James W. Glase, a retired teacher and former athletic director and high school football coach in Sylvania Schools who was instrumental in starting the summer baseball and softball leagues in the community for youngsters, died Sunday in Toledo Hospital. He was 89.
Mr. Glase suffered an apparent heart attack in his home in Springfield Township earlier in the day, his daughter, Judy Williams said. “He woke up. He was going to make Christmas cookies,” she said. “It was quite sudden.”
A standout football player at the old Burnham High School, Sylvania, he returned to teach at the school and was coach of the high school team for seven years, guiding the Wildcats to Great Lakes Leagues titles in 1954 and 1956.
“He was proud of the teams he coached in the 1950s. He still remains friends with a lot of the boys who he coached,” Mrs. Williams said.
Mr. Glase was born on Sept. 13, 1924, to Hilda and Earl Glase. He spent his early childhood in East Toledo. His family moved to Sylvania, where he attended Burnham. A 1942 graduate, he played football and basketball.
He studied and played football at the University of Toledo before entering the U.S. Coast Guard, serving during World War II as a radar technician.
After the war, Mr. Glase enrolled at Ohio Northern University. He played football for four years and lettered in track and baseball. He was captain of the football team and its most valuable player in 1949. He was elected to the university’s hall of fame in 1984.
He married the former Catherine Damico on Aug. 16, 1947. They had met in high school.
Mr. Glase joined Sylvania Schools in 1950 as a teacher and assistant football coach. He initially taught biology and general science but later switched to physical education, heading the department for many years.
He was head football coach from 1953 to 1960, then became athletic director and track coach at the newly opened Northview High School. He helped start programs in girls basketball, volleyball, wrestling, ice hockey, swimming, and gymnastics. He stepped down as athletic director in 1981. He was vice principal of the high school before he retired from teaching in 1983.
He was named Northwest Ohio Athletic Director of the Year in 1980 by the Ohio Athletic Directors Association.
He received a master’s degree in physical education from the University of Toledo in 1963.
For nearly 40 years, Mr. Glase was involved in the community’s youth summer recreation program.
In the early 1950s, he helped organize the Sylvania Township Recreation Association, which began with a six-team baseball league and arts and crafts programs during the summer at elementary schools.
“The next year we had a few more softball teams. Football, baseball, track, and everything has continued to grow, both with the schools and recreation groups in the city and township,” he said in a story printed in 1986 in The Blade.
In 1982 he was named director of athletics for the Sylvania Community Services Center. He left for a year, but returned to the program, retiring officially in 1989.
He was named to Sylvania Athletic Foundation's athletic hall of fame in 2011.
Surviving are his wife, Catherine; sons, James, John, Jeff, Joe, and Jay Glase; daughters Joan Pinciotti, Jan Bockert, and Judy Williams; sister, Dorothy Cunningham; 16 grandchildren, and one great granddaughter.
Visitation will be from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday in the Reeb Funeral Home, Sylvania, where services will be at 1 p.m. Saturday.
The family suggests tributes to Sylvania Schools Athletic Foundation or Little Flower Catholic Church.
— Mark Reiter
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