Kenneth W. "Kenny" Meyer (1925 - 2016)

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Kenneth W. "Kenny" Meyer, 91, passed away peacefully on Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016, in Gadsden, where he had lived with his devoted wife, Maure (Loveman), since his retirement as an NFL coach in 1992.
Ken was born on July 14, 1925, in Erie, Pa., and was the son of Werner Meyer and Pauline (Uhrmacher). He graduated from Ashtabula Harbor High School in 1943 and was inducted into the Ashtabula County Football Hall of Fame in 2004. He was proud to have served as a staff sergeant in the mighty 8th Air Force during World War II and flew 25 missions over Germany as a tail gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress. He maintained close ties with the men in his bomber group, and was an active supporter and past president of the 305th Bomber Group Association. After the war, Ken graduated from Denison University where he played for Woody Hayes. He was inducted into the Denison Hall of Fame in 1987. He began his college coaching career at Denison in 1952 followed by Wake Forest, Florida State and then the University of Alabama. Ken coached at Alabama from 1963-67, under legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, where he coached Joe Namath, Steve Sloan and Kenny Stabler and was a member of two National Championship teams as well as the 1966 year of the "missing ring." In 1969 he began his NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers and went on to coach with the NY Jets and LA Rams, before becoming head coach of the 49ers in 1977, followed by three seasons with the Chicago Bears. He left the NFL to coach at Tulane University for two seasons, where he and Coach Vince Gibson led Tulane to victory over LSU in huge upsets both years. In 1992, he retired from coaching in the NFL after nine seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. His career as a coach and mentor in the American Football league in Europe began in 1992 with the Turku Trojans in Finland. With Ken as coach, Finland won the European Championship in 1993, 1995, and 1997. In 2014, Ken was inducted into the Finnish American Football Hall of Fame and is the first and only non-Finnish member. Ken also spent the 1996 season living in Rome, Italy, as coach of the Roma Gladiatori. After coaching and living in Europe for months at a time, he began scouting for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2001, where he developed a close personal friendship with General Manager and CEO, Carl Peterson. In 2008, he completely retired from football after 70 years of playing, coaching, and scouting football at the high school, college and pro levels in the U.S. and Europe. In recent years in Alabama, he was a dedicated member of the University of Alabama "A" Club, and gave his time generously to local high school and college football teams and his close circle of friends. He had a passion for life, a passion for football, a gift for telling stories, and was well-loved by all who met him.
Ken was preceded in death by his son, Tom and his daughter, Mary Katharine Colfax.
He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Maure; and his brother, Gilbert; his children, Cindy, Karl, Richard (Erlinda), and Alea (José); and his grandchildren, Eric, Deric, Brandon, Leah, Eileen, Christine, Steven, Charles, Samantha, Isabella, Gordon, Graham and Allison; and great-grandchildren, Kaylin, Cameron, Cheyenne, Harmony, Essence and Sadie.
All friends are invited to a memorial service in celebration of his life on Friday, Sept. 30, 2016, at 11 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 900 Greensboro Avenue, Tuscaloosa, Ala., followed by a reception at the Battle-Friedman House, 1010 Greensboro Avenue, a historic home formerly occupied by members of the Friedman-Loveman family.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ken's name to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans (www.nationalww2museum.org), or the (www.cancer.org).
Online condolences may be made at www.collier-butler.com.

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Collier-Butler Funeral Home
824 Rainbow Drive
Gadsden, AL 35901
(256) 543-2140
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Published in The Gadsden Times on Sept. 4, 2016
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Gadsden, AL   (256) 543-2140
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