Memorial Fund Shares Rick Dekeon’s Legacy of Inclusion

Photo provided by Michelle Hart.
Longtime coach and gym teacher Rick Dekeon passed away from cancer  last fall. Photo provided by Michelle Hart.

March 30, 2014

By Tara Cavanaugh

As a beloved coach and gym teacher, Rick Dekeon will be remembered for the many lives he touched. He was dedicated to giving children the opportunity to participate in sports and activities –– at times he even paid for students’ sports fees himself.

Dekeon’s generous legacy will live on for many reasons, including a $5,100 donation from his family. The donation will support Rec&Ed soccer and basketball scholarships as well as high school pay-to-play scholarships.

“Anyone who knew Rick understood that his passion was inclusion,” Rec&Ed Executive Director Jenna Bacolor said at the Board of Education meeting on March 26. “He worked hard to make sure all kids could enjoy the benefits of team sports and running. He encouraged and motivated kids to participate, no matter how much money their family had, their skill level or anything at all that might hold them back.”

Community members can donate to Rec&Ed youth scholarships in Dekeon’s memory. Checks can be made out to the Ann Arbor Public Schools and dropped off or sent to the Rec&Ed office at 1515 S. Seventh St., Ann Arbor, MI 48103. Please write “Attn: Jenna Bacolor” on the envelope.

A group of Rec&Ed staff, AAPS staff and community members is organizing a run this fall called “Rick’s Run for Kids,” which will be held Nov. 15, 2014 at Pioneer High School. The event will serve as a fundraiser for the Rec&Ed youth scholarship sports fund. For more information on the run, contact Sean Williams at 994-2300 or

For more information, please see the Rec&Ed blog

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  1. They did’t come any finer than Rick. He exemplified what it is to be physical education teacher, mentor, and always went the extra mile to make sure all students were included in activities.

  2. Rick, was a wonderful person,He introduced my Kids to running , they still run at Northside each year, they miss him very much

  3. One of my closest cousins, godparent to my daughter, friend to me. Our family continues to miss him. This tribute is a gift to both cousin Rick and all the kids he touched.

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