Richard Anthony DeMasi Jr. (1938 - 2014)

Richard Anthony DeMasi Jr., 75, of Blythewood, S.C., died peacefully on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014. A Funeral Mass will be held on Friday, Jan. 24, 2014, at 1:30 p.m. at St. Peter's Catholic Church, Columbia, S.C. Visitation will be on Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Dunbar Funeral Home, Northeast Chapel, Columbia, S.C. There will be an additional memorial celebration on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Irmo High School, Columbia, S.C., in the gymnasium. Dunbar Funeral Home, Northeast Chapel, is assisting the family. Please sign the gestbook at Known as "Dick," dad, and "Coach," he was born June 1, 1938, in Somerville, N.J. He was a son of the late Richard Anthony DeMasi Sr. and Josephine Pontilena DeMasi. Richard was raised in Verona, N.J., where he played baseball, basketball, and football - his love! He was an All State football player at Verona High School which led to his college football career at Montclair State University from 1958 to 1962. He played offensive line, linebacker, all kicking duties, and returned kick offs as well. He earned All-American status and was two-year team captain. Dick led the team to an undefeated 1960 season and was chosen as team MVP. He kicked the first field goal and was credited with 12 interceptions in the 1960 to 1961 seasons. Upon graduation, he entered the coaching world as a football assistant at Columbia High School and Hanover Park High School, both in New Jersey, for four years. In 1966, he became head football coach at Morris Catholic High School in New Jersey, as well as the track coach. The following year he added the duty of athletic director and eventually coached the baseball team, too. He built Morris Catholic High School from an average small private school to a team to contend with, beating some of the bigger public schools. Dick was inducted in both the Morris Catholic High School and Montclair State Hall of Fame. He met his beloved wife, Peggy Ducate, in 1964, which led to their marriage. They moved to Aiken, S.C., and Coach entered the business world, working with Ducane for 30 years. While working for Ducane, he began volunteer coaching with younger kids. He became an icon at Seven Oaks Park, Columbia, S.C., coaching baseball, basketball, and football. Many hours of volunteering led to multiple championships with the Eagles, Jets, and Bucs, but more importantly was what he gave to the kids. He built character, taught life lessons, and created lifelong relationships with so many families and kids. He continued coaching at the middle school level and eventually took Sloan School in Columbia, S.C., to prominence! He ended his coaching career at Cardinal Newman High School, Columbia, S.C. Coach influenced many, but was the ultimate father. Surviving are his beloved wife, Peggy DeMasi; sons, Richard "Dickie" Anthony DeMasi III and wife, Katherine, of Irmo, S.C., Jamie DeMasi and wife, Melanie, of Jacksonville, Fla.; daughter, Suzette Gianturco and husband, Giulio of Atlanta, Ga.; six grandchildren, Marco Gianturco, Nina Gianturco, Richard Anthony DeMasi IV, Nicolas DeMasi, Mimi DeMasi, Evan DeMasi; brother, Bobby DeMasi and wife, Terri, of Wagner, S.C. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Alzheimer's Association Research, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1700, Chicago, Ill. 60601-7633.

Published in Star-Ledger from Jan. 20 to Jan. 21, 2014