Jon Hersch had a long, successful career as a high school English teacher and coach.
His track and field coaching career was capped by his induction into the Minnesota State Track and Field Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He also spent many years as an assistant football coach.
According to a former colleague, his coaching success isn't the only thing that stands out about Hersch.
"I had the privilege of coaching football for many years with Jon at Blaine and Minnetonka. He was a great teacher and a great coach," said Dave Nelson. "I don't think I have met a person who is more caring or kind than Jon."
Hersch, of Edina, died on Nov. 21 from complications of COVID-19. He was 74.
"Through his example, Jon taught us all a lot about being a great husband, father and friend," Nelson said. "He leaves a legacy of how we should live life and treat others."
Hersch was born to Irma and Russell Hersch on Feb. 10, 1946, in Cambridge, Minn.
The family moved to Osseo in 1957 when Russell Hersch became the principal at Osseo High School.
Jon Hersch competed in four sports — baseball, basketball, football and track and field — at Osseo High School.
After graduating, Hersch attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, where he competed in football and earned a bachelor's degree in English in 1968.
He began his teaching career in Mount Morris, Mich. In 1971, he accepted a position at Blaine High School. When the Anoka-Hennepin School District opened Champlin Park High School in 1992, Hersch joined that staff.
Jann Garofano, who teaches English at Champlin Park, said: "I was fortunate to be Jon's colleague from 1995 until he retired. He was the most calm, gentle and organized person I knew! He was so proud of his family and adored them so."
After retiring in 2003, he joined the Minnetonka football staff as an assistant coach to Nelson. After five more seasons of coaching, Hersch became the team's statistician. He continued with that until 2019.
He served as secretary and treasurer for both the Minnesota Cross Country and Track and Field coaches associations for 21 years.
One of the highlights of his career was working as an official at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
Hersch is survived by his wife of 51 years, Gretchen, daughters Jennifer Matysik of Edina and Sarah Helgeson of Guyton, Ga., and two sisters and a brother.
A private family service will be held. A celebration of his life will be held later.
Joel Rippel • 612-673-4719