James Richard Ooley


Died November 15, 2005

TRAVERSE CITY - James Richard "Jim" Ooley, 77, of Greilickville, a retired Traverse City Central High School science teacher and a varsity football coach, died Tuesday evening, Nov. 15, 2005, at Munson Medical Center. Jim was born May 23, 1928, in Chicago, the son of the late William H. and Hermine G ( Schneider) Ooley.

Jim grew up in Menomonie, Wis., and attended the University of Wisconsin-Stout after graduating from high school. He faithfully served his country with the United States Army, and following his honorable discharge, began his teaching career at Menominee, Mich.

He came to Traverse City in 1953 to teach printing at Central High School, where he met Nancy Iverson. They were married Aug. 11, 1956, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Traverse City.

Jim's interest in football led him to become the assistant football coach, and later the varsity coach at Central High School. Under his leadership, the Traverse City Trojan Football Team recorded State Championships in Class A three times, in l978, l985 and l988. Coach Ooley earned many awards and accolades on a local, state and national level for his coaching successes. He will fondly be remembered for his legendary coaching skills.

A big man, with a broad smile and gentle heart, Jim will also be remembered for his frequently used quote, "Conceive It, Believe It, Achieve It," an inspiration to many friends and athletes.

A faithful and spiritual man, Jim was a long-time member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, where he served as a Eucharistic Minister. He also enjoyed his memberships in the Traverse City Elks Club #323, Knights of Columbus, Council 1213, American Military League and the Michigan Football Coaches Association.

Jim was a mentor and fatherly figure to many; he will be sorely missed by his loving family and many, many friends.

Surviving are his wife of 49 years, Nancy Ooley; sons, Tom (Deb) Ooley and Bob Ooley, and special friend, Linda Becker; daughters, Cathy (Mark) Ritola and Susan Lewis, all of Traverse City; grandsons, Josh and Shawn Ritola, Mitchell Lewis and Eric Ooley; granddaughters, Ashley Ooley, Whitney Ritola and Carly Lewis; sister, Karen LaPlant of Wichita, Kan.; and brother, Eugene (Audrey) Schneider of Menomonie, Wis.

In addition to his parents, he was also preceded in death by a son, William (Bill) Ooley, who died in July of l991; and an infant grandson, Bradley Thomas Ooley, who died in September l991.

Friends may call at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2005, from 3 to 8 p.m., with a Biblical Wake Service and sharing time at 7 p.m. A funeral Mass will be offered on Friday, Nov. 18, 2005, at 11 a.m., at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, where friends may begin calling at l0 a.m. The Reverend James Hayden will celebrate. Burial will follow at Grand Traverse Memorial Gardens.

In remembrance of Jim, memorials may be directed to the Jim Ooley Football Scholarship Fund, c/o Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, the Father Fred Foundation or to the Trojan Boosters for improvements to Thirlby Field, c/o the Athletic Office at Central High School, 1150 Milliken Drive, Traverse City, MI 49686. Envelopes will be available at the church.

Kindly share memories about Jim with the family on their on-line guest book at www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com.

In honor of "Big O," show your Trojan pride by wearing black and gold or a Trojan symbol to the public visitation at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.

This obituary was originally published in the Record-Eagle.
Published online on Nov. 17, 2005 courtesy of Record-Eagle.
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