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Stan J. Solokis

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Stan was born on April 3, 1928, to John and Petronella (Zalewski) Solokis in Muskegon, Michigan.

On October 11, 2021, Monsignor Kaminski called Stan Solokis to coach ‘Heavens Team’ at God’s big Basketball tournament. “Coach,” as Stan is fondly known as, will always be remembered for his coaching techniques, inspirational guidance to his students, and setting them up to have successful futures. His passion for Saint Mary’s athletes’ success will be eternal.

He was the first Baseball Coach for St. Mary. He could be found spending time grooming the fields. His children remember him teaching them how to shift gears and drive their cars around the bases. He even bought the Gocha home and moved it to face the ball field.

He always went the extra mile to ensure his teams could fulfill their potential on and off the court. Many times, he would be thanked by their family members by way of bags of potatoes and buckets of smelt. His Michigan Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame and Gaylord Otsego Area Sports Hall of Fame success are a tribute to his hard and relentless work as “Coach”.

His colleagues will continue telling stories for years about how he inspired them even after he left his coaching careers.

His children remember him for their stern upbringing, heavy hand, soft heart, ledger entries, and his sense of humor with a twinkle in his eye and sneaky smile. He taught them to be self-sufficient with a strong work ethic. He relished in having family gatherings, the chaos of grand and great grands running around and climbing all over him. His candy hiding is legendary. He loved being outside gardening and doing yard work in Florida. He loved his getaway time fishing with family and showing them the secret spots to mushroom hunt.

He is a World War II veteran, having served in China with fellow Marines.

His co-conspirator in life, Gladys, has stood the test of time and has acknowledged her life will not be the same without Stan “The Man” at her side.

Las Vegas has dimmed the lights of the strip this weekend and Michigan Casino’s are closed. Please toss a ten dollar bill out the window as you pass by those casinos.

He is survived by his wife, Gladys; children, Virginia, Stan (Ellen), Donna, Steve (Heidi) Marianne (Todd), and Deloris; his grandchildren, Leah (Andrew), Paul, Christa (Devin), Tiffany, Vincent, Amber (Keith), and Daniel; and great-grandchildren, Isabella, Briella, Gabriella, Atticus, and Kash.

Stan is preceded in death by his parents; his daughter, Sharon; and son-in-law, Daniel.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Mary Athletic Association at 321 N. Otsego Ave., Gaylord, MI 49735.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, October 16, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. from St. Mary Cathedral.

Visitation will be held at the Nelson Funeral Home on Friday, October 15, 2021, from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. A parish Rosary will be offered at the Nelson Funeral Home on Friday (October 15) at 7:00 p.m. Visitation will continue on Saturday, October 16, 2021, at St. Mary Cathedral from 10:00 a.m. until the time of services.

21 comments on “Stan J. Solokis”

  1. Gladys and Family,
    Very sorry to hear. Stan and I had so many great times fishing together. We had many
    laughs. I will always remember those times. We are praying for Stan .
    Love and Prayers,
    Joe and Marie

    • Bill “ Red” Rolinski

      To the Solokis family
      Speaking for all the players that had the privilege of playing for coach we want to extend to you our sincerest sympathy and to thank you for sharing coach with us. He was truly dedicated to coaching and as we players now recognize at great sacrifice to time with his family. He coached varsity , junior varsity, seventh and eighth grade, and Saturday morning basketball as well as baseball all in the same year at St. Mary’s. His teams were often top ranked in the state and gave St. Mary’s the reputation that it enjoys today as a tough opponent. He will always be “coach” to us and we owe him a special thanks for a job well done.

      • We are keeping you all in our prayers now and the days ahead. Eternal rest grant unto him oh Lord and may your perpetual light shine upon him. Peace and comfort
        Mark and Michele Woodhams

        • Prayers for all the family . Uncle Stan left a great impression in me even though I haven’t seen him in years. Rest in peace.

          • Coach was a friend and mentor, he will be missed by many, but remembered by all who met him. Coach was special guy, he was able to be both friend and teacher. When looking back at school days it’s very difficult not to have the coach in those memories. I don’t remember everything he said but I do remember how he made me feel. RIP Coach.

            • Cathy and Stan Granger

              So very sorry to hear about Stan. The whole family is very special to me and my Stan. I have always been very special friends with Marianne and spent many days with Gladys and Stan. And the family. Our deepest sympathy for you all. God bless. Much love

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            • Gladys and family,
              We are so sorry to hear of your loss.
              We are saying prayers for you all at this difficult time.
              Mark and Karen Lambert

              • Gladys, Marianne, and family,
                We send you our sincere sympathy. Keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers. May all the great memories you created during your lifetime give you comfort and the fun you had as a family bring many smiles. Coach has touched so many lives, as you have too, Gladys. Mike learned a lot of life lessons and enjoyed playing for Stan. May he rest in peace.
                Mike and Connie Zaborowski

                • Dear aunt Gladys and cousins, I am so sorry for your loss. I am also sorry that I won’t be attending but will be there in spirit. Please take comfort in the thought that you will all be together again some day… love to you all!

