Edmund L. Holcroft, 85, of West Chester, PA and Venice, FL passed away peacefully on September 11, 2020.
He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Barbara L. Holcroft. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his brother John Holcroft of Mount Holly, NJ, his son David Holcroft of Columbia, CT and daughters Jill Holcroft-Williams of Greenville, NC and Karen Holcroft Laughlin of West Chester, PA. He is also survived by eight granddaughters and three great-grandsons.
Born November 4, 1934 in Ocean City, NJ, his family moved to Philadelphia, PA while he was in grade school. He graduated from West Philadelphia High School where he lettered in soccer, basketball and baseball. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Health and Physical Education from West Chester State Teacher’s College (West Chester University) and later earned his master’s degree in Education from Temple University.
After graduation from West Chester, he became a teacher at Pequea Valley School and started the junior high soccer program and coached high school baseball, where his teams won district championships within the three years he coached there. In his spare time, he also played semi-professional soccer in the German-Hungarian league for several years. He then was hired to teach physical education and coach varsity soccer at Kennett High School, and later added the responsibilities of assistant athletic director and department chairperson. He remained at Kennett High School for 37 years. His illustrious career included several Southern Chester County League Championships, three district titles and 386 total victories and his honors include the Chris Jones Memorial Award from West Chester University, the Southern Chester County Coach of the Year, Daily Local News Coach of the Year, Pennsylvania Coaches Association Coach of the Year, induction into the Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Hall of Fame and the Chester County Sports Hall of Fame.
Ed’s fiery passion for teaching and coaching over 40 years are evident in that he never stopped learning how to be better at the game, any game. He earned his soccer coaching licenses, “F” license through to “A” license, which led to opportunities to coach the Under-18 men’s state and national teams, along with the evaluation, selection and staffing of the Olympic Development Program for youth soccer and other international, national, state camps and festivals.
Ed recognized that understanding the game from various perspectives was important to mastering the game and he traveled to England with his district championship team where they had the opportunity to play against high school teams and clubs there. It was an experience that he was excited to offer his team and often talked about years later.
Ed was also deeply ingrained in the Kennett Square area. He held the position of Kennett Community Recreation Director for 15 years until he retired that position. He also began the Kennett Soccer Camp where he spent several years bringing his enthusiasm for soccer to children of the southern Chester County region. His camp coaches were often players from his own teams, many who followed in his footsteps and continued on with their own coaching careers—at least 25 becoming coaches at the highs school, college, club or state levels.
Although soccer was a large part of Ed’s career, his family was paramount to him and he always found time to enjoy his family and other activities. He met his wife Barbara at Wedgewood Swim Club while he was life-guarding early in his career and they spent the next 25 years there where he taught his children to swim and he also played in the men’s volleyball league. He took pleasure in taking his children skiing, taking his daughters to YMCA “Indian Princesses” (now “Adventure Guides”) for camping and teaching them to play golf and tennis at West Chester Golf and Country Club.
His competitive spirit was not only for soccer—a true athlete, he played semi-professional baseball in Philadelphia and later played baseball for the Red Men in the West Chester Adult Baseball League for many years. He also learned to play golf and eventually he accomplished a handicap in the single digits. He achieved a “hole in one” four times and won the “Iron Man” award more than once for the most rounds of golf played in a year at the club.
In addition to sports, Ed also enjoyed chaperoning the proms and dinner-dances at Kennett High School for all of his years teaching at Kennett, where he was able to demonstrate his admirable couple-dancing with Barbara, using his dance talents he learned as a teenager. He also enjoyed his daily crossword puzzles and brain-teaser games and worked hard to keep both his mind and body young and active. He and his wife Barbara also belonged to bridge groups where they played together monthly for more than 40 years. They loved travelling together and they visited many countries over the years, including England, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, Turkey and the Greek islands. For the past 16 years, they have had the pleasure of dividing their time between Florida and West Chester.
Services and donation information will be announced in the near future.
Arrangements by DellaVecchia, Reilly, Smith & Boyd Funeral Home, Inc, of West Chester, 610-696-1181, www.DellaFH.com