Fort Worth

Family and Friends Honor Beloved Fort Worth Basketball Coach and Teacher

John Gales, Sr. became the first African American coach of an integrated basketball team in Fort Worth schools in 1968.

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Coach John Gales, Sr of Fort Worth passed away on August 25 at age of 82. The impact he leaves behind is endless. Serving as a Fort Worth English teacher and basketball coach, he helped shape so many lives.

John Gales Jr. is proud to carry his father's name.

"The most precious priceless thing he, a father, can give his son is that father's name and it's a good name," son John Gales, Jr. said.

His father’s legacy stretches further than he can imagine.

"It makes me shake in my boots,” Gales said. “Makes my knees knock. Makes my heart quiver knowing these are shoes I have to somewhat fill because of the name."

Besides being a loving, role model of a father the way he lived his life impacted his students.

"A father figure for me,” former student Blake Moorman said. “I mean he was a true, positive impact in my life."

Even as a sixth-grade student Moorman says Gales taught young boys how to be gentlemen.

"Men always take your hats off in a building,” Moorman said. “That was at school, in his house gentlemen don't do that. So just little life lessons like that he was always and always positive."

Gales, Sr broke barriers back in 1968 at Trimble Technical High School.

He became the first African American coach of an integrated basketball team in Fort Worth schools.

He was definitely a history maker that impacted thousands of lives, but none more than his family’s.

"God that's what he was to me,” Gales said. “A lot of times it's like how can you know God if you don't have a father to show you God. I couldn't see God, but I saw my dad."

All worthy praise as friends and family say goodbye to a man who was just doing his small part to make lives better.

"He always said it's just your reasonable service John,” Gales said. “Don't ever let it go to your head. Don't ever get beyond who you are. He said follow my example and my role."

A role Gales Jr. plans to follow of a life well-lived.

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