Dewey Combs, age 87, Carthage, Mo., passed away at his home on Sunday, June 25, 2017, from a sudden illness.
Dewey was born May 27, 1930, in Checotah, Okla., son of the late William Dewey Combs and Mattie Lou Willingham Combs.
He graduated from Springdale High School, then attended Pittsburg State University where he received his Bachelor's Degree in Physical Education. He later received a Master's Degree in Education from the University of Missouri.
He was a coach and teacher with several schools during his 30-year career. He compiled a record of 213-65-14 for four different schools, Golden City, Gallatin, Trenton, and Joplin. His team at Trenton went undefeated twice, and captured the state title in 1966. He began coaching at Joplin High School in 1967. He coached Joplin schools for 19 years, compiling a record of 157-39-7, capturing 13 Ozark Conference titles. In 1968, Joplin formed two high schools, Memorial and Parkwood, and Dewey became the head coach at Parkwood. Dewey was the first, and only head coach at Parkwood. He retired in 1985 after coaching the newly-consolidated Joplin High School for one season. He had undefeated Missouri State Championship teams at Parkwood in 1975, 1980, and 1983. The 1976 team was also undefeated, but due to the Missouri point system, they were not included in the playoffs, sparking a change in the Missouri point system.
Coach Combs was elected into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2010, the Missouri High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 1985, and in 2015, Junge Stadium was renamed the Dewey Combs Athletic Complex at Junge Field in honor of the coach's contributions to the sport, and all the lives he influenced over the years.
In addition to his parents, Dewey was preceded in death by his wife, Carolyn Combs, who died August 14, 2001; brothers, Curtis and William; sisters, Betty Lou and Ann.
Survivors include his children, Tracy Flanigan and husband, Matt, of Carthage, son, Jim Combs (member of the 1980 State Championship Team) and wife, Suzie, of Scottsdale, Ariz.; grandchildren, Kyle and Eric Combs, Anne and Bren Flanigan; brother, Rick Combs and wife, Darlene; sister, Patricia; several nieces and nephews.
Funeral service will be Saturday, July 1, at 10 a.m. at St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church, 812 South Pearl Avenue, Joplin, with Father Joji Vincent officiating. Private family interment will be in Park Cemetery, Carthage. The family will receive friends at Parker Mortuary on Friday from 5 to 7 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggest that memorial contributions be made to Joplin School District Scholarship Fund, in care of Parker Mortuary.
Published on June 28, 2017