Tributes
With the passing of our beloved Coach, tributes have poured in from those that knew and loved him. He touched -- and shaped -- so many lives, that his love will live on long after his presence here on earth has passed. Here are some of those tributes.
Ken Martin '56

It was sad to lose Coach. He played a big part in my life. He was my first coach; freshman basketball. When I dropped out of college in 1957 I went back to McKinley and talked to him. He had a very positive influence ("don't give up on college") on my decisions at that point. I attended Georgia Southern College on a basketball scholarship and got my degree in Physical Education.

Gail Simmons Mahar '62

In 1999 I attended a '62 through '64 reunion. It had been 37 years since I had seen anyone from Mckinley. I was told Coach always attended the reunions. I was curious to see if he remembered me. After dinner he came over to my table and talked with me. He said he remembered me, but I was doubtful. He began talking about a football player. When he finished his story, I ask why he had told me this story. He said, "Well you had a crush on him for four years, didn't you?" Then I had no doubt. I have a picture of us sitting at that table and I will treasure it always.

Bob Mallon '49

One of the memories I have is about some jobs Coach would get us in the summer. One was cleaning up the old Walsh Stadium after the midget car races on Friday night. We would go out early Saturday morning and sweep the stands. The days would be hot and dusty as we would clean out the dirt that the cars would throw up into the stands on the corners of the track. Working with him always made the work more bearable as he would set the pace and we kind of had fun doing it. Especially if we were lucky and found money in the aisles. One day they left some beer out and I had my first taste of beer. Coach did not see this.

Ron Autry '61

I remember Coach Blanke picking glass particles from around my eye when my glasses were shattered, and his kindly reminder not to smoke in the boys room. And also the excellent manner he had of steering you in the right direction. After watching me throw a few "fast balls" during baseball tryouts, he commented, "Autry, have you ever thought about going out for track?" Which I did. Thank you Coach. Now you are up there with another winning team.

Lou Schubert '64

I am truly sorry of the loss of Coach Blanke. He will sorely be missed by all. I would just like to say that in life, every little thing has a meaning to each of us. Of all Coach's achievements, I did not see perhaps his greatest of all; his achievement towards my life, all our lives! He deserves an award toward humanity. Of all the lives he touched through his own existence, he is greatly admired. He is truly blessed! A man of greatness. To me he certainly was an "incredible human".

Darrell Simmons '55

I was very saddened when I heard of Coach Blanke's passing. For many years I would stop by and visit him. He called me "Hoosier," probably because I was from Southeast Missouri, at one point in my life. He was like a father to me. God Bless him.

Larry Burian '53

Coach always called me by name, he didn't play favorites …and he was like that with everyone.
I loved the man and respected him highly. Everyone did. He was a great man and a wonderful human being. He's gone from us, yes, but he has departed from us to be with the Lord in Heaven.

Jeanne Hacker Hutcheson

I knew Mr. Blanke practically my whole life and I can honestly say he was one of my "all-time favorites." I always loved listening to him and my Dad talk about their days teaching and coaching at McKinley. I will definitely miss hugs and kisses!

Debbie Bentrup

I do not know "Uncle" Jules because of McKinley High School. "Aunt" Martha and "Uncle" Jules were good friends of my parents. I will miss the hug and kiss I got from Uncle Jules every time I saw him. Just reading all these great sentiments and memories confirms what I already knew: that Uncle Jules was one-of-a-kind. We all are truly blessed to have had Jules Blanke in our lives. And a special thanks to Aunt Martha for sharing this great man with us all. My prayers are with his family.

Jill Hacker Wolken

My first memories of Coach Blanke date back to my grade school days when I sat in the stands at Roosevelt High School watching the Goldbugs play (my dad, Herb Hacker was the assistant coach at McKinley). A picture of Coach (and my dad) hangs on my living room wall - a picture taken at a local ice cream parlor where they were regulars after their weekly trip to the movies. Tons of fond memories.....my heart aches for Mrs. Blanke, a truly special lady.

