Nathan W. "Nate" Kendig, 93, of Glen Mills, passed away on Friday, June 13, 2014, at his home at Maris Grove.
He was the devoted and loving husband of Catherine (Mundy) Kendig, with whom he shared a wonderful 61 years of marriage.
Nate was born in 1921 and raised on his family's farm in Bainbridge, Pa. It was there he would begin to develop his work ethic, self-discipline and patience, qualities he would one day pass along to his sons, students, athletes and campers.
He graduated from East Donegal High School, where he starred in football, basketball and captained the baseball team. Nate was heavily recruited by legendary coach Glen Killinger for both football and baseball, and he enrolled in West Chester State College in 1939 on a full athletic scholarship. By the time he was a sophomore he was lettering in football, basketball and baseball. Already considered a pro baseball prospect, he spent one summer playing minor league baseball in the Cincinnati Reds organization in Watertown, N.Y.
In late 1941, Nate's college career was interrupted by World War II and he left West Chester as he enlisted in the U.S. Army
. He was selected to be in the U.S. Rangers, an elite commando division of the army. He saw action in North Africa and Italy. Nate was awarded the Bronze Star
and a Purple Heart
for his heroic service to our country.
In 1945, Nate re-enrolled in West Chester State College and majored in social studies. Though no longer able to play football, he was able to letter in basketball, baseball and soccer. In baseball he batted .345 his senior year as a shortstop and remembers striking out three batters on nine pitches in one of his pitching performances. He was captain of the basketball team and the second-leading scorer. He was also elected president of his senior class. Voted the most courageous athlete prior to graduation in 1947, Nate was elected to the West Chester University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993. And, in 2011, Nate was inducted in to the Chester County Sports Hall of Fame.
Upon graduation from West Chester State College, Nate became a teacher at Spring City High School. During his five years there he was line coach in football and head coach in basketball and baseball. His teams won a league championship in both basketball and baseball.
Nate moved to Kennett High School in 1952 where he would become a coaching legend. He coached baseball from 1953 to 1961 and his teams were Southern Chester County League (SCCL) champions in 1953, 1955 and 1957. He also coached basketball from 1953 to 1968 and his teams won six straight SCCL championships from 1960 to 1965. Several of his teams won district playoff games.
Though Nate retired from coaching in 1968 he continued to work with young athletes as athletic director of Kennett High School, and subsequently vice principal, until his retirement from teaching in 1983.
In 1945, Nate joined the staff at Camp Kennebec in Belgrade, Maine, as a riding counselor. He also worked as the head of the commissary and was appointed head counselor from 1978 to 1987. Nate's career at Camp Kennebec was more than four decades where he worked to help young men grow and develop for later life. Many of his campers stayed in close contact with "Uncle Nate" through the years. In 2007, The Kennebec Campership Fund was created as a special honor for "Uncle Nate" in which money is raised to help send underprivileged children to camps throughout New England.
In addition to his wife, Nate is survived by his sons, Kevin (Veronica) of Sarasota, Fla., Terrance (Anna Marie) of Newark, Del., and David (Deborah) of Ivyland, Pa.; and two adored grandchildren, David Jr. (Duke) and Devon; along with several nephews and nieces to left cherish his memory.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Nathan S. and Annie (Walters) Kendig; his sister, Laura (Kendig) Myers; brother-in-law, Benjamin Myers; sisters-in-law, Margaret (Mundy) Chrzanowski and Mary Mundy; and brothers-in-law, Dr. John Chrzanowski and Pete Mundy.
You are invited to visit with Nate's family and friends from 9 to 11 a.m. on Friday, June 20, at St. Michael Lutheran Church, 109 E. Doe Run Road (at Route 82), Unionville, Pa.
His funeral service will follow at 11 a.m.
Interment will be in St. Patrick's Cemetery, North Union Street, Kennett Square.
Contributions may be made in Nate's memory to Wounded Warrior Project at www.woundedwarriorproject.org
or The Kennebec Campership Fund. For the Kennebec Campership Fund, checks should be payable to "ACA/Camp Kennebec Fund" and mailed to: Camp Kennebec Campership Fund, for Nate Kendig Memorial, c/o American Camp Association, 5000 State Road 67 North, Martinsville, IN, 46151-7902, Attn: Ms. Rhonda Begley.
The family would like to extend their appreciation to the ICU nurses and doctors at Riddle Hospital, and the many staff members at Maris Grove Rose Court.
Arrangements are being handled by the Kuzo & Grieco Funeral Home, Kennett Square. Online condolences may be made by visiting www.griecocares.com.