- October 15, 2023
Wally Sheets, 88, Sarasota, Fla., passed away peacefully on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023, from complications of dementia with his wife, Beth, son, Todd, and daughter, Annie at his bedside. He was born March 15, 1935, in Tipton, Iowa, and was the son of Clair and Josephine Sheets.
Wally graduated from Tipton High School in 1953, where he played football and was coached by his friend and mentor, Bill Chauncey. He attended the University of Iowa playing football for legendary coach, Forest Evashevski, and graduated in 1957. He continued his studies at the University of Northern Colorado, earning his master’s degree in school administration.
Wally was a successful high school teacher and football coach in Audubon, Iowa and Washington High School, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he coached 38 seasons, 29 as head coach. At Washington High School he was one of the most successful football coaches ever, with a career record of 188-88-4. He led the Washington Warriors to 11 Class 4A state playoff appearances and six semifinal berths. He was inducted into the Washington High School Athletic Club Hall of Fame and the Iowa Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He believed in giving kids a second chance. If a young man made a mistake in the classroom or in some part of his personal life, he would not simply leave him off the team. He would counsel him, and offer a new and better path to either earn back a place on the team or go on to lead a better life. Through the many athletes, students, coaches and fellow teachers he mentored throughout his career. He leaves a rich legacy of kindness, strength and tenacity. In addition to his accomplishments on the football field, he also coached the Washington High School golf team, and led them to the 1981 men’s golf state championship.
He retired from Washington High School in 1999. He and Beth moved to Sarasota, joined Palm Aire Country Club, and he continued his passion for playing golf.
He was a member of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Catholic Church.
Wally is survived by his wife, Beth; son, Todd; daughter, Annie (Seth) Dillard; daughter-in-law, Joy Sheets; grandchildren, Jonathan (Cici) Sheets, Matthew Sheets (Aliza, fiancee), Kelley Sheets (Noah, boyfriend) and Estlin Dillard; sister-in-law, Mary (Luke) Page; brothers-in-law, Blake (Paula) Nelson and Scott Nelson; cousins, Jeri Daebilliehn and Jean Swofford; sister-in-law, Rhonda Sheets; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and his brothers, Robert “RC” Sheets (wife, Patricia, deceased) and Thomas Sheets.
Memorial contributions may be made to: Washington High School Athletic Club, 2205 Forest Dr. SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52403, ww.washington.crschools.us; or Tidewell Hospice Foundation, 3550 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34239, www.tidewellfoundation.org.
A private service for Wally will be held at a later date in Sarasota, Fla.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.palmsrobartsfuneralhome.com for the Sheets family.