- Associated Press - Thursday, July 31, 2014

POWELL, Wyo. (AP) - On a hot July morning best suited for the first two-a-day practices, Powell Panther football players, coaches and hundreds of their friends and family filled Panther Stadium to honor the late Jim Stringer.

The hour-long memorial service July 24 featured emotional speeches by Stringer’s children, fellow coaches and friends.

Stringer’s family sat at field level, as did dozens of current and former Panther players and coaches. The home side’s bleachers overflowed with people who came from near and far to pay their respects to the teacher, coach, father and husband.

An extra set of bleachers was brought in to accommodate the crowd, and even then latecomers were left with standing room only.

Though the overwhelming attendance left no doubt, the words of the day’s speakers drove the point home: Jim Stringer will be missed.

Riley Stringer spoke of his father as a man who was everything to his son.

“The man I knew as a father taught me valuable life lessons and the values of honesty, respect, and love,” Riley Stringer said. “The best friend I knew was always there for me, willing to talk, hang out, or even cause a little trouble if I was feeling up to it.”

Jim Stringer was a teacher even when he wasn’t in the classroom.

“The teacher I knew taught me hard work, drive and dedication even on my laziest days,” Riley said. “The brother I knew was always on my side, he was always there for me, and always promised not to tell Mom.”

Kodi Stringer remembered her father fondly as a man who was never afraid to show his playful side. Her voice shook as she recounted the times Jim would come into her room and make her laugh by loudly singing along to her music.

Kooper Stringer cherished her favorite memories of her dad, from fishing (her catch was 10 times bigger than Jim’s) to watching movies.

She laughed as she told the crowd her father didn’t want to see “The Fault in Our Stars” because “he didn’t want people to see him cry in public.”

Kooper battled her own tears as she admitted that 14 years was not long enough to be with her dad, but thanked him “for our little infinity.”

Carter Baxter, one of Riley’s best friends and a fellow Panther football player, also was touched by coach Stringer’s musical flair, which he used as a motivational tool.

Baxter, an incoming senior, told the story of a day he found himself in the PHS weight room with little desire to lift.

Story Continues →