Donald R. Hertler Sr.

May 9, 1928September 25, 2013

Donald Ray Hertler, Sr., age 85, passed away September 25, 2013, in Canton, Ohio’s Aultman Hospital, where he was surrounded with love by family and close friends.

Devoted son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, and friend, he touched the lives of countless students, colleagues, and families as a respected teacher and coach at North Canton Hoover High School from 1953 until his retirement in 1981.

Born May 9, 1928 in Bridgeport, Ohio, Don graduated from Bridgeport High School in 1946. He enlisted in the US Army in 1946, and entered Wittenberg College upon completion of his military service. Don received his bachelor’s degree in Education in 1951. He began his teaching and coaching career in Marion, Ohio, and in 1953 he and his wife Nancy moved to North Canton to accept a teaching and coaching assignment. Together they raised their family of three daughters and one son in North Canton. Don may be best remembered as North Canton Hoover’s head football coach from 1960 to 1980; he never had a losing season. He was also Hoover’s Athletic Director for 10 of those 20 years. In addition, Don served the City of North Canton from 1960 to 1967 as Director of Parks and Recreation. He coached numerous all-star teams; ran sectional, district, and regional tournaments; was inducted into a host of Halls of Fame and Halls of Honor; and was a lifetime mentor to many. Over the years, Don received honors and awards for his contributions to school and community, including the re-naming of North Canton’s Memorial Stadium to Don Hertler, Sr. Field in 2011. Don also served in leadership capacities (including church council and usher) at North Canton’s Zion Lutheran Church.

Don is preceded in death by parents Christian and Doris Hertler; wife of 46 years, Nancy (d.1997); daughter Melinda (d. 2007); and wife of 11 years, Shirley (d. 2012).

Survivors include daughter Rebecca Volkmann (husband Stephen) of Worthington, OH; daughter Susan VanVranken (husband Thomas) of North Canton; son Donald Hertler, Jr. (fiancee Heather Maxwell) of North Canton; grandchildren Jonathan and Benjamin VanVranken and Emily Volkmann; brothers, William (wife Beverly), and James (wife Jean deceased); many cousins, nieces and nephews; and countless beloved friends.

His family invites you to attend calling hours Saturday, November 30th, 4-8pm & a Celebration of Coach Hertler's Life on Sunday, December 1st, 2:00pm with both scheduled at North Canton Hoover High School gymnasium, 525 7th Street, North Canton, OH 44720. A private burial will be held on Monday, December 2nd, at North Canton Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to North Canton Sideliners’ Club, PO Box 2184, North Canton, OH 44720 Arrangements under the direction of Karlo-Libby Funeral Home.


  • Funeral Service Sunday, December 1, 2013
  • Visitation Saturday, November 30, 2013

Donald R. Hertler Sr.

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Brian Waltman

December 17, 2013

In 1987, Don Hertler, Jr. was named head football coach of Sugarcreek Garaway High School, a small school tucked quietly away in the middle of Amish country. Present at every game to support his son, standing alone just beyond the end zone, was Don Hertler Sr. Rumor had it he couldn't take sitting in the stands, he had to be on the field. As the season progressed, and a winning tradition began, it was obvious that the teachings of the quit man in the end zone had taken root in his son. Don loved the game of football, he loved his family, and he loved his players. He always greeted you with smile and a firm handshake, and rarely forgot a name.

“ Upon the fields of friendly strife
Are sown the seeds
That, upon other fields, on other days
Will bear the fruits of victory.” Gen. Douglas MacArthur

Don Sr. sowed those seeds ever day he stepped on that football field, and the fruits of his labor can be found tenfold in his community and beyond.

Mark Riefer

December 13, 2013

Coach Hertler was a helpful mentor and postive influence for me and many others. So sorry we could not attend in person. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family!

Mark Riefer and family

Janel Albaugh

October 27, 2013

I was so fortunate to get the opportunity to work at the assisted living home where Don lived. He was loved by everyone who was lucky enough to get to meet him. We'll miss you at the Danbury, Coach. Sending my thoughts and prayers to the Hertler family.

Carl & Voneta Dolvin

October 20, 2013

Sorry to hear of the passing of Coach Don Hertler Sr. We have many fond memories! Our sympathy to his family.

Robert Michel

October 11, 2013

Don left a mark on most young men who went through his classes and football teams. I was always impressed with his professionalism and attitude. He was a true winner and installed this in others. Count me as one who is glad our paths crossed. May God bless and comfort you and your family.

Dan Michel

October 7, 2013

Deepest sympathies to the Hertler family from the Michel family. Coach was a major influence on several of us boys that played him. We have many fond memories of our days playing for him. Thanks for everything!!

Jeff and Debbie Holliday

October 3, 2013

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Hertler family. I'll miss you coach, thank you for your kindness, wisdom, and guidance.

Warren Miller

October 1, 2013

It was a great pleasure to have known your Dad and coach against him. He was a man with a lot of class. I loved being on Siesta Key with him. He will truly be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

Don and Sandy Strausser

October 1, 2013

To the Hertler family: Don was one of a kind that you knew what he said and did you could take to the bank.He was an excellent teacher of mine and later a very good friend. I was so glad I got to see him at my wife's last class reunion and enjoyed remembering times at NC. What a big lost to North Canton and the many students, friends, and great athletes he molded over his sucessful career. Our Deepest Sympathy.
Don and Sandy Strausser "Class of '56 and '59.

Karen (Guenther) Gruber

September 30, 2013

Coach, what memories you left my family and I. From Friday night football to family vacations on Siesta Key. You are one in a million. On behalf of the Joe Guenther family, please know you are all in our thoughts and prayers. Hey Coach, say hi to my dad up there.