The late Charles E. Rimer always told his family that being called “coach” was one of his life’s greatest honors.Rimer, who died at 85 on June 11, graduated in 1946 from Concord High School, where he served as class president and captain of the football team. He was awarded a four-year scholarship to Davidson College and, after graduating in 1950, served in the Army, seeing combat in the Korean War.He eventually became principal of Concord High during the contentious era of school desegregation in the late 1960s. He and his family faced severe backlash, even death threats, as schools were integrated. During his time as head football coach at Concord, from 1958 to 1962, he helped shape the lives of many Concord athletes. “He could have taken a lot of different paths in life because of his intellect and his passion and his drive,” said Rimer’s oldest daughter, Terri Rimer Fox. “He really could have chosen any path in life and been successful.” “He had such an influence on his former players, and he inspired them to take more noble paths,” Fox said. “Some said he may have even kept them out of jail, but he definitely helped them choose a better life for themselves.” A lasting legacyVanessa Rimer Lynch, Rimer’s youngest daughter, said she would remember her father as a skilled athlete, gifted educator, devoted coach, dedicated family man and true Christian gentleman. “It’s so hard to describe the impact he had on people in a nutshell,” said Lynch. “He was a very quiet man who led by example. He was soft-spoken, but he got the job done, and his presence just commanded respect. You knew what he expected from you, and you did it.”As Lynch began to spread word about her father’s declining health online, emails started pouring in from his former players, students and friends. Lynch printed the emails and read them to her father while he was in hospice care.Brenda Blackwelder Horton, who graduated from Concord in 1968, wrote, “Your father was one of my favorite people. He would listen and try to solve our problems. He was a great example of the type of teacher … you’d hope to get. (He) was the type of teacher who made a difference in the lives of their students.”Lee Basinger graduated from Concord in 1959 and was a coached by Rimer.“I remember a lot of hot August days at the practice field,” he wrote.“Back then we went to CHS in eighth grade, so most of us played football for (him) for five years.“He helped, along with our parents, mold us into the men we became. Tell him thanks and that a lot of Spiders are thinking of him.”Jerry Riley also played for Rimer. “He was firm, but he was fair, a perfect role model,” wrote Riley. “He had a way to get the most out of people. As a coach, he taught me commitment and discipline, and I was able to pass this on to my boys.”Wayne Furr is now a pastor in Illinois.“I know I was a sorry football player,” Furr wrote. “I disappointed you, my father and others with my lack of effort and a malaise that I’d just as soon forget. However … here I am 50 years later so very appreciative of you. … I have a congregation that demands much of what I learned under your tutelage. I thank the Lord for you.”Robin Hayes, chairman of the N.C. Republican Party, expressed his condolences.“Every memory I have of him is wonderful,” Hayes wrote. “I remember one afternoon at practice when we weren’t working very hard and coach Rimer put on a helmet – nothing else – lined up across from us on the line and ran all over us. He was a great coach, a great man and great friend and mentor.”Star athlete finds loveRimer’s talents on the field earned him a four-year football scholarship to Davidson College. After dislocating his shoulder during a game, he was sent to a hospital in Charlotte, where he met his wife-to-be, Carleen, a nursing student. “Mac,” as he called her, was focused on finishing school, getting a job and earning money. Neither of them had time to fall in love, but they did.Two months before Carleen graduated, they secretly got married.In 1950, the couple moved to Badin, where Rimer had his first teaching job. He was 24, and the school dedicated its yearbook to him that year, saying, “This dedication is evidence of our admiration for his knowledge as an instructor, our appreciation of his skill and understanding as a coach and our high regard for him as a Christian gentlemen.”Five years later he returned to Concord and began a career in education that would span more than three decades. He spent his early years at Concord High, where he taught history and was the assistant football and baseball coach. Because her father touched so many lives, Lynch constantly is reminded of him.“I don’t hear his voice so much as I see him,” she said. “I see him in so many people. I see him in some of his former players. … I see him in his friends … and in his grandchildren.“I see him when I go to the high school, in the Charles E. Rimer Gymnasium, and it just floods over me,” Lynch said. “I see him when I go to a Concord football game and when I hear the bell, because that was huge to him.”A loyal fanRimer never missed a Concord High football game, even the year Terri got married and wedding activities took place the same night as a game. Rimer went to the game in a tuxedo, after his daughter’s wedding reception.“That’s just one of my sweet memories of his love for Concord,” said Lynch.Toward the end of her father’s life, Lynch often visited him and would talk about anything. Once they talked about their favorite colors. She said she didn’t have one; he said his were black and gold. “Even though his mind and memory were failing, he could still tie his life back to black and gold,” said Lynch. “I never knew the impact he had on the players until all these emails and phone calls started coming in.”“There’s no way I can leave the legacy he left,” she said. “All I can do is live my life in a way that would make him proud.”
Friday, Jun. 21, 2013
Concord High coach, principal inspired students ‘to take more noble paths’
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