Garry “Coach” Kreis, Oliver Springs

Garry “Coach” Kreis, age 69 of Oliver Springs, went home to be with the Lord on Monday, March 27, 2017 after a courageous yearlong battle with cancer.

Garry was preceded in death by his beloved mom and dad, Bill and June Kreis; his precious son, Mark; by several aunts and uncles; and by many friends and loved ones.

He is survived by loving brothers, Bill Kreis and his wife Brenda of Farragut and Ronnie Kreis and his wife Connie of Oliver Springs; by two adoring nieces, Lisa Kreis Loos and husband Jeff and Lori Kreis Bowen and husband Frank; and three proud nephews Andrew Kreis and wife Regina and Matthew Kreis; and adopted nephew, Jason Dutka; by 13 adoring great nieces and great nephews; and by numerous cousins.  He also leaves hundreds of former players, former students, and friends upon whose lives he made a huge difference.

Garry accepted Jesus as his Savior at an early age and was baptized.  He grew up in Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church.  He was most recently a member of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church.  For the last 5 years the faithfully attended Central Baptist Church in Oak Ridge with family.

Garry led an amazing life and leaves a phenomenal legacy.  He was born and raised in Oliver Springs, attended Oliver Springs Elementary School and graduated from Oliver Springs High School in 1966.  Much to the delight of his family and hometown he received a scholarship to play football at the University of Tennessee.  He was vital part of two SEC Championships and 1967 and 1969 and a National Championship in 1969.

After a short stint with the San Francisco 49ers, he returned home to East Tennessee where he worked for the Oak Ridge Y-12 plant and C&C Bank for several years.  But then he became “Coach Kreis” where he discovered his true passion for coaching and teaching.  That is where he made his mark.

He began his 30 plus year coaching career to Norwood Middle School in Oliver Springs. “Coach” then became an assistant football coach at Coalfield High School for 7 years.  He then served as head football coach at Coalfield for 21 years.  His teams went to playoffs 18 of those 21 years.  His players knew him as a tough disciplinarian on the field, but a kinds caring, and loving human being at all times.  He always greeted all his students with a smile and a hug.  When he returned in 2008, he said in an interview, “I want to be remembered for caring for the kids at Coalfield.  Not just football players all the kids K-12 I love them all.”

The family will receive friends Sunday, April 2, 2017 from 2:00-5:00 pm at Central Baptist Church in Oak Ridge.  The memorial service and celebration of life will follow with Rev. Will Gouge and Rev. Glenn Ellis officiating.  The interment will be on Monday, April 3, 2017 at 11:00 am at Anderson Memorial Garden with Rev. Don “Padre” Aston and Rev. Bill Edmonds officiating.  The family requests that in lieu of flowers be made to the Coach Garry Kreis Memorial Fund at anyone of 5 Citizens First Banks.  More importantly we can all become living memorials by following Garry’s Christ like example of loving, encouraging, serving, and caring for our fellow man.  Holley Gamble Funeral Home in Clinton is in charge of all arrangements.

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