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Edward Edmonds

Edward Gene "Gene" Edmonds

Thursday, February 7th, 1929 - Wednesday, December 4th, 2019
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Obituary

Edward “Gene” Edmonds, 90, of Rensselaer, passed away at his home on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. He was born in Fowler on Feb. 7, 1929 to Edward A. and Mabel (Harbolt) Edmonds. He grew up in Benton County playing basketball, first at Boswell High School, and then at Oxford High School where he graduated with the class of 1947. On Sept. 13, 1949, in Lafayette, he married Elizabeth “Rose” Hay. She preceded him in death on June 28, 2010.

Gene graduated from Indiana State University with his master’s degree in education. After graduation he launched his teaching and coaching career at Jackson Township. He then moved to Chalmers High School where he taught and coached basketball for five years. In 1960 the Edmonds’ moved to Rensselaer where Gene began his 31-year coaching and teaching career at the Rensselaer Central School Corporation. In addition to coaching basketball and teaching math, he started working with the track and field team in 1961. Under the mentorship of legendary head coach Emory Harrison, he learned to appreciate the sport’s events and how to teach them. When Harrison retired as head coach in the mid 1960s, Gene took over the program. Over time, he came to specialize in coaching throwing events, including discus, shot put, and hammer throw.

During his tenure, the Bombers’ track and field team won 11 conference championships. The team also earned back to back sectional championships in 1989 and 1990. Gene said that the first sectional win over powerhouse Lafayette Jeff on their home track was one of his most memorable coaching moments.

Gene and Rose managed the Bomber-Boiler Relays at Purdue University together for 20 years. They enjoyed working meets together and even had the chance to travel to a few international meets. They also hosted the Burvan-Edmonds Golf Outing in Oxford together for 25 years.

In 1991, Gene retired from teaching and coaching at Rensselaer. After retiring he was recruited to join the Purdue track and field staff as the women’s throw coach. The athletes he coached won two NCAA Big Ten championships. Gene retired from Purdue in 1999, but his coaching days were far from over. He helped out as Bill Zimmer’s throw coach back at Rensselaer from 1999 to 2002, and he took on other athletes who sought him out for private coaching.

For most of the years he was coaching track and the years since, he enjoyed an additional career as a track official. Beginning in 1979, he was a Master Certified official with USA Track & Field. He traveled extensively to officiate both national and international meets, including to Los Angeles in 1984 to serve as a finish line clerk at the Olympic Games and to Atlanta for the Olympics in 1996. He also officiated at five Olympic trials, the World Police and Fire Games in Indianapolis, and at several NCAA and USA Track & Field meets.

Gene was named the Horace Crow national official of the year in 1994 and the Andy Bakjian national coach of the year in 1999. He was named the official of the year by the Indiana Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches (IATCCC) in 1984 and was given the Meredith Payne Award for coach of the year by the IATCCC in 1990. He was a member of the Rensselaer Athletic Hall of Fame, the Indiana High School Hall of Fame, the IATCCC Hall of Fame, and the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame.

Gene was a member of the First Presbyterian Church, the Navy Club and the American Legion.

Gene is survived by five children: Jim (Toni) Edmonds of Lafayette, Larry (Jackie) Edmonds of Portage, Mike (Charlotte) Edmonds of Waynesboro, GA, Edward O. (Lileanna) Edmonds of Phoenix, AZ, and Valerie (Rick) Frazee of Lafayette; 19 grandchildren; and 36 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Rose Edmonds; one daughter, Carol Odle; one son, Terry Edmonds; and his parents.

Visitation will be Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019 from 2-8 p.m. (Central Time) at Steinke Funeral Home, 403 N. Front St., Rensselaer, IN 47978. Funeral services will be held at Steinke Funeral Home on Monday, Dec. 9, 2019 at 10 a.m. (Central Time) with Rev. Jeff Cover officiating. Visitation Monday one hour prior to the funeral. Interment will follow at Weston Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the USATF Special Olympics. Memories and condolences may be shared at www.SteinkeFuneralHome.com.

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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Sunday, December 8th, 2019 | 2:00pm - 8:00pm
    When
    Sunday, December 8th, 2019 2:00pm - 8:00pm
    Location
    Steinke Funeral Home of Rensselaer
    Address
    403 N. Front St.
    P.O. Box 160
    RENSSELAER, IN 47978
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Notes
    Central Time
  • Service

    Monday, December 9th, 2019 | 10:00am
    When
    Monday, December 9th, 2019 10:00am
    Location
    Steinke Funeral Home of Rensselaer
    Address
    403 N. Front St.
    P.O. Box 160
    RENSSELAER, IN 47978
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Notes
    Central Time
    Officiant
    Rev. Jeff Cover
  • Interment

    Location
    Weston Cemetery
    Address
    509 W. Lincoln St.
    RENSSELAER, IN 47978
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Notes
    Interment immediately following the funeral.
  • Reception

    Location
    American Legion Post #29
    Address
    1565 N. McKinley Ave.
    RENSSELAER, IN 47978
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Notes
    A funeral dinner will be held following the graveside service.

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Bill Gehring III

Posted at 02:39pm
Mr. Edmonds was the best math teacher I ever had at RCHS, and he taught me Algebra I. He also was my track coach! He's always
been the best at both, barring none. Thanks, Coach. He also coached my niece Chelsie Meeks to all-state medals 3 times.
Bill Gehring III
CG

Chris Geesman

Posted at 03:31pm
Jim and Larry, who I knew best, but also the whole family, I heard the sad news today.
Your dad, a great man, taught me so much about coaching. Many a night we would sit in your living room,and after to listening to Gene’s Bill Cosby LPs, would talk sports. We talked technique, strategy, and handling teams and individuals. Gene was never judgemental and never tried to force his opinions. If I said something he thought was possibly wrong, he would sit quietly for a minute and preface his answer with something like this: “Have you ever considered this?” or “Here’s something that also may work.”
I was amazed at his knowledge and that he would take the time to help a young coach.
Prayers for your whole family. Chris Geesman
KC

Kelly Carey-Mirken

Posted at 01:31pm
I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to have Coach Edmonds as such an influential part of my high school track and field career.(1983-1987) He was so motivating, insightful, and inspiring. He was an amazing man who left a footprint on so many peoples lives. I have always had such great respect for him and his wife Rose. He was not a man of many words, but when he spoke I listened because I knew whatever he said was of great value. I will forever be grateful to have known him. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire family. Rest in peace Coach.

Carole Tengblad

Posted at 12:28pm
It was a great honor to have known him as a friend and work with him at numerous professional track meets, Boiler/Bomber Relays and various high school meets. He and his family are in my prayers. “Gerber” Tengblad.
CM

Chuck and Jackie Malchow

Posted at 12:37pm
Condolences to the family.
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