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Melvin S. Kupferschmid(April 4, 1928 - February 10, 2013)



Former resident Melvin S. Kupferschmid passed away at age 84 of complications from Alzheimer's disease and lung cancer.

Mel was born in Oakville, Iowa, on April 4, 1928, to Samuel, a sharecropper, and Lydia (Viellieber) Kupferschmid. Mel was the youngest of seven children and the last survivor. A sister-in-law, Virginia Kupferschmid, Mediapolis, Iowa, is the last survivor by marriage.

Educational degrees earned by Mr. Kupferschmid were a Bachelor of Arts from Iowa State Teachers College (now UNI), a Master of Arts from Western Illinois University with a major in school administration and a post-master's degree from Drake University as a specialist in school administration.

Mel's professional career began as a teacher and coach, which was then interrupted by a draft during the Korean War. Most of his military time was spent at Fort Benning, Georgia, working as a court reporter in the legal department of the combat training command.

After serving two years in the military, Mel applied for a teaching job at Fayette, Iowa, for the positions of girls basketball coach and also coach of boys basketball and football. He coached at that school for two years.

Next came an application for the position of principal at Maynard, Iowa, West Central School District, followed by the superintendence of that school district.

In 1960, he retired from his educational career to pursue a career as an investment broker. Financial markets had been a longtime interest to him since his early college years.

After entering the brokerage business in 1960 as an A.C. Allyn representative in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 1961, he transferred to Waterloo, Iowa. After the transfer, he remained in the same office for 34 years, even when the brokerage firm went through a number of name changes, such as Francis I. DuPont and DuPont Glore Forgan, with the final office name of A.G. Edwards.

Most Iowans, however, remember Mr. Kupferschmid as a championship girls basketball coach.

Over his 28-year coaching career, Mel's teams won 551 games and lost 125 games. This was an 81.5 percent winning record. His teams played in 13 state tournaments.

Even more spectacular was the fact that his teams, both six-on-six and five-on-five girls, won three state championships, finished second three times and won the consolation third-place game three times. More amazing was the fact that the six-on-six games were in one class statewide competition, much like in the movie "Hoosiers."

He was the first coach in Iowa to win state tournaments under the original two-court six-player games, and the later five-on-five player game currently used.

During one four-year period, 1956-1959, his Maynard teams played in the championship game, winning in 1956 and in 1958 and becoming a runner-up in 1957. His 1959 team had won 58 consecutive games before losing in that championship game.

Mr. Kupferschmid started a girls softball team at Maynard in 1956, and his team participated in four-team state championship tournaments on three occasions, winning the girls softball state title in 1958. This marked the end of his softball coaching career.

Mr. Kupferschmid retired from coaching for 16 years before being asked to become the coach of the Waterloo Columbus High School girls basketball team for another 20 years, at the same time continuing in the brokerage business.

At Columbus, the team went to the state tournament eight of nine years from 1982-1990, finally culminating in a 25-0 season with a 1990 state championship.

Mel's great satisfaction was having some 20 players go on to play college basketball, with several becoming coaches.

Mr. Kupferschmid retired to Sequim and continued his interest in three areas: sports, financial markets and gardening.

Mel always had the perfect combination of jobs: working with stock market customers during the day and then practicing with his teams in the late afternoons or coaching in the evenings.

Mel Kupferschmid and his girls basketball teams are mentioned in three girls basketball books: Only in Iowa: Where the High School Girl Athlete is Queen, by Jim Enright; The Only Dance in Iowa, Max McElwain; and From Six-on-Six to Full Court Press, Janice A. Beran — all available from Amazon.

Mel married Grace Ann Gaffey on May 26, 1956, in Waterloo. They were married for 57 years. Survivors include his wife and children, Andrea (Scott) Baker, Lexington, South Carolina; Lynn Angermeier, Simpsonville, South Carolina; John, Bridgeport, Connecticut; and Carolyn Kupferschmid, Burlington, Kentucky.

All children earned college degrees, some advanced degrees. Three grandchildren survive: Peter (Rebecca) Ralston, Ames, Iowa; and Samantha Angermeier and Clayton Angermeier, both of Clemson, South Carolina.

A great granddaughter, Grace Ann, was born on September 11, 2011, to Peter and Rebecca Ralston.

There were no services.

Expressions of sympathy for the Kupferschmid family may be left online at www.southcarolinacremation.com.

Published in The Peninsula Daily News on Feb. 24, 2013
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