The Cleveland Board Gamers Message Board › The passing of a friend

The passing of a friend

Michael
Michael26
Group Organizer
Euclid, OH
Post #: 140

It's with great sadness that I report that the northeastern Ohio gaming community has lost a friend - Jeff Ameer passed away after a battle with cancer early Thursday morning. For those of us who knew Jeff, gamed with him and had the honor and privilege to call him a friend, this is a tremendous loss. Nobody who knew him will be surprised that he did what he loved for as long as he could - pushing blocks across the battlefield. We'll miss him greatly. His family is working on arrangements and I will get them out to folks as soon as they are finalized.

Mike
Michael
Michael26
Group Organizer
Euclid, OH
Post #: 141
MEDINA — Regardless of how much success he had teaching and coaching — and he had a lot — Jeff Ameer always took his work seriously, but not himself.

The longtime health and physical education teacher at Claggett Middle School and former varsity boys tennis and boys soccer coach at Medina High died Thursday morning after battling pancreatic cancer for several years. He was 60.

“He did a great job,” said Matt Marquard, a senior on the 1994 Medina soccer team that advanced to the Division I regional final under Ameer. “He was a guy I personally liked playing for. He was a nice guy, he was fun and he kept it real loose.

“With the group we had, he was the right kind of guy to lead that team. We made a nice run, and he was a huge part of that. It was an exciting time. It was a place no Medina boys soccer team had been before.”

Personable and down to earth but fully capable of speaking his mind when he felt the situation called for it, Ameer led the boys soccer team for nine seasons (1988-96) and the boys tennis program for 14 (1994-2007). He was Gazette Coach of the Year in boys soccer in 1988, ’92 and ’96 and in boys tennis in ’96, ’97, ’99, 2000, ’03 and ’04.

In 2000, Medina’s Patrick Thompson, then a sophomore, teamed with senior Mike Noreika to win the Division I state doubles championship with Ameer as coach. They remain the only Medina County tennis players, male or female, to win a state crown.

“I remember his calm confidence, perhaps because he was in unknown territory with us,” said Noreika, who now lives in Seattle. “Despite our low seeding — the lowest seed — in the tournament, Jeff always acted as if we deserved to be there and had as good a chance as any team to win.

“His demeanor helped us focus on the matches and avoid losing ourselves in the excitement of our unexpected run to the state championship.”

Thompson, who came back to finish fourth in the state in singles as a junior and reach the quarterfinals as a senior before going on to a successful playing career at Ball State University, agreed.

“He was very relaxed,” he said. “He was a calm presence no matter how I might have been behaving at the time. He always had a way of calming me down and focusing on the match at end.”

A Medina player (or players) earned Gazette MVP honors in Ameer’s first 13 seasons as tennis coach, but he never hesitated to point out the work of previous coach John Kelly and the playing backgrounds of his athletes had a lot do with that.

Mike Curnayn won in 1994 and Matt Pfeiffer was honored the following year, with Max Schlather capturing four straight from 1996-99. Thompson and Noreika shared the honor in 2000 and Thompson won it outright the next two years, followed by Evan Hunter winning four in a row from 2003-06.

Medina also produced The Gazette’s MVP for boys soccer three times in Ameer’s nine seasons. Chris Ocasek won in 1988 and ’89 and Jake Witkowski was honored in 1994.

“Most of us had other — often several — coaches under whom we trained during the offseason,” Noreika said. “I think Jeff understood his role — though he did not always embrace it — during the season as not someone who would necessarily make us better tennis players, but rather someone who would be there on match days to help us win.”

“A lot of high school coaches aren’t that way,” added Thompson, currently a teaching pro in Columbus. “They want to take over. Numerous times, Jeff gave me the ability to go play a guy halfway between Medina and Toledo. He’d give me that practice off so I could go get that extra competition that was going to help down the road.”

Originally from New York, Ameer also coached in Texas and central Ohio. He was one of those guys who could simultaneously be a leader and confidant, who could motivate and criticize yet still keep sports enjoyable.

“He was a very genuine guy who cared about all his players on and off the field,” said Mike Pap, a 1994 Medina grad who served as a midfielder for Ameer. “He was a joy to play for. We worked hard, but we had a lot of fun.

“He was very serious when it came to practice, but he was a jokester off the field. He liked to razz the different players. Everybody really liked him and really enjoyed playing for him.”

Pap, now a dentist who lives in Rocky River and has a practice in Lakewood, vividly remembers having to run a mile in 5:45 in order to avoid doing additional laps during the first two weeks of practice.

“That was the last time in my life I ran a mile that fast,” he said. “Everybody in the program will remember having to do that.”

An athlete most of his life and a teacher at Claggett since 1988 — he was on leave this school year due to his declining health — Ameer played on a men’s 3.5 United States Tennis Association team well into his 50s and more than held his own. He also spent time teaching the game to youngsters in the summer.

“He never hesitated to stop and give my kids advice on sports,” said Tim Urban, Ameer’s neighbor and former USTA teammate. “My kids liked him so much they always wanted him to come to their birthday parties growing up. He was the only adult there who wasn’t a family member. That’s how much the kids thought of him.”
Michael
Michael26
Group Organizer
Euclid, OH
Post #: 142
I tagged Jeff in about 50 photos.
Jennifer H.
JennHoward
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 145
I will miss you Jeff Ameer! ;'( We (Rob, PetePatrick, Mike B, and I) are playing Union Pacific, the game to which you introduced me, in your honor. :) Be in Peace. *huggles* Jenn
Michael
Michael26
Group Organizer
Euclid, OH
Post #: 144
Jeffrey B. Ameer, 60, of Medina passed away at his home Thursday, October 25, 2012 after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. He was born July 17, 1952 in Yonkers, New York to the late Benjamin and Shirley Ameer. Jeff graduated from Yonkers High School, received his Bachelors of Education from the State University of New York at Cortland and his Masters of Education from the University of Nebraska. Jeff went on to teach physical education at the University of Texas, served as Athletic Director, teacher and coach in Kingsville, Texas and also taught and coached at Mt. Vernon University in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. He concluded his teaching career at Claggett Middle School in Medina, Ohio where he taught physical education and health for twenty-four years. Jeff was a devoted advocate for teachers, serving on the Medina City Teacher's Association. He also served for many years as the varsity head coach for Medina boys soccer and as both assistant and head coach for Medina girls and boys tennis teams. Jeff experienced much joy in positively impacting the lives of his students, athletes, and fellow teachers. His love for athletics carried over into his free time as he enjoyed running, tennis, and basketball. Jeff was also a board game enthusiast. However his greatest joy, transcending all others, was spending time with family. Whether it was attending a Broadway play with his sister, cheering on his sons at wrestling meets and soccer games, sitting front row at his daughter's performances, or traveling across the country and abroad with his wife, Jeff was most content while in the company of his family. Jeff's wife and children further recognize that in addition to endless caring and support, he proved his love for them in being a wise, reliable, and generous provider. Jeff is survived by his wife of 35 years, Connie (Warren), daughter Jennifer (Farrell, 31), sons Matthew (29) and Michael (27), sister Marlene (McLaughlin), and many loving extended family and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Benjamin and Shirley Ameer, sister Charlene, and mother and father in law, Ivan and Elaine Warren. Calling hours will be Friday, November 2 from 4-8:00 p.m. at Waite and Sons Funeral Home (765 N. Court St. Medina OH 44256). A memorial service will be held at Claggett Middle School gymnasium (420 E. Union St. Medina OH 44256) on Saturday, November 3 at 1:00 p.m. Memorial contributions can be made in Jeff's name to Pancan.org
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