Determined coach, principal inspired by example
At 6 feet, 7 inches, Ted Kondrad seemed like a giant to the seventh-graders at Manor Junior High School back in the early 1960s.
Mike Stewart said he remembers “Coach,” who led the football and basketball teams there before becoming principal of Hempfield Area High School, as an imposing figure who used tough love on his players and students.
“Maybe not the best students, maybe not the best home life, but he took care of them,” Stewart said. “He rooted for the underdog. He influenced the lives of a ton of kids.”
Francis Theodore Kondrad, 76, of Irwin, died Tuesday Nov. 19, 2013. He had been fighting cancer and Parkinson's disease.
His daughter, Debbie Gustafson, said he took those difficult students and dubbed them his “sweathogs.”
She said his childhood as the son of Lithuanian immigrants in Bentleyville, Washington County — using an outhouse and learning English in kindergarten — gave him a determination that he passed on to his students.
“Dreams are possible if you work hard and aim high,” Gustafson recalled her father as saying.
Mr. Kondrad was a University of Pittsburgh graduate, where he played basketball. He later earned a doctorate in education from West Virginia University.
Stewart, a former Hempfield Area school board president, remained close to his former teacher throughout his life and will deliver a eulogy at Mr. Kondrad's memorial service, recalling a phrase the former coach often used.
“‘Desire and pride lights the flame of eternal champions' and that has stayed with me over the last 50 years,” Stewart said. “You can be whatever you want to be, but you have to work for it.”
Daughter Michele Santicola said her father worked hard, but also had fun, spending his free time deer hunting, playing banjo, painting in oils and singing.
Mr. Kondrad's determination as an athlete didn't falter as his body eventually did. He continued to walk a mile every day, even when it took four to five hours, Santicola said.
“He fought like heck every day,” she said. “He was such a positive person.”
In addition to his daughters Debbie Gustafson and Michele Santicola, Mr. Kondrad is survived by his wife of nearly 53 years, Jane Parker Kondrad; daughter Lisa Lowry; and eight grandchildren.
Friends will be received from 2 to 8 p.m. Friday in William Snyder Funeral Home, 521 Main St., Irwin. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday in Brush Creek Evangelical Lutheran Church, Irwin. Interment will follow in Brush Creek Cemetery.
A contribution may be made to the Ted Kondrad Scholarship Fund c/o The Community Foundation of Westmoreland, 951 Old Salem Road, Greensburg, PA 15601.
Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- PennDOT team decides what spells trouble on vehicle license plates
- Pirates get journeyman Ishikawa off waivers; outfielder Marte injured
- Alvarez homer triggers winning outburst for Pirates
- Film shares tale of Pittsburgh man who turned disability into career
- Woman shot at Kennywood Park in ‘freak accident’
- Westmoreland County on pace to surpass record for drug-related fatalities
- Apple Hill Playhouse takes on an updated ‘Snow White’
- Man charged with passing counterfeit bills at Rivers Casino
- Don’t remove history’s lessons
- McCutchen, Pirates hitters increasingly in crosshairs
- Bookings for August Wilson Center climb, but permanent board yet to be set