Former Fordson grid coach Charles Jestice, Dearborn sports legend, passes on

Dan-Gretznerhead
On Sept. 18, Charles Jestice passed away. The former varsity football head coach, was at the helm when the Tractors were so dominant throughout the state as a powerful grid machine that was highly respected at every level.

Coach Jestice fielded teams in the 1970s and 1980s that were championship-plus while at Fordson High School. He had been retired for the past few years and had reached his 78th birthday. It is a tough loss for all of the players who dotted the Tractor roster for more than a couple of decades.

Fordson was always at the top or near the top, year after year, with Charlie standing along the sidelines offering encouragement to his players.

Football was a big part of Coach Jestice as he molded his prep teams into strong units of offense and defense. He was originally from Oklahoma but made Dearborn his home to stay.

Jestice took over the head coaching duties from Doc Lewis during the 1970 season and won a Class A state title the following year. He had served as an assistant under Lewis, who then became athletic director at the east Dearborn school.

Jestice was named to the Dearborn Sports Legends in 2011. Other sports legends included Van Patrick, Budd Lynch and Jeff Chadwick, along with a few others.

Dearborn recretion commissioners select the Sports Legends and the recipients are honored at an annual banquet each spring.

Sports legends are few and far between in any community. Jestice is definitely in that category and brought a lot of pride and richness into the already solid football programs at Fordson.

Fond memories of Coach Jestice can be found throughout the city on a continuous basis and rightfully so. “Focus on Sports” and Bewick Publications wish his family well. He was one of the best all-time prep football coaches in the entire state.

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