Sadly, it has happened again. This past Thursday, Kenosha softball lost another one of its big personalities. Rich “Coach” Ehnow peacefully passed away at Froedtert Memorial Hospital at age 65. Coach is the fourth softball luminary to leave us this year. It started on February 19 when Fred “Doc” Tenuta passed on. Then on April 18, Denny DeLoria passed and again on June 8 when Scott Maki left us. Now it is Coach Ehnow who is no longer with us.
According to the obituary on the Bruch Funeral Home website, Coach entered the Air Force on June 22, 1966 to serve in Vietnam and was honorably discharged June 21, 1972. He worked at the KYF from 1974 to 1999.
Coach umpired softball for 23 years and coached sports for 35 years. He enjoyed umpiring and attending the Rotary and City Tournament for many years. He was an avid fan of the Chicago Bears and Cubs, as well as the Wisconsin Badgers.
My first encounter with Coach was during my sophomore year at Tremper High School. I was attending a basketball game with a bunch of my friends when an enthusiastic little man was making his way up and down the bleachers. It was quite obvious that he was not a student, yet he seemed like he knew everyone and likewise, everyone seemed to know him. When I asked someone sitting behind us who this character was, I was informed that it was “Coach”.
In the years to come I never had to ask that question again.
If you were at a sporting event in Kenosha, chances are Coach was there, especially when it came to softball. His obituary mentioned how much he enjoyed the Rotary Tournament, most likely that’s how he acquired his other nickname, “The Mayor of Lincoln Park”.
You couldn’t drive down Sheridan Road without seeing him walking either to or from the KYF. A beep of your horn was always answered with a wave and a big smile. He never wanted a ride.
While Coach did not want a ride when he was on his way to or from work, it was different story when he wasn’t. Coach never turned down a ride after celebrating following a night of softball. In fact, the last line of his obituary reads, “The family would like to thank everyone who has ever given Coach a ride home.”
With the passing of Coach, Scott, Denny and Fred, many of us are reminded of our own mortality. I know that I am. Whatever your spiritual beliefs are, please keep in mind that our time on this earth doesn’t last forever.
Whatever time we have left, we need to do what we can for others. Especially those that we love and care about. Pray for them. Bring them lunch. Pay them a visit. Give them a ride home. Do it while you still can…
Dear God, please remember our brothers and sisters who have gone to their rest in the hope of rising again; may you bring them and all the departed into the light of your presence.
Until next time…from the booth.