Paul Thomas “Bear” Bremigan Sr.
August 21, 1930 ‒ February 01, 2008
Mount Gilead, Ohio
Paul Thomas “Bear” Bremigan Sr., age 77, of Mount Gilead, died unexpectedly on Friday morning, February 1, 2008, in the Morrow County Hospital Emergency Room following an extended illness that he fought every step of the way.
On August 21, 1930, Paul was born in Cambridge, Ohio, the son of the late Thomas and Besse Shooter Bremigan. He graduated from the Cambridge High School in the Class of 1948, where he played center on the football team and was invited to play in the Canton Football All-Star Game.
Following his graduation, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, and served as a radio operator. A veteran of the Korean Conflict, he had been stationed in Japan, and during this time he flew over Korea on numerous occasions to radio in information. A very proud veteran, Paul hoped to have his own brick laid in the Morrow County Veterans Memorial to be a part of it’s history.
Upon his honorable discharge from the Air Force, Paul went to college at Ohio University, where he had been given a scholarship to play football. He graduated with his bachelor’s degree in Education in 1956, and had the experience of playing center on the football team for three years.
While at Ohio University, Paul met his lovely wife to be Donna Ball, in his first year at school. In their third year, Paul and Donna got married on campus on June 18, 1955. Together they shared fifty two wonderful years of marriage, and a love for their family and antiques.
After graduating from O.U., Paul began following his passion for teaching and coaching high school students. He taught and coached at seven schools throughout his career, which would be: Cambridge High School, Olentangy High School, Delaware Hayes High School, Mount Gilead High School, RiverValley High School, Cardington High School, and Ridgedale High School.
Most of those who know Paul, don’t know him as Paul, rather they know him as Coach Bremigan. His most notable tenure as a football coach, came in Mount Gilead where he served as the head football coach from 1965 to 1980. During that time, he compiled a record of 95 wins to only 52 loses, posting a winning record in 13 of his 16 seasons, winning 5 Mid Ohio Conference championships, and being named the MOC Coach of the Year in 1979. His official record, Paul ended with 164 wins and 92 loses.
Though he is most known as a football coach, he also served as a basketball coach and track and fields coach. As the head track and field coach from 1966 to 1977 in Mount Gilead, he led the Indians to five league championships, 3 district championships, and 51 consecutive dual meet victories.
For his many successful years as a coach, Coach Bremigan has been inducted into both the Mount Gilead and Olentangy Football Hall of Fame.
Fiercely competitive, Coach Bremigan earned the nickname “Bear” because he never let up on his players. Bear stressed the fundamentals of the game over and over and over, until you got it right as a team. His players will forever remember “the look” he would give over top of the glasses that were sitting on his nose. He was always thinking of ways to motivate and get the most out of his team.
So inspiring to students as a coach and mentor, many of “his boys” as well as his own son, have followed his footsteps. It has been speculated that more than one hundred of his former athletes have become coaches. For many years a high school football clinic has been held, which has been dubbed the “Sons of Bremigan” clinic, with attendance consisting of his former players.
A man of many interests, not just football, Paul has followed his lifelong passion for history, which began during his time in Texas. At each school, Paul would teach history in a way it had never been taught before. The ways in which he spoke and taught each lesson to students inspired and motivated his students to learn, “he made them love history.”
His passion for history led he and his wife Donna, to open the Bear’s Den Antiques on the square of Mount Gilead. He cherished everything from artifacts and historical documents, to early books. Always reading about history and antiques led Paul to being the aficionado in Morrow County when it came to antique appraisal.
With his grandchildren, Paul loved to take them out on his boat at Apple Valley to go fishing.
An animal lover, Paul loved his dog “Blackie” who would go everywhere with him.
A heart of gold, Paul felt everything deeply, to his core. It tore at him if anything happened to his family, team, students, and he would always try to be there for “his boys.”
When you think of the highest compliments or most positive adjectives one could use to describe someone, those who know Paul would be able to find those words. Whatever he would decide to do, Bear would do it with all he could muster, whether that would mean running from Mount Gilead to Iberia, to trying to get out his wheelchair. Always wanting to be the best, Paul would not just do things, he would do them right. He would strive to have “the best team, the best booth at the show,” he wanted the best for himself and everyone around him.
Paul was a member of the Ohio High School Football and Track Coaches Association, the Tri-Rivers Artifact Club, and was on the Mount Gilead Board of Education for eight years. Also, he attended the First Baptist Church in Mount Gilead.
Left to cherish his memory include his wife, Donna, his son and daughter-in-law: Paul Jr. & Joyce Bremigan of Russia, Ohio; two grandsons: Ryan and Corey Bremigan; one sister, Jonell (Ralph) Vance of Leavittsburg, Ohio, one sister-in-law, Carole Bremigan of Cortland, Ohio; seven nieces and nephews: Kim, John, Brenda, Karen, John, Susan, and Kathy; numerous great nieces and nephews; and countless dear friends.
In addition to his parents, Paul was preceded in death by his brother, Ronald Bremigan, and his beloved in-laws: James and Sarah Ball.
His family will greet friends on Monday from 2 – 4 and 6 – 8 p.m. and Tuesday from 10 – 11 a.m. at the Snyder Funeral Home, 76 S. Main St., Mt. Gilead. Services to celebrate his life well lived will be held on Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. at the Mount Gilead High School, 338 Park Avenue, Mount Gilead, with Pastor Robert Hughes and Dr. Dennis Schultz officiating. Burial with military honors will follow at Rivercliff Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Humane Society of Morrow County, P. O. Box 298, Mount Gilead, Ohio 43338, the Mt. Gilead Emergency Squad, 1 Municipal Drive, Mt. Gilead, Ohio 43338, or to the Paul “Bear” Bremigan Scholarship Fund, 338 Park Ave., Mt. Gilead, Ohio 43338.
Online condolences may be expressed to his family by visiting: www.snyderfuneralhomes.com.