Bidding Farewell to a Bay Area Legend

Longtime high school football coach inspired more than just players

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Family Photo
    Coach Charlie Wedemeyer and his wife, Lucy.

    Family, friends and former players are gathering today at the HP Pavilion in San Jose to remember a Bay Area sports icon at a public memorial service.

    Longtime Los Gatos High School football coach Charlie Wedemeyer died June 3 after a 34-year battle with ALS, a nerve disorder  commonly known as Lou Gherig’s disease.

    A Bay Area Legend Dies

    [BAY] A Bay Area Legend Dies
    Charlie Wedemeyer survived 32 years with ALS. His death this week, was met with sadness by all. (Published Friday, Jun 4, 2010)

    The family invited all of Wedemeyer’s former players who he coached over his decades-long career to wear their jerseys at the service.

    The Shark Tank is expected to be packed with everyone from sports fans to just everyday people who Wedemeyer inspired and there was even talk of opening the concession stand – a suggestion that made Wedemeyer’s family chuckle, “because my dad would have loved that,” Keith Andry said in his letter announcing details of the memorial.

    A reception will be held at the Calvary Church in Los Gatos at 4 p.m.

    Doctors initially gave Wedemeyer two to three years to live after his diagnosis, but he defied the odds and survived more than 30 years with the debilitating disease that slowly took away the use of his body.

    His wife, Lucy, said following his death that she thought God must have had a crucial football game scheduled in heaven and needed a coach. She said her husband died surrounded by family and friends.

    Over the past decades he and Lucy became a motivational team. When he lost his voice, Lucy was able to interpret his words by the slight movement of his lips during countless speaking engagements.  The disease continued to take a terrible toll on Charlie Wedemeyer's body leaving him for at least the last 10 years with only the ability to move his eyes.

    The Charlie Wedemeyer High School All-Star Football Game is coming up on July 21 at Spartan Stadium.  It will be the first time in the past 35 years that Wedemeyer won't be there cheering the players on.  Top high school football players compete in the Wedemeyer classic every summer.

    You can read and share condolences on this Facebook page and at on this online memorial page set up in partnership with the Mercury News.