Hundreds Gather To Remember Life Of Worthington Coach Who Died Of Cancer


Hundreds of people gathered Wednesday night to remember the life of a Thomas Worthington High School coach who touched so many lives.

Coach Stephen Gussler passed away Tuesday, after a long-fought battle with cancer.

He said it was the support from the community and his family that helped him hang on so long.

It only took one tweet from a senior on the baseball team, for the idea of the vigil to become reality, and for hundreds to come together on the very field where he coached.

"The reason there's so many people here tonight is because of him," said Thomas Worthington JV coach, Ray Noe.

A baseball coach, a mentor, a father, and a friend to so many.  This community comes together to remember Coach Gussler.

"It's incredible what he's done for me and my life," said high school senior, Tommy Hoerauf.

Hoerauf says he last saw Coach Gussler two weeks ago, when, even in such a feeble stage, he was strong enough to go to one last baseball game.

This student, and many others, are now dealing with his death.

"I've known him for so long and he's been so close to me on a personal level that it hurts a lot. I have an empty spot in my stomach now without him," said Hoerauf.

It was about sharing memories at the vigil.  One coach said, "He made sure that you weren't cutting corners or taking any less of yourself because you're only here for one life."

It was also about consoling those in grief. "I think it's our duty to as a Gussstrong family, whether you're 12 years old or 82 years old, to continue to move forward and inspire other people," said another at the vigil.

They made sure to carry on the message of a man, who they love.

"Whether he was your coach, a friend, or a colleague, or maybe you've just heard of Gussstrong before. There's people all around the community that maybe have never met him but the everlasting impact he's had on their lives, regardless of whether he's ever met them or interacted with them, is something that people need to come together and reminisce and celebrate his life too, because really, this is kind of a celebration for him. All these people wouldn't be here if they didn't love him," said Noe.

As one student said so eloquently said after having learned from the teachings of his coach, "Tonight might hurt a little bit, but tomorrow, wake up and live."