A Dedication to Coach

Dear Grandpa,

I rarely say it aloud, but I’ve always been quite fond of my blue eyes. In fact, did you know that only approximately 8% of the human eyes are blue? That’s not a lot of people in the grand scheme of things, Grandpa, so we’re lucky. And Grandpa, I know you get this a lot, but your blue eyes are the brightest and most beautiful of them all– everyone has always said so.

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You know what everyone else always says, Grandpa? They say that even though I carry the name Wielgus, I definitely, unmistakably look like a Bowe. And even though my blue eyes will never be the exact shade or brightness as yours, Grandpa, when my eyes do shine, I swear they shine a bright shade of “Coach.”

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When I look into your beautiful blue eyes, Grandpa, I see a lot of things. I see a man of integrity, of good character, of principle, of decency, and of sincerity.

Throughout my life, people have often referred to you as THE Coach, or THE Legend. You were a veteran; you were an influential coach; you were inducted into the Wisconsin Football Coaches’ Hall of Fame; you were a teacher, a father, a brother, a grandfather, a great-grandfather, an uncle, a golfer; you built a home and raised a family; and you have always been so modest and so humble about all of it. But you have SO much to be proud of, Grandpa.

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You have built such an amazing network of friends and family, and have touched SO many people throughout the years, both in the Cudahy community and SO far beyond that. There are so many people in this world who look up to you. You have always been the rock for so many to lean on; you have always been the glue that held your mother, your ten brothers and sisters, and their families together.

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When I think back on my favorite memories of you, there are so many good ones that come to mind: late night swims in your pool, eating your delicious banana splits, exchanging presents on Christmas Day, talking on the phone while I’ve been overseas, and conversing with you by the fire in the living room.

What I find most admirable is that you never complained, Grandpa. You were so brave, and had a positive outlook and a smile on your face, right up until the end. I didn’t want to believe that coming home for Christmas 2015 would mark the last time I got to see your beautiful blue eyes, Grandpa. Never did I think that 2015 would mark the year that I would lose two of the most important men in my life.
Rest in Peace, Coach– THE Cudahy Legend.
Bisous,
Dana (Your #6)

26 thoughts on “A Dedication to Coach

  1. My father grew up with your grandfather. They were good friends, and both had those wonderful amazing blue eyes. Im sure theyre together right now reliving the old times , together again. Condolences on your loss , he was a great man.

  2. Coach Bowe is one of the few men I can point to and say they affected my life. As a teacher he never let me cut corners and got me to realize a “plethora” of talents I didn’t know I had. As a coach he taught me the game of football and how there is no “off season”. I have coached youth sports in and around Cudahy for a number of years and I always used things he taught me. Not just about the game but how to treat people and motivate them to things they too did not know they could do. He will always carry legendary status in Cudahy. He was proud of his city and was able to turn an entire program around and keep it a power house for years. We may not have had the most talented teams but opposing coaches knew if you were playing Bowe’s Packers you were in for a war. His blue collar soldiers were going to make you earn every yard. Rest is peace coach, you have earned it.

    1. Thanks so much Bob for your inspiring words and memories! He was one of a kind and we are all so lucky. I envy people who knew him as a coach or a teacher— I only knew him as a grandfather, but I’m learning so much more about him as people share their memories and stories. I’ll drink to that, as would he! Cheers!

  3. Such a beautifully written story! He must have been a wonderful man. I, unfortunately, never had the opportunity to meet him. My deepest condolences go out to you and your family, on the loss of this great man. Take care of one another, and be sure to tell each other that you love them each day, as you never know when it will be their last. Hugs.

  4. Beautifully written, as I’m sure your Grandpa would say Dana! Your Grandpa was my English teacher in high school, and it was his positive feedback and encouragement that helped me realize I should NEVER be embarrassed by or ashamed of my innate ability to spell well, comprehend and incorporate new vocabulary, and have an outstanding command of the English language. His passion for teaching / coaching, and being a good respectful and positive person / citizen was evident in everything he did. He inspired and encouraged others to not only be good, but to achieve greatness. His blue eyes were piercing for sure, and without a word, I have no doubt that anyone and everyone who ever met him or had the joy to be a student, friend or simple acquaintance, ‘felt’ his positivity and overall caring nature – radiate through just a look. For many many years I wanted to be an English teacher just like him, and although I set out on a different path, I have never forgotten him, I’ve always given credit to his influence, and the tremendous impact he had on my life in so many ways! May your Grandpa rest in peace Dana, and please know that I feel blessed and am grateful to have had the opportunity to be one of his students!! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family as you grieve his loss.

    1. Thank you so much Laurie for sharing your fondest memory! I beam with pride in reading how much he inspired you throughout your life. Cheers!

  5. I knew your grandpa for a few years, my work has been fixing and taking care of his furnace for many years.

    1st time I stopped for maintenance you are right his Blue Eyes are something, hard to notice right 🙂

    I was born and raised in Cudahy and we of course talked about that in general, he was a very nice Man and touched so many lives.

    1. Ah yes, handyman things was never Grandpa’s forte.. thankfully he had many others; thank you very much for your help and dedication to their home!
      Ah, those eyes, I’ll never forget them. So much pride in Cudahy!
      Thanks for your kind words and memories!

  6. Mr. Bowe taught me to appreciate language, especially Latin roots and where our crazy English language originated. I do remember his blue eyes. I was a classmate of Debbie. Please extend my sympathy. Lynda (Mudrock) Pietruszka

  7. Dana your grandpa did have the most beautiful blue eyes. Awesome story. What a wonderful man. Sincere condolences. Hope your grandma is doing ok.

  8. So sorry for your loss. Coach Bowe is often mentioned in our house. My husband and I both had him as a teacher and whenever a “big” word is said we refer to it as a Mr.Bowe word. He was a wonderful man and an awesome teacher… Peace to your family.

    1. Ah, I’m not sure if I should feel relieved or disappointed that he never instilled his “Bowe words” on his grandkids… I’ve been reading so much about this common memory from former students on various FB threads and I never knew that about him before! Thanks for your comment and kind words, Cheers!

  9. He will surely be missed, but he did live a beautiful and long life. Now may he rest in peace. I knew him for many years and used to love listening to his stories from his youth and early teaching days. He would have me in stitches. Great man

  10. Sorry that your Grandfather and my coach has passed Dana. He put me on the path for success in life from my days as one of his football players at Cudahy. He was a great man and leader.

  11. So sorry for your loss, he was a great man. I’m glad I got to know him for the last 10 years. As myself and the rest of the girls from kreiers hair quarters, he will be miss. Our condolences go to you and the rest of the family

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