Gary Alan Kolb, 79, of Cross Lanes, WV passed away July 3, 2019 after a long illness and was surrounded by his family. Gary was born March 13, 1940 in Rock Falls, IL to the late Ernie and Josephine (Baker) Kolb, where he grew up playing baseball, football, basketball and track. He was considered one of the best all-around athletes at Rock Falls High School, where he graduated in 1958 and is a charter member of the Rockets’ Hall of Fame.
Kolb signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1960 after attending the University of Illinois where he was attending on a football scholarship. On September 29, 1963 he came in as a pinch-runner, replacing Stan Musial after Musial’s final career hit. An outfielder and utility man, Kolb played seven seasons of Major League Baseball with the Cardinals, Milwaukee Braves, New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates.
He retired from baseball in 1972 in his final season with the Triple A team of the Pirates, the Charleston Charlies and made his home in Cross Lanes. He became instrumental in developing and enhancing the Little League program in Cross Lanes and then went on to coaching the Babe Ruth League to multiple championships. He was an honorary member of Ruth’s.
After baseball, he worked for Green Valley Bridge Construction, alongside his good friend Vernon Withrow and officially retired in 2003.
In addition to his parents, Gary was also preceded in death by his first wife, Georgia; his brothers, Terry Kolb, Marc Kolb and Jeff Kolb; his sisters Marlys Shaffer and Jill Hayes. He is survived by his wife Jeani Hurley; his daughter, Lisa Hughes; his son Todd Kolb (Valerie) and grandchildren Matt Hughes, Jordan Hughes, Max Kolb (Danielle), Keegan and Ariel Orellana. Gary is also survived by his sisters Paula Deyo and Judy Duis; brother Jack Kolb all of Rock Falls/Sterling, IL, sister-in-laws Lou Ann Kolb and Susan Hurley, brother-in-law Don Hayes, along with many nieces and nephews.
A special thank you to his doctors and nursing staff at the Endoscopy Group at CAMC-Memorial, Fresenius Kidney Care and all those in the CPICU for the extra special care you provided. Dr. Mohamad Sankari, thank you for putting up with his jokes and always bringing a smile to his face. He treasured your friendship through the past few years.
A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, July 13, 2019 at Tyler Mountain Memorial Gardens in Cross Lanes, WV. Family will be received at 2:00, with friends following from 3:00-5:00 and the service held from 5:00-6:00. The family is asking those in attendance to share their favorite memories or stories of their times with Gary.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Gary’s memory to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
Cooke Funeral Home of Nitro is assisting the family with arrangements. Memories of Kolbie may also be shared by visiting www.cookefuneralhome.com.Read More