Dec. 8, 2008
The funeral service for the legendary Herman "Herm" Hans Pein, 80, will take place Saturday (Dec. 13) at 11 a.m. at the Jenkins High School gymnasium in Chewelah, Wash., where he spent a total of 36 years as a teacher and coach. Pein, a member of the Eastern Washington University Athletics Hall of Fame, died in an automobile accident on Dec. 1.
Pein was a second team All-Evergreen Conference center as a junior at Eastern in 1948, then earned the same honor as a senior when he also garnered first team All-EvCo honors as a linebacker. He was the 1948 and 1949 Pacific Coast heavyweight boxing champion and was inducted into the Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998.
Pein was one of the 11 linebackers on Eastern's "100 for 100" All-Time Football Team released in June 2008 by the EWU Athletic Department. The overall "100 for 100" squad consisted of 100 of the top players in school history to help commemorate the 100th year of football at Eastern. Players were honored on Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame Day on Sept. 27, 2008, in conjunction with EWU's Big Sky Conference football game with Idaho State.
Eastern was 25-7-2 in Pein's four years at Eastern, including an 8-1 record in 1948 and a 7-2 mark in 1949.
"We had some pretty good ball players in those years," said Pein in an interview prior to the "100 for 100" announcement. "(My junior year) we beat the Montana schools (12-7 over Montana and 13-6 over Montana State) and lost to Puget Sound (22-6) that kept us out of the Raisin Bowl. It was quite a good year."
Pein, whose son-in-law Trevor Westlund played for the Eagles from 1989-92, recalls that football in the 40s required most players to play on both sides of the ball. But that it was a system that was starting to decline in popularity.
"In my sophomore year I finally earned my keep," he said of the time when he became a two-way player. "But you tried to keep guys fresh too."
As a player, he saw the early years of the game's evolution. He later went on to a 34-year coaching career at Chewelah High School, and was eventually selected into the Washington State Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1985 and to the Spokane Sportswriters and Broadcasters (SWABS) Scroll of Honor in 1986.
He was a 1946 graduate of Chewelah High School, and in 1977 coached his alma mater to a 10-2 record and the WIAA State 1A football championship. He also coached track and field for 20 years, baseball for 16 and basketball for 10, and saw a wealth of growth along the way.
"Football was getting better all the time," he said of the post-World War II era. "The game was getting a little faster and with more formations and plays. The game was changing instead of mass mayhem and players just running over everybody.
"We never had weight training until shortly after I played," he added. "We didn't have very much (game film) in my day. But we started using it when I was coaching high school football."
Choosing football over boxing, his short pro career began during the exhibition season with the New York Yankees of the National Football League in 1950. He played with 5-foot-5 Claude "Buddy" Young, who was also a collegiate and amateur sprint champion.
"I got to play with and against some fabulous players," Pein said. "Buddy Young could stop on a dime and give you change. He had shoulder pads made of felt because nobody could catch him to hit him."
The Korean War delayed Pein's hopes to play in the NFL, but in 1953 he made it to the final cuts of the San Francisco 49ers before playing a short time for British Columbia in the Canadian Football League.
He then returned to the same ranch in Addy, Wash., in Northeastern Washington where he was born back on July 13, 1928.
Below is Pein's complete obituary that was published in the Spokesman-Review:
- PEIN, Herman "Herm" Hans
- (Age 80)
- A lifetime resident of Addy, Wash., passed away as the result of a tragic automobile accident on December 1, 2008. He was born on July 13, 1928 in Addy to Carl Henry and Ida Suzanna Joanna (Harms) Pein.
- Herm was raised in the Summit Valley area on his family farm. His early years of education were spent at Summit Valley, which he attended through the 6th grade, but the latter part of his education was in Chewelah where he graduated from Jenkins High School in 1946. While at Chewelah, he was very active in sports, playing football, basketball, baseball and track. Herm then took his considerable athletic talent to Eastern Washington University, where he was a force on the gridiron and in the boxing ring. During his four years at Eastern, the football team had a record of 25-7-2 and he earned All-Evergreen Conference and "Little" All-American honors. He picked up boxing as a freshman at Eastern and won the Pacific Coast Heavyweight Boxing Championship in 1948 and 1949. After graduating in 1950, Herm considered a professional boxing career, but decided his real love was football and tried out with the New York Yankees. His dreams of a professional football career were interrupted by Uncle Sam when he was drafted into the United States Army and served in the Korean War. He was honorably discharged in 1952 and reconnected with the New York Yankees, who had moved across country and changed the team name to the San Francisco 49ers. He played in five pre-season games with the 49ers before returning to Summit Valley.
- Herm then went on to teach and coach at Jenkins High School in Chewelah for 36 years, coaching many sports over that time, including football for 34 years, track for 20 years, baseball for 16 years and basketball for 10 years. Highlights of his coaching career included a 1977 State Football Championship as well as being inducted into the Washington State Coaches Hall of Fame in 1985. Although his days at Eastern were over his accomplishments were not forgotten and he was inducted into the Eastern Washington Hall of Fame in 1998 and was chosen as one of the 100 best football players in Eastern history in 2008. While Herm was teaching and coaching, he also managed to keep his family dairy farm operating, increasing the operation from 15 cows to 150.
- During his free time Herm loved hunting, fishing, boating, skiing, and other outdoor activities. Herm was an extremely hard worker, and loved his family with all his heart. He will be missed by all who knew and loved him.
- Herm was preceded in death by his sisters Martha Green and Margaret Potter in 2007. He is survived by his: Wife: Patty Pein of Colville, Wash.; Daughters: Airion Klein, and her husband Otto of Spokane, Wash., Daiatra Westlund and her husband Trevor of Olympia, Wash., Kara Pein of Portland, Ore., Karlie Pein of Boise, Idaho; four Grandchildren: Wrigley and Grady Westlund, and Bivianna and Vienna Klein; Sisters: Dorothy Blake of Liberty Lake, Wash., Erna Kagele, and her husband Melvin of Ritzville, Wash.; Brother-in-law: Daris Potter of Quesnel, B.C.; and Numerous nieces and nephews
- The funeral service for Herm Pein will be at 11 a.m., Saturday, December 13, 2008 at the Jenkins High School Gymnasium in Chewelah, Wash. Visitation will be at the Danekas Funeral Chapel, Chewelah, Wash., on Thursday, December 11, and Friday December 12 from 1-5 p.m. Memorial Contributions may be given to The Herm Pein Memorial Fund sponsored by the Chewelah Cougar Booster Club benefitting the track at Snyder-Field at any Bank of America. Please visit the online memorial and sign the guest book at www.danekasfuneralchapel.com. The Danekas Funeral Chapel and Crematory in Chewelah, Wash., is in charge of arrangements.