                  • CASIMER (CAMY ) DZWIK

                    Gladys and Solokis Family,
                    I have just learned of the passing of “ COACH STAN” and am sending ‘our long-time special friendship’, our caring love, and our sympathy to you all, with “HUGS from afar to all”. Cherished all the cards, letters and surprise gifts we have exchanged every Christmas since I graduated with that great “GAYLORD ST. MARY’S CLASS OF 1957”. At a half-time of a ball-game in his 1st year coaching our team ,he would call me “CAMY” instead of CASIMER, a nick-name that I love and that I am still called by many, even though I will be 83 yrs old next week. Wishing I could be with you all in Gaylord for COACH’s services this week-end, but I have several health issues of my own and I can’t travel very far anymore. “LOVE TO ALL”- CASIMER ( CAMY ) DZWIK from Battle Creek, Mi.

                    • I REMEMBER ALL OF THE GOOD AND ‘NOT SO GOOD TIMES’ IN GRAND RAPIDS AND MUSKEGEON. WE ALL GO BACK TO THE 1950s. STAN WAS AN EXCEPTIONAL MAN.

                      HIS MOVE TO GAYLORD REALY HELPED THE COMMUNITY AND HIS FAMILY.

                      JOE BAKER AND AQUINAS COLLEGE HELPED FORM HIM. BUT HE GREW ON HIS OWN VALUES.

                      • Arnold Mackowiak

                        In the 1950’s and 1960’s at St. Mary schools in Gaylord you could find a personification of duty, dedication, and devotion — Coach Stan Solokis.

                        If his basketball Snowbirds played much better in the second half than they did in the first, fans knew he was having an impact. Players listened to him. They heeded his encouragement and direction. The bottom line was that Coach Solokis knew how to turn young athletes into winning teams.

                        On the academic side in St. Mary classrooms, he taught American history during a tumultuous time. In a calm, thorough manner, he cradled a yellow legal pad filled with notes as he delineated the momentous and the meaningful.

                        Getting a sports lesson from Coach might involve his taking you aside and delivering a brief message up close — words you would then remember and perhaps apply for the rest of your life. My condolences to Gladys, family and friends.

                        • Condolences and prayers to the Solokis family. Sorry to hear of the passing of Coach. He was a fine man and my basketball coach from junior high to the Varsity. We had such wonderful success with his leadrrship. Also my US History teacher. So grateful for his teaching on the court and in the classroom. Not only a great coach but a good person and a credit to St Mary’s. Gave me a ride home on occasion after practice before I had a car. Always friendly toward my parents. Coach was an influence for me as well as I pursued a career as a Social Studies teacher and coach, a rewarding profession for 40 plus years. No doubt The Lord will reward him for his work and dedication to family along with the students and players he served. Eternal Rest Coach!

                          • My thoughts and prayers to Gladys, Gini and rest of the family on the loss of Coach Stan. I value my childhood memories with the Coach and the Solokis family especially the many basketball games in the late 1950’s. I sat with my parents watching my brother Mic and his teammates play under the Coach’s leadership.
                            May God continue to surround you with His peace and love.

                            • Pamella Joan Burzynski Bordner

                              So sorry for your loss, I remember him and the family as good neighbors and the bell that rang for dinner.
                              Thoughts and prayers for all.

                              • Gregory and Linda Arbogast

                                I worked with Stan for several years at Johannesburg-Lewiston High School. He was a fine man and will be missed.
                                Linda Arbogast

                                • I’m very sorry to hear about the passing of “Coach.” Coach Solokis was an excellent role model as my teacher and my coach. He was under control of his emotions There were some tough situations as there always are in teaching, but I never witnessed him losing his cool. He knew how to get the best out of his classroom and his teams. Because of his influence I became a social studies teacher and coach. One of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t tell him how much I appreciated him when he was alive. My prayers are for Gladys and the family.

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                                • Patrick Smith - 57

                                  just read of coaches passing and i feel like a part of my childhood has passed with him. A great man and a
                                  tremendous coach. i played for coach in both baseball and basketball, great experiences that I have cherished to this day. Gladys and family I am so sorry for your loss, RIP coach, you earned it.

                                  • Wishing peace and love to Gladys and the Solokis kids. Stan was my friend and mentor when we were together at J-L, and I valued and respected his advice and wise counsel. He impacted my 40 year career in education and my coaching philosophies. Otsego County has lost a great resource, but, his impact is still evident today and will be going forward. God bless a life of service well lived.

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