Basketball 04

Thomas James Kowaleski

December 2, 1956 ~ November 4, 2022 (age 65) 65 Years Old


Thomas James “Coach K” Kowaleski, 65, of Sandusky passed away unexpectedly late Friday afternoon, November 4, 2022, at his home.  Born on December 2, 1956, in Fremont, Ohio the son of John Urban and Genevieve "Jean" Mary (Zola) Kowaleski.  He was a 1975 graduate from Fremont St. Joseph Central Catholic High School, and went on to attend Otterbein College and later graduated from BGSU with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education in 1979. He taught and coached for over 30 years, teaching first at St. Mary’s Junior High School and then at Adams Junior High before retiring in 2010. He coached Sandusky Girls basketball, Sandusky baseball, Sandusky golf, St. Mary’s basketball, and Huron basketball and baseball.  After retirement, he worked as a starter at Thunderbird Hills Golf Course as well as director of research and development for the Goodtime I. Coach loved all sports, golfing and fishing, and was a die-hard fan of all Detroit teams. He may have been most happy during his annual trips to northern Michigan. Tom also loved telling stories that began with “Have you heard the one about …?” 

He was a member of the St. Mary’s Catholic Church, the Sandusky Elks Lodge #285, the Sandusky Orioles Club Nest #279. Tom was inducted into Fremont St. Joe’s Hall of Fame class of 1998. As a coach he was also a member of the Sandusky Blue Streak’s 1988 baseball team and the 1988/89 girls’ basketball team.

Coach is survived by his wife Barbara J. “Barb” “Kitty” (Nieset) Kowaleski whom he married on March 28, 1980; a daughter Elyse (Josiah) Sanchez of Middleburg Heights; two sons Adam (Allyson) Kowaleski of Columbus and Aaron (Janelle) Kowaleski of Bellevue; his grandchildren Evelyn, Nolan and Hayes (Adam and Allyson) Sadie, Nina, and Sylvie (Elyse and Josiah) and Emma (Aaron and Janelle).  His two brothers Dave (Connie) of Bellevue, and Gary (Lou Ann) of Westerville; and his nieces and nephews.  Tom also had a special friendship with his college buddies, “the Hyenas” who he loved like brothers.  He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Jean, and twin brother Stephen Kowaleski. 

It was his wish to be cremated. A Funeral Liturgy Outside of Mass will be held for Coach on Wednesday morning, November 9, 2022, at 10 am at St. Mary's Catholic Church, 429 Central Avenue, Sandusky.  Deacon Jeff Claar officiating.  Later that day, a "Celebration of Life" will be held for Coach starting at 4 pm at the Sandusky Elks Lodge # 285, 120 E. Adams Street, Sandusky.
The family suggests that memorials contributions be made in his memory to one's favorite charity.
Arrangements are entrusted to the David F. Koch Funeral and Cremation Services, 520 Columbus Avenue, Sandusky.
Your memories and words of comfort may be shared with Coach's family at

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Funeral Liturgy
November 9, 2022

10:00 AM
St. Mary's Catholic Church
429 Central Avenue
Sandusky, Ohio 44870

Celebration of Life
November 9, 2022

4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Sandusky Elks Lodge
120 E. Adams Street
Sandusky, OH 44870


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