Jack Deedrick passed away at age 95 on Monday, March 5.
He was born in Marietta, Ohio on April 30, 1922. He grew up in Gary, Indiana where he graduated from Horace Mann High School in 1940. He attended the University of Toledo before going in the Air Force in 1942. He went through pilot training and received his wings in 1944. After WW II, he attended Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana and Florida Southern College. He played basketball at Florida Southern and received his BS there. He later earned a Master’s in Education from the University of Florida.
He began his teaching career at Lakeland Jr-Sr High School, later transferring to Winter Haven High School where he taught and coached basketball for 30 years. He retired in 1983 but continued to substitute teach for 17 years.
He was an emeritus member of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and attended the Final 4 Basketball tournament for over 40 years. He served on the Florida Athletic Coaches Association Board of Directors for many years. He was Florida Coach of the Year in 1973. He was also Coach of the Year for the SE United States and runner up for National Coach of the Year.
In 1971, the WHHS basketball team lost a semi-final game in the State Tournament after 7 overtimes. Sports Illustrated determined this was a national record for State Tournament play at that time. The team won the state championship in 1973.
Deedrick spent a number of summers doing missionary work in Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana. In Guyana, the church named their youth building after him. WHHS also named their new gym, the Jack Deedrick Gymnasium.
Jack married Betty Lou Bartley August 31, 1945. They were happily married for 62 years until her death in 2013.
He is survived by two sons and two daughters. Mark (Vikki) Deedrick of Winter Have, Florida, Marcia (Thomas) Higgins of Alachu, Florida, Gary (Beverly) Deedrick of Taylors, South Carolina and Gail (Jim) Packett of Durham, North Carolina. He adored his six grandchildren Kristopher Abernathy, Robbie Rogers, Brooke Rogers-Foote, Brittany Jackson, Jon Deedrick and Brent Deedrick and his nine great-grandchildren.
Deedrick is a member of Central Baptist Church. In lieu of flowers, he requests a donation be made to the Central Baptist Church Mission Fund. Visitation is scheduled from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Friday evening at the Central Baptist Church in Winter Haven. The funeral service was held Saturday morning, March 10 at 10:00 at Central Baptist with burial following at Lakeside Cemetery.