Doug Kolb '53

I lost my father early in life while in high school. After that, Coach was all I had. He was responsible for me staying in school and keeping my grades up so I could play football and baseball. Without his guidance, I know I would have packed it in without graduating. I will miss him very much and his memory is the McKinley spirit.

Evonne Smith Mikitin '65

Our hearts go out to Mrs. Blanke. She has lost a part of her life, therefore a part of herself. Death of a friend, family member, acquaintance, always makes us appreciate those around us more and gives us pause to enjoy each minute we have left with those persons.

Bill Stilwell '37

Would like to express my sympathy and condolences to Coach Jules Blanke’s entire family. He was a great, gentle man and will be missed by every one who knew him.

Jerry Cook '57

So sorry to hear about The Coach. He will be greatly missed, but as long as one Goldbug is still alive, he will be remembered.

Richard Forshee '57

Coach Blanke was a one-of-a-kind man who will be greatly missed. The best things in life aren't things; they are people like Coach Blanke. We will all have our favorite memories of him that we will always remember. I still remember and I'm amazed at the turn out for Coach Blanke at the Orlando Gardens. Truly a great tribute to a great man.

Leon Izmirlian '42

Some years ago, Harry Hausman and Paul Savage got together with others and contacted McKinley alumni from as many classes as they could for donations to help outfit Coach Blanke's football team. I believe they were successful and a substantial contribution did aid the Coach in getting decent uniforms for his team. Coach Blanke was also fortunate to have his McKinleyites think so highly of him. Well deserved and he will live long in McKinley history.

Richard Shreve '54

As a skinny physically undeveloped younster, I never played any athletics. I did have Coach as a Phys Ed teacher where I had to learn the use of the high bars. It was apparent that my mental development far exceeded my physical development. Never mind, in the small inadequate basement gym of McKinley, Coach patiently showed me how to "do" the bars. Both of us knew that no future beckoned on my progress. Still he professionally showed and taught me the fundamentals. This action by a man of brawn for a then skinny intellectual is the ultimate respect for which I shall never forget. I truly morn his passing.

June McFarland Rideout '59

"No one could hug like Coach!" - right Martha? He could not just say Hi - the big bear hug came automatically. That's only a small part of what made him 'COACH' and makes us know how much he loved us. He will not be forgotten.

Mae Brandon Hernandez '61

During my senior year at McKinley we moved from the district and coach would pick us up on his way to school. He would stop every block or so to pick up more passengers. By the time we arrived at school there would be five or six of us piling out of his car. I cannot tell you how welcome that ride was on cold winter mornings. He always seemed to show up when he was needed most. Last year my husband suffered a massive stroke during a cardiac procedure. Coach Blanke was visiting another McKinley graduate at St. Anthony's Hospital. His comforting words will never be forgotten. When he left us, my husband's children, who had never met coach before, said "What a nice man, and he still remembers you after all these years." We will miss you Coach!

Jim Gregory '63

Coach Blanke was one of those people that you, simply, never forget.

Phillip Cochran '68

Thanks Lou, for letting me know about coach. If you find out any more details about the funeral, let me know. I don't know if I will be able to attend, living so far away, but I would like to know. I really wanted to see him again.

Bob Eaves '60

I've never had a better mentor than "Coach", as I progressed through McKinley. I had many happy & unhappy memories & most of them were with " Coach". He kicked me in the ass ( and believe me he would kick hard) often, because I deserved it and he gave me lots of hugs because he wanted to encourage me. While I was in school! But he had a far greater impact on me later in our lives, when we became friends! He worked part time at AA Meat & I bought meat from Paul Savage, but would go out of my way to forget to buy something so that I would have to come down on Saturday mornings & pick up items just to see "Coach", Paul, & Harry play Pinochle & enjoy themselves. But the highest honor in my life was when "Coach" chose me as his "partner" in the annual golf tournament for several years.

Earl & Ann Jakovac Johnson '49

Thanks for the news of our "Coach" going on. He touched and changed so many lives and we could all take a lesson from his care and kindness. It's not just the loss of Coach. It's the loss of an unforgettable person who meant so much to so many .Sports was his business, people were his passion.

