Donald Stemple – Our Community is going to Miss You
by Brian and Jack Coll
Sadly, we learned of Donald’s passing today. Like many of you, our thoughts went out to his family, his friends and his players from more than 5 decades of coaching the youth of our community. I guess it depends on when your path crossed with Don, in my time he was a fixture on the sidelines of Saint Cosmas and Damian. Some of you reading this may have played with him in his younger days, or coached against him over the years. In any case, he was as classy as one can be, poised and from what I recall, he was building student athletes up, that’s not always the easiest thing to do. Many coaches would ride the best player and not build up the talent around them. Don always seem to want to help all of the players on the team become the best they could be. I’m going to post his official obituary here and after that, you will see why we included him in our Conshystuff Hall of Fame a number of years ago:
Donald J. Steeple
Donald J. Stemple, 89, of West Conshohocken, PA passed away Saturday, September 11, 2021.
He was born in Bryn Mawr, Pa on February 24, 1932, the son of the late Edwardand the late Leonarda (Wtulich) Stemple.
Mr. Stemple has lived in West Conshohocken all of his life. He was a member of St. Gertrude RC Church.
He coached St. Gertrude’s CYO Boys basketball for 25 years, he coached West Conshohocken Football, also coached St. Cosmas and Damian and St. Matthew’s Girls CYO Basketball. Donald was inducted into Montgomery County Sports Hall of Fame. He worked with Quaker Chemical.
He was the husband of Mary Lou ( Frey ) Stemple.
Survivors include Wife Mary Lou Stemple of West Conshohocken, Pa, Son Donald J. Stemple, II of Greer, SC, Son Douglas Stemple of Malvern, Pa, Son Jeffrey Stemple of Coatesville, Pa, Daughter Lisa A. Kaufmann of Naples, Fl. He is also survived by his grandchildren Devin, Danielle, Nichole, DJ, Kyle and Eric, and great grandchildren Zoe, Mason, Micah and Courtney.
Along with his parents he was preceded in death by a brother Edward Stemple, Jr.
His Funeral Service will be held Friday, September 17, 2021 at 11:00 AM fromMoore, Snear & Ruggiero Funeral Home, 300 Fayette Street, Conshohocken, PA.
Friends may call on Friday, September 17, 2021 from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM at the funeral home.
Interment will take place in St. Matthew’s Cemetery, Conshohocken, PA.
Arrangements by Moore, Snear & Ruggiero Funeral Home, 300 Fayette Street, Conshohocken, PA, (610) 828-0330.
Don Stemple racked up 637 career CYO Basketball victories with St. Gertrude’s, SS Cosmas & Damian and Conshohocken Catholic during a nearly 50 year run in coaching. When it all started back in 1952 Don would have been happy with a dozen career victories as he posted a 6-12 season with St. Gertrude’s. The following year Stemple’s West Conshohocken hoopsters went 2-10, giving him a total of eight victories in two seasons.
In 1954 his team went 20-1 and Mr. Stemple was on his way to more than 600 victories. In 1961 his team posted a 30-6 season and from 1962-1964 Dons CYO teams went 108-17 that included a championship season with a 42-2 record. The numbers for Don Stemple go on and on, but it really never was about numbers to Don. He was interviewed many times over the years and following a 28-2 season in 1987-88, and a 30-3 record the following year Don was very clear when he said “Let’s face it, it didn’t have a lot to do with coaching, there were some very talented girls on these teams.”
Ask any coach, posting 637 career victories certainly has a lot to do with the coach. He coached both boys and girls in his more than 45 years of coaching, and every one of the kids that ever played for him love him, as a coach, as a leader, and a great mentor.
Don coached for all the right reasons, how much can a player progress during the season, perhaps Don wanted to give a child a little more attention making them feel a little bit more like a contributing member of the team. He also coached the West Conshohocken Raiders Midget Football team from 1972-1976 winning championships. Don also coached football at St. Matthew’s in 1955 as an assistant coach and in 1957 he served as an assistant basketball coach at St. Matthew’s High School.
His connections with the kids is what made Don Stemple great, that’s what landed him in the Montgomery County Coaches Hall of Fame, and that’s exactly what landed him in the Conshystuff.com Hall of Fame.