Cleland, Charles N.
Dec. 5, 1933 - Apr. 25, 2013
Charles N. Cleland, 79, of Sarasota, FL, died on Apr. 25, 2013. Visitation will be held from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Tue., Apr. 30, 2013 at Toale Brothers Funeral Home in Sarasota, FL. Services will be held at 11:00 am on Wed., at First Presbyterian Church in Sarasota, FL. Interment to follow the funeral service at Sarasota National Cemetery at 2:30 PM. Funeral arrangements by: Toale Brothers Funeral Homes.
Charlie was born in Sallisaw, OK, and grew up an avid Cardinals fan in the St. Louis suburbs. He is a 1957 graduate of Southwest Missouri State University where he was captain of the football team. He earned his Master's Degree from Florida State University in 1962. Charlie proudly served in the Marine Corps. from 1954-1956, and was awarded the All Navy - All Service football trophy. He was a member of First Presbyterian Church, Sarasota, where he served as a Deacon. Survivors include his loving wife of 50 years, Marti, children Charles "Chip" Jr. (Timini) of Sarasota, and Lianna Gantt (Dan) of Allison Park, PA; grandchildren Shelby, Darby, and Charlie Cleland, and Charlie Gantt; and brother Troy Cleland (Thelma). He is predeceased by his sister, Colleen Somers, of Venice.
Affectionately known as "Coach Charlie", he taught and coached at Sarasota High School for 36 years (1957-1994). He proudly introduced the first Anatomy and Physiology class in the state. He also taught physical education classes and coached football, swimming, and track. He loved all sports, but his passion was football. He began coaching football at Sarasota High School in 1957. He coached the Sailor football team for 27 years and was honored to serve as head football coach for 20 glorious seasons (1964-1983). He served as athletic director from 1981-1994, and he was Head of the Physical Education Department. Coach Charlie launched the Sarasota High School Stadium Fund in the mid-1970's which raised nearly $1,000,000, culminating in the 2003 dedication of "Cleland Stadium at Ihrig Field". Coach Charlie dearly loved his family and enthusiastically embraced his roles as husband, father and grandfather. Outside the family sphere, his great passion in life was teaching and mentoring young people. He took great pride in knowing that he inspired numerous students to pursue careers in the life sciences. He also felt blessed to be able to coach so many talented young athletes. Many of his football players earned state recognition for their efforts on the gridiron, and fourteen of them went on to play professional football. Coach Charlie worked hard to help his players earn college scholarships, spending countless hours honing their skills, advocating for them with college coaches and putting together highlight films. More than 150 of his players went on to play college football. Coach Charlie will be missed by many, especially his family. We love you Coach Charlie. In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to " The Sarasota High School Cleland Memorial Fund", 1000 South School Avenue, Sarasota, Florida 34237.