Tom and Violet Sunshine Deane '62 & '64

Tom and I are so saddened by the death of Coach Blanke. It was terrible news to us. We have kept in touch with Coach over all these years. He and Martha attended our children's weddings and we felt very close to him. He certainly was a man to look up to and be proud of. Coach will be missed ever so much by our family and all of McKinley.

Marlene Davis Maio '53

Very sad news indeed! Words cannot express the passing of our warm McKinley legend. Sincere condolences.

O. W. Battle

In passing, Coach Blanke's legacy is felt once again. I awoke to some sad news and also dicovered a true treasure...I did not know that there was a Goldbug web-site. Now I can relive in others what a great human being...that he was.

Ed Londe '40

It is a sad fact, that our age group is now passing in a final review, but those of us left, must go forward. He was a Man of good faith and heart, he will be missed.

Jim Patterson '54

Thanks for calling this afternoon. I knew what it was by the tone of your voice. At the June luncheon Jean took a picture of me with Coach I have it displayed on a shelf at work where I can see it when I look up from my desk. I look at it several times a day and have pointed it out to numerous clients. It is a comfort to me. I have thought long and hard, but cannot recall a single negative comment ever made about Coach. He was at the high school level what Bear Bryant or John Wooden was at the college level. Not that he won as high a percentage of the games, although his record is impressive, but more the way his players felt about him. Coach was a very special person.

Julie Hacker-Buehne
My dad (Herb Hacker) coached with Mr. Blanke at McKinley. Mr. and Mrs. Blanke are very close to us, they are like members of our family. We just saw him on Christmas Eve and he had his sense of humor as usual. We will never forget all the good times with him. He will be missed by many, but he is joining my dad up in heaven.
Don George '58
I was truly saddened at the news of Coach’s passing but take some small comfort in knowing that he enjoyed life to the fullest and right up to the end. I think Coach manifested many admirable traits but the one that strikes me the most is the simple, no maybe not so simple, act of caring. Not just going through the motions, but genuinely caring in a way that was reflected in the way he treated everyone he came in contact with. All the more difficult knowing how much he would have enjoyed the events surrounding the school’s 100th.
Mary Jane Koupa Caragher '52

I am really sorry to hear about Coach Blanke. It is too bad he won't be here for the 100th celebration of McKinley. He was a truly loved teacher, coach, and mentor who helped mold children into dignified and upstanding adults. It isn't often we come across someone like him and he will be truly missed. However, his memory and good deeds will be remembered by everyone he came in contact.

Donna Coibion Rideout '66

Thank you Lou, for letting me know. It is very sad news about Coach Blanke. I think he lived a good long healthy life and touched many lives.

Mary Ann Jeude Kuechler '47

I'm sure that tomorrow at the luncheon, we can have a time of prayer for the family and the McKinleyites whom he considered part of the "family". Thanks for the info and I look forward to the memory times that we might share - even as early as tomorrow.

Dean Evans '51

Thank you for posting Coach Blanke's recent passing. Although I wasn't an athelete, I had him for gym and he was a wonderful coach. He will be missed as he molded a lot of students and was a great role model.

Larry Burian '53

Really sad news about a truly wonderful man. There are so many Goldbugs, and others, that revered Coach, the funeral service should be held at Busch Stadium. We will remember Coach with love and prayer, and will be lifting Martha up in prayer for the Lord's healing and comforting touch.

Ruth McClain '60

I'm sorry and saddened to hear about Coach's death. I remember him fondly and his life stands as a tribute to those values he passed on to so many of us.

Darrell Simmons '55

I had the privilege to finish my final year at McKinley. Coach had a nickname for a lot of the students and mine was "Hoosier" of course being from Southeast Missouri. I certainly do not feel I was special, but when I first met Coach I felt such a bond to him, we had many chats during and after I graduated. When you asked him a question, the advice flowed so sincerely. I thank God every day that I had my blessing knowing a man that I truly admired.