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Every school, town and community has its own short list of people respected and revered by everyone. For Momence and the greater Kankakee area, Doug Wellenreiter was one of those people.

Wellenreiter, 63, died Tuesday. A teacher for more than 30 years, Wellenreiter was the head baseball coach at Momence for 25 seasons after spending two years as an assistant, retiring in 2014. During his time at Momence, Wellenreiter also served as an assistant boys basketball coach.

“It is with a heavy heart that the Momence athletic department mourns the death of our beloved coach, teacher, mentor and friend, Doug Wellenreiter,” Momence’s athletic department said in a statement to the Daily Journal. “Doug served the Momence community for over 30 years. Doug’s positive impact on the lives of those [who] were fortunate enough to know him will be cherished.”

Aside from his roles at the high school, Wellenreiter also coached the junior high baseball team and is credited with helping start Momence’s softball program. He was also an official in several sports for a total of more than 40 years, working every level of grade school sports to college.

Wellenreiter was an experienced coach at the collegiate level. He served as an assistant for the late coaching legend Ralph Hodge at Olivet Nazarene University from 1987-90 and was a baseball assistant for the Tigers in 2007 and 2008. Most recently, Wellenreiter was an assistant baseball coach at Goshen College in Goshen, Ind., where he and his family moved after his retirement from Momence.

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