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Beloved Stow Coach, James Tyree, Honored With Gym Dedication

Stow-Munroe Falls High School will dedicate the James G. Tyree Gymnasium before Friday's boys basketball game.

Greatness. Honesty. Dependability.

Those are just a few of the many words that have been used to describe James G. Tyree, affectionately referred to as "Coach."

Tyree was a man who was honored to serve the Stow-Munroe Falls school community as a teacher and coach for more than 30 years. Now, only a few years after his death, the honor is returned.

A special dedication ceremony will be held before Friday's varsity boys basketball game, to honor Tyree's legacy with the naming of the James G. Tyree Gymnasium.

Family, friends and alumni will be present to share the memory of a man who touched many lives.

"He was an athlete, coach, teacher, father and friend," Cyle Feldman, Stow-Munroe Falls athletic director said. "I still think about him and still aspire to be like him."

Feldman, who is close with the Tyree family, was approached by an alumni months after Tyree's death hoping to commemorate a facility in the coach's honor.

Tyree passed away on Feb. 12, 2011 at the age of 79.

"He was a tremendous coach, wrestling in particular," Feldman said. "Guys will tell you today, 'Coach Tyree was the greatest influence in my life.'"

It was that influence that inspired Bill Ganoe, a 1981 graduate, to approach Feldman and the school district about honoring Tyree.

Before Tyree's death, Ganoe saw him in the hospital and began reminiscing. He was thinking of how Tyree had helped him and the school community, realizing how much he gave of himself over the years.

"He meant something different to everyone," Ganoe said. "He wasn't the typical teacher. He taught more about real life lessons than anything else."

Ganoe described Tyree as a man of great character, trustworthy and honest, even when it was difficult.

"I'm sure he was a father figure to a lot of kids," he said. "You could talk to the man about anything. He'd be more than willing to listen and would tell you what you didn't want to hear because he told you the truth."

Tyree's son, Jay, knew his father well and believed him to be the great man that many revered.

"He was my dad, my coach, my teacher and obviously, my friend," Jay said.

Jay, who at one time served as the athletic director at the high school, was grateful for the decision to dedicate the gymnasium to his father.

"It's very humbling," he said. "There's been a lot of great people who taught or came through Stow High School and to think they thought of my dad is an honor."

Jay recalled several stories about his father that exemplified his dedication to helping others.

One year Jay had many overgrown thin oak trees around his house and his dad, in his 60s at the time, was determined to take care of them. He spent time with a tree service, learning all about the oaks. Then he came to Jay's house, spending almost 10 hours up in the trees until the job was done, not allowing anyone to help him.

There was another time when Tyree went out at 2 a.m. to help a neighbor fish a snow blower out of Wyoga Lake in the winter.

When a teacher was shot in the high school, Tyree was one who kept his composure, helping students through a difficult time.

"He handled emergencies with unbelievable calmness," Jay said.

Now a man who meant so much to so many will have his name on a banner, hanging above the gymnasium for all to see and a plaque in the commons.

His son and the entire family are touched and grateful for the gesture

"It will be very meaningful and very humbling," Jay said. "We're thankful."

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