CHANDLER, Ariz. - A beloved Chandler High School swim coach is being remembered after dying of COVID-19
Kerry Croswhite taught for more than 30 years in the Valley, and spent the last 17 at Chandler High. His battle with COVID-19 ended on the night of July 21.
Family, former swim team members remember Croswhite
There is a growing memorial of signs on this fence next to the pool that was considered to be Croswhite's second home.
Sitting in the classroom Croswhite taught in for so many years, loved ones can still feel his presence, while heartfelt messages from the community Croswhite cared for sit outside.
"All of this support and all this love and all of these tributes really comforts our heart, because it’s like if he wasn’t the way he was, then we wouldn’t be having all this now," said Croswhite's wife, Laurie Croswhite.
The father of five and grandfather of three felt symptoms in late June. He initially tested negative before his infection, and was admitted to the hospital on July 3.
"This virus is like a ghost," said Laurie. "Kerry kind of took one for the team here."
Croswhite taught history and coached swimming at Chandler High. Laurie was his assistant coach.
Former students are also remembering Croswhite. Bria Peterson, a former member of the team, says Croswhite left a positive impact on her.
"One of my favorite memories of him would be my senior year in high school. I remember how encouraging he was before I went up to the blocks. I remember he just was so excited for me to have that experience," said Peterson. "He’s extremely encouraging. He was one of those people who made you feel like you were the center of the universe."
Croswhite's son, Kagen, also teaches math at Chandler High, having followed his father's footsteps.
"In the last three weeks, every time I step on this campus I’m just like, 'how do I show up here everyday? How do I do that?'" said Kagen. “I can’t replace him. Nobody can, and all I can do is honor him by carrying the Croswhite name and the legacy of service to others, which was a huge component of his life."
Croswhite’s youngest kids remember spending time at Lake Powell before he got sick
"It was a really special moment that we were all able to be there on Father’s Day. We were all able to spend it together. Moments that I will forever cherish," said Croswhite's daughter, Bristyn.
They also remember how Croswhite fell in love with the bagpipe years ago.
“We just all covered our ears because it was so loud, and no one really knew in the house with a bagpipe player," said Bristyn. "It was a little bit crazy."
"He was everything," said Croswhite's son, Dusten. "He was a dad. He was a coach. He was a teacher, a bagpiper, ukulele player. He had it all."
“If he wasn’t the way he was, then we wouldn’t be having all of this now," said Laurie. "It’s like all these people now have come and are supporting us because of what he’s done."
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