Rivalries set aside as Coach Ed Thomas is laid to rest - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Rivalries set aside as Coach Ed Thomas is laid to rest

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by Danielle Wagner

PARKERSBURG (KWWL) The funeral for Aplington-Parkersburg football coach and teacher Ed Thomas was held Monday morning at First Congregational Church.

Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz and Governor Chet Culver were there to support the family.

Hundreds of people also gathered at Veteran's Memorial Hall in Parkersburg, with crowds overflowing into the parking.

As Coach Ed Thomas' funeral procession made its way to Oak Hill Cemetery in Parkersburg, people lined the street, many with arms outstretched, in honor of a man who was so much more than a football coach.

Those lining the street included members of the Dike-New Hartford football team.

"We have a very spirited rivalry with A-P, but that's on the field. Coach Thomas was a great man. He was an influence on a lot of people around this state, not only in this community. We wanted to be here to honor his memory and honor the good works he had done," said D-NH Football Coach Don Betts.

Coaches and players across Iowa respect Thomas as a great football coach...

"He was a heck of a coach," said senior Tom Demro.

But more importantly, as a great man.

"Coach Thomas was a class act in everything he did both on the field and off the field. He was a tremendous person. The kind of person you wanted to be around and associated with," said Betts.

"After the tornadoes and flood it brought our two towns closer together, and we may have a heated rivalry on the game field or any athletic field, we still respect the town and the school and Coach Thomas," said Demro.

Despite a rivalry once the helmets go on, the D-NH football team recognizes the accomplishments of Coach Thomas and his players in football and in life.

"It's obvious he strove to have more out of his players," said Demro.

"Coach Thomas's son Aaron said it best. Coach Thomas would want everybody to move on. Mourn for a while and then move on, and I think that's what we and everyone else has to do," said Betts.

This fall, D-NH players plan to wear stickers on their helmets in honor of Coach Thomas.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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