James Bluford Leierer “Coach”
March 2, 1924 — June 22, 2016
James Bluford Leierer, 92, legendary South Whidbey coach, went home to be with The Lord June 22, 2016. Born March 2, 1924, in New Mexico, he was the son of the late Dewey Leierer and Cora Sunderland Leierer of Enid, Okla.
After graduating from Enid High school in 1943, where he was a multiple-sport letterman, Leierer then served in the United States Navy where he played football from 1944-1945.
In 1946, he continued his football career at Tulane University in New Orleans. James transferred to Seattle Pacific University where he majored in zoology, physical education, and teacher education.
For over 60 years as coach, teacher and community member, Coach Leierer modeled his savior Jesus Christ by preaching hard work, building positive relationships, teamwork and sportsmanship on South Whidbey Island. Leierer was the head football coach for Langley and South Whidbey High School from 1953-1982 and reached near-iconic status in the school community. Leierer continued helping and developing the football programs at South Whidbey bringing his years of coaching to 45. He also coached basketball, baseball, track, and soccer. He has had an enduring influence on his family, friends, students and players that he coached.
A resident of Langley Washington since 1953, Coach was active in The Island Church, teaching Sunday school, holding neighborhood Bible studies, acting as a youth leader and giving more than 25 years to the summer Bible camp program through The American Missionary Fellowship. Coach also conducted prayer walks around the schools of South Whidbey.
James Leierer was preceded in death by two brothers, Everett, of Pennsylvania, Melvin, of Texas, and sister Helen Kelly, of Oklahoma. Surviving are brother Ernest, of Oklahoma; sisters, Doriene Kesner, of Oklahoma, and Betty Dundas, of Kansas; beloved wife of 64 years Iladeene McAllaster Leierer, of Langley; son Dr. Stephen Leierer, of Greenville, N.C.; daughters, Lowana Dunckel (Darrell), of Lagrange, Ohio, Charnell Bolger (Kevin), of Seattle, and Nanette Pierson (David), of Langley; grandsons, Aaron Dunckel, of Danielsville, Ga., Ezekiel Pierson, Zakris Pierson, Matthias Pierson and Malachi Pierson, of Langley; granddaughters, Courtney Dunckel White, of Jackson, Mich., and Lydia Pierson, of Langley; two step-granddaughters, Jessica Williamson, of Seattle, and Lindsey Nguti of South Bend, Ind.
A celebration of Coach’s life will be held at 2 p.m. July 23, in the South Whidbey High School Gym on Maxwelton Rd. Langley, WA 98260.