fund, 6155 Fountain Valley School Rd, Colorado Springs, CO.
Don's remains will be interned at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia in a private service. A public celebration of life will be held on Saturday, June 21st at 5 PM. Location: Fountain Valley School Chapel, 6155 Fountain Valley School Rd, Colorado Springs, CO.
Published in The Gazette on June 8, 2014