Remembering ‘Bear’ MacCord

By on December 28, 2016
Kenneth “Bear” MacCord

Cocalico statistician was longtime member of Eagles’ sports family

The late Ken “Bear” MacCord was a longtime statistician for Cocalico teams and a member of the Eagles’ sports community.

For many, he was as much a part of Cocalico football as the Eagles’ celebrated Veer offense.

Team statistician Ken “Bear” MacCord’s passing last Thursday was shocking and sudden, coming one day after unexpectedly falling ill and undergoing immediate surgery for an aneurism. For those who knew him, for the Cocalico sports community and Bear’s Ephrata church community, the news was yet another punch to the gut from a year that at times has been hellish for the lives it has claimed.

“Stats were just a narrow part of what he did,” longtime Cocalico football coach Dave Gingrich said. “He made us laugh and we made him laugh. Bear was a good person; everybody loved having him around.”

Bear was a month shy of his 71st birthday when he passed away at Wellspan Ephrata Community Hospital. He never married, never had children. According to his obit he was born in Philadelphia in January 1946 and preceded in death by both parents and a brother. He earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Millersville and was an elementary school teacher in the Garden Spot School District and a substitute teacher at Cocalico.

By all accounts Bear’s life revolved around his membership in the Ephrata Church of the Brethren, where he was an usher, and his many years serving as a statistician for Cocalico’s varsity and junior varsity sports.

“He loved Cocalico,” said Gingrich. “Our school gets done at 2:41 (p.m.) and he’d be at the back door. He’d come in, get his newspaper, talk to the secretary and go to the weight room. He had his routines. He’d go to Redner’s (Markets) and they knew him and they’d have his sandwich ready for him.

“A lot of people looked after Bear. They knew he didn’t have a lot of people in his life.”

Because Bear was such a big fan of the Big 10, Gingrich and his Cocalico coaches opened their homes to him even when they weren’t there so that he could watch the Big 10 Network.

“He’d let himself in, watch the Big 10 Network and then he’d leave,” Gingrich said.

In a recent conversation in Manheim Central’s press box prior to a district football playoff game between the Eagles and Barons, Bear spoke of his interest in college football, particularly Penn State. His obit tells us he also had a fondness for the Reading Phillies.

“He loved Penn State, loved the Reading Phillies,” Gingrich said.

Those who knew Bear know that two characteristics of his were his love of food ­ “Bear was never bashful (about eating),” Gingrich said – and his rapid-fire way of speaking. You had to listen closely, lest you miss what he was saying.

“Sometimes I’d just smile and nod my head,” Gingrich said. He recalled Bear substitute teaching a kindergarten class and the kids being almost cross-eyed with confusion as they tried to follow their fast-talking teacher. It was said that Bear could have substitute taught a foreign language since it seemed at times he was speaking something other than English.

Some of what he said at Cocalico football games might have breached the rule of “No cheering in the press box” but his protestations following an Eagle misplay were so mild they usually amounted to little more than a softly-muttered “Gee whiz.”

It was accepted because everyone knew Bear, knew his love of Cocalico sports; he nicknamed Eagles’ star Brandon Brubaker “Brudozer” this fall after watching the bruising fullback/linebacker help the Eagles claim a share of the L-L Section Two title.

“He loved coming up with