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ATHENS: Donald Richard "Coach" Eskey, age 85 of Athens died Sunday, March 23, 2014 at Good Samaritan Society-Arlington, Ohio. Don had been a resident there the last two months.
Born August 4, 1928 in Duncan Falls, he was the son of the late Matthew and Josephine Braun Eskey.
Don graduated from Philo High School in 1946, where he lettered in football and also played reserve basketball and baseball. He joined the U.S. Navy in June of 1946 and proudly served his country for two years. He served aboard the USS Providence. He graduated from Ohio University in 1953, played on the football team and earning two varsity letters. He began his coaching and teaching career in 1953 at Anderson Township High School in Hamilton County, where he coached football and junior high school track. During the years between 1954 and 1956, he coached football, reserve basketball and junior high school track at Springfield Local High School in Jefferson County.
In 1957, Don returned to Athens as football and track coach, also teaching physical education and health at Athens High School. Don loved teaching high schoolers and would agree with the quote: "Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day of your life." He earned his Master's Degree from West Virginia University in 1961. At Athens High School, Don was head track coach from 1957 until 1966 and head football coach from 1957 until 1970. During his tenure as head coach, he posted a record of 78-45-3. Three of his football teams won the South Eastern Ohio Athletic League Championship and the 1965 team went undefeated and was ranked 9th in the state. Don was coach of the year in the SEOAL four times during his fourteen year coaching span. His total of 78 victories ranks first in the school's history. He was inducted into the Athens High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992. The east end of the high school's football stadium was named Eskey End Zone in 2005. He retired from teaching in 1983.
Most important in Don's life was his faith. He was a member of The First Presbyterian Church in Athens for over 50 years and served on the Board of Deacons. He seldom missed a Sunday and read the Bible through several times during his life.
Don enjoyed listening to music, especially Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves, and Jimmie Rodgers. If there was a song played, Don was dancing and clapping his hands. He enjoyed growing a garden, hiking at Strouds Run, and riding his bike. He built several houses in Athens, often in the summer when he wasn't teaching.
Don is survived by a daughter, Karen (Steve) Inbody of Arlington; two sons, Mark (Marla) Eskey of Junction City and Kevin Eskey of Albany; six grandchildren, Rachel (Dave) Lupia, Rebecca (James) Grady, Joshua (Jennifer) Eskey, Trent (Natalie) Eskey, Nick (Diana) Inbody, Stefan Inbody; three step grandchildren, Mitchell Bowers, Tony (Dawn) Donofrio and Michael Donofrio; ten great grandchildren, Katelyn, Gabriel, Logan, Tyler, Jadyn, Emma, Jayce, Abbey, Dominic and Dante; a sister, Diane Caton of Zanesville and a brother, Marty (Lois) Eskey of Buckeye Lake.
Besides his parents he is preceded in death by his wife of sixty years, Mary Trout Eskey in 2011; a son, Todd Eskey; a sister, Natalie Watts; and a brother, Lawrence Eskey.
Funeral service will be conducted Friday 11:00am at Jagers & Sons Funeral Home, Athens with Rev. Robert Martin officiating. Burial will be in West Union St. Cemetery. Friends may call Thursday 2-4 and 6-8pm at the funeral home. Military rites will be conducted by K.T. Crossen Post 21 American Legion, VFW Post 3477 and VFW Post 9893 Honor Guards at the cemetery.
In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the Don Eskey Scholarship Fund, c/o The McClure Foundation, 25 S. Plains Rd., The Plains, OH 45780 or the
National Office, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17, Chicago, IL 60601. Please share a memory, a note of condolence, or sign the online register book at www.jagersfuneralhome.com
Jagers and Sons Funeral Home - Athens
24 Morris Ave.
Athens, OH 45701
Published in the Times Recorder on Mar. 27, 2014