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In Memory

William J Echard VIEW PROFILE


Oct. 4, 1926 - May 22, 2009
SOUTH BEND - On Friday, May 22, 2009, Heaven came for William J. "Coach" Echard of South Bend. A beloved husband, father, friend and teacher, he succumbed to renal failure after a prolonged illness. Bill is survived by his wife of 53 years, Rosemary (Turnock) Echard; his sister, Francis Tanner of Sun City, AZ; his four children, Rebecca M. (Gene) Kaiser, Benjamin (Chris Findley) Echard, William C. Echard and Joseph (Barbara) Echard; his four grandchildren and one great-grandchild who will also mourn the passing of their cherished patriarch. "Coach" Echard was born in Gary, IN, on October 4, 1926, to Vernon Stanley Echard and Cecilia Marie (Schuster) Echard.

He was orphaned at the age of 12; his parents had instilled in him a love of education and he worked weekends in the steel mills to continue his Catholic education. After graduation from the then Catholic Central High School, he joined the U.S. Army in 1946, serving honorably in Korea, and at Newton G. Baker Army Hospital.

He returned to South Bend where he attended the University of Notre Dame, earning his B.A. in 1957 and his master's in 1959. Bill's great passion for basketball led him and his bride to St. Joseph's Preparatory School in Bardstown, KY, where he coached his squad to a Class A State Championship. In 1963 he returned to South Bend with his wife and children and taught in Edwardsburg, MI, until 1965 when he started his career with the South Bend Community School System.

He coached and taught at Riley High School, where he coached their swimming team to a state title in the early 70s. Bill also successfully coached Riley's tennis team as well as teaching many students how to swim in P.E. Class.

Bill was awarded a certificate from the Red Cross in the '60s for having taught more children in Elkhart County how to swim then had ever been recorded. His summers where spent with the Parks Department in South Bend running the Cities Swimming Recreation Program, and was one of the first swim teachers to teach at the desegregated Natatorium. He loved teaching and coaching and especially his elementary students at Madison and Marquette Elementary Schools.

After he retired in the 1990s he owned and operated AAA Courier Services for 10 years. One of his shining moments was during the 2002 Winter Olympic Torch Run when he ran the torch to pass to his daughter. He spent his retirement years keeping fit and active as a member of Pro Health and spending time with his family and friends.

Friends are welcomed for visitation in the McGann Hay Funeral Homes, University Chapel, 2313 E. Edison Road near Ironwood, on Tuesday, May 26th, from 2-4 and 5-7 p.m. where the Rosary will be prayed at 3:30 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Holy Cross Catholic Church at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, May 27th. Donations to the Center for Hospice, 111 Sunnybrook Court, South Bend, IN 46637, in Bill's memory are sincerely appreciated and his family wishes to extend its deep gratitude to the wonderful people at this organization. To send condolences to the family or for directions, log on to www:McGannHay.com.

Published by South Bend Tribune from May 24 to May 25, 2009

01/16/2023 EJS

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