James Heal

Jim Heal was born in Richwood, WV the nearest hospital to Summersville where his parents Harold and Leatha McCarty Heal lived. He and his younger siblings, Mary Ann and Dick attended the local public schools and graduated from Nicholas County High School. Jim started college at WV Tech. He was drafted in January 1946 and sent to Great Diamond Island off the coast of Maine where the army was removing mines from Portland harbor. Using the G. I. Bill he attended West Virginia University to earn a degree in physical education. He played defensive end on the football team under coaches Dudley DeGroot and Art Lewis. His first teaching position was at junior high level in Iaeger in McDowell County. His next position was Tyler County High School where he was head coach of all sports for eight years. During that time he was chosen six times to lead the northern team of the Little Kanawha All Conference football team . He moved to St Marys High School and coached basketball and football. As defensive coach he helped Bill Hanlin lead the 1963 St. Marys football team to an undefeated 10-0 record without being scored upon. No opponent scored upon that team that year, a state record which stood for many years. Both coaches moved on to college level; Jim to WV Tech, Bill to Glenville. In 1965 Jim became assistant football coach under head coach Charles Cobb at WV Tech. Jim was also the head baseball coach for six years as well as teaching physical education classes. With the assistance of coach Bob Brown they led the baseball teams to championships in the Southern Division three times. With a fellowship for graduate studies, Jim was away from football for two years attending Michigan State University, His research for the doctorate resulted in the preparation of the West Virginia state drivers licensing test presented in sign language on video. He returned to WV Tech to serve as assistant football coach under Coach Roy Lucas as well as teaching safety education classes. He became head football coach in 1983 and served for six years. He retired from WV Tech as professor emeritus and moved to Stafford County, VA. He taught and coached football for seven years at North Stafford High School. In 1990 Jim and Frank Vincent coached the junior varsity to a 10-0 season. Jim volunteered with Stafford County Citizen Assistance program, the National Park Service at Chatham Manor, and at Porter Library. He was a 50 year member of Middlebourne Masonic Lodge. He had been a member of Rotary International and Civitans in Montgomery, WV. He is survived by his wife, Ruth, his son, Jay and daughter-in-law, Emiko, his sister Mary Ann Metrick, in-laws Jim and Karen Keister and their children, niece, Dr. Kelley Heal-Ortiz and her husband Mark and son Spencer, and a cousin, Richard Russell. He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother, Dr.Richard Heal and wife Elaine, and his brother-in-law, Emmett Metrick. In lieu of flowers the family suggests a donation to a charity of your choice in Jim Heal’s memory.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


James Heal

have a memory or condolence to add?

Joe Oliver

December 30, 2017

I am very sorry for your loss. I played football under Coach Heal at WVIT and he was a very nice person and great to play for. He left a great impact on all of us who played for him.

Paul & Barbara Gutshall

December 21, 2017

Ruth, Jay, Mary Ann, and Family

I'm sadden by your loss and hope that you all find comfort. I have fond memories of my visits with the Heals in Smithers, and talking football with Coach Heal at WV Tech.

Jim Baker

December 1, 2017

I played high school football in '61 to '63 when Coach Heal was at Tyler County High School. Coach spent a lot of time driving us "out in the country" boys without transportation home after practice and games. I thought a lot of this man.

Jed Sponaugle

November 15, 2017

So sorry. Just heard about Jim. He was a good friend.

Gail Larkin

November 14, 2017

Jim has been a neighbor of our for many years here in Stafford Va. He has coached our three boys in North Stafford High School and has been a wonderful friend and neighbor. Many blessings to the family at this time. Love, Bob Gail and family.

Billy Howard

November 13, 2017

He was my gym coach at North Stafford High in the 90's.He was a great coach always let students know they could be more .He was a fair coach graded by effort .If you tried your best he was happy with that.Rip coach thanks for always letting me know you cared .

Jarrett Frame

November 13, 2017

I was a student at WV Tech when Coach Heal was there. He was a great coach and gentleman and he will be missed by all.

Terry Blackburn-Parker

November 13, 2017

Ruth, I am so sorry for your loss. Jim coached baseball with my first husband Rick at North Stafford. He was such an encouragement to Rick when Rick's health started to fail. I find it interesting that we buried Rick 21 years ago tomorrow. My prayers are with you and your family at this time.

Ron Wilcox

November 13, 2017

Coach Heal is still fondly remembered here in the Middlebourne WV area, and along with Bill Hanlin was honored at the Tyler County HIGH SCHOOL ALUMNI parade in the late 90's. His teams were highly respected, and likely one of his "sweetest victories" was a payback trouncing of the Paden City Wildcats in 1963.
Ron Wilcox ( Middlebourne )

November 13, 2017

It is with great sadness to hear of your loss of your beloved husband. We want you to know that you have our prayers and sympathy during this time. May your sorrow lessen each day with hope, comfort and love of friends and family.
Department of Parks and Recreation Senior Council, Stafford, VA