News - In Memory of Jack D. Trager - 1933-2015

In Memory of Jack D. Trager - 1933-2015

In Memory of Jack D. Trager - 1933-2015

Jack D. Trager, aged 81 of Greenville, passed away at St. Luke's Hospital in Chesterfield, MO Sunday evening, June 14.  He was an Associate Professor Emeritus of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation at Greenville College.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, June 22, 2015 at the Greenville Free Methodist Church with Rev. Doug Newton and Rev. Tom Ryan officiating. The family will receive friends at the Church from 5 until 8 p.m. Sunday evening.

Jack Dean Trager was born to Harold C. and Opal P. (Huls) Trager on July 9, 1933 in Topeka, Kansas. He grew up in Wichita, was baptized on April 2, 1950, met Patricia Lavonne Osteen at Central College in McPherson and married her in Stillwater, Oklahoma on August 20, 1955.

Jack coached at four different schools in the Kansas area from 1955-67, and then moved with Pat to St. Paul, Minnesota, where Jack served as head baseball, basketball, and golf coach at Bethel College (University).

The family moved to Greenville, Illinois in 1976, where Jack served Greenville College as head coach of men’s basketball and golf as well as athletic director until he retired in 1998.

Greenville College proved to be fertile soil for Jack’s faith in Christ. His Greenville family nurtured and sustained him in his friendship with God. In retirement, Jack remained active as a coach and mentor and served as an area representative for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Jack was the consummate coach and mentor. He remained active in the lives of students and players from his past and present, always looking to the future. Even during what would be his last weeks of life, Coach T was planning new lessons for discipleship.

Since his arrival at Greenville College, there has not been a class of students that hasn’t experienced the impact of Coach T’s wisdom and challenge to love Jesus. Coach T was therefore not a typical coach. He cared more about the character and faith of his players off the court than in competition.

He regularly gave of himself, his time, and his resources to care for those he came to call his friends. Trager’s friends spanned across generations and he was deeply loved and admired by friends and family alike.

Jack was a beloved husband and father. His marriage to Pat of 59 years was one of dedicated devotion. Jack delighted in Pat, and it was clear to his family and friends that she was the love of his life. Jack’s children — Kim, Ken, and Karla — found in Jack not only a dependable and loving father, but also a trusted and playful friend.

Jack showed his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren how to love courageously and without fear. And most of all, Papa T showed us how to love Jesus. Jack was first and foremost a disciple of Jesus Christ. His thirst and hunger for God’s word and presence in his life was obvious and contagious. Whether he had heard a recent sermon or read a new article or reflected on a fresh passage of scripture, he freely and passionately shared it with everyone with whom he came into contact.

Jack Trager died on June 14, 2015 at 6:11 pm. He was a friend of God, and we will miss him deeply. Jack is survived by his wife Pat; three children: Kim (Jeff) Zitzloff, Kenneth (Sally) Trager, and Karla (Kurt) Conard; seven grandchildren: Nicole (Doug) Rangel, Michelle (Ben) Wayman, Scott (Laura) Zitzloff, Kenneth (Haley) Trager, Katelyn Trager, Trager and Mitchell Conard; and six great-grandchildren: Madeleine and Isaac Rangel; Caden, Cole, and Connor Wayman; and Jay Zitzloff.

For those who desire memorials in Jack's memory may be made to Greenville CollegeGreenville Free Methodist Church, or Fellowship of Christian Athletes at the Church or at the Donnell-Wiegand Funeral Home in Greenville.

Please feel free to share your Tributes to Coach Trager with comments below.

This story was published on June 15, 2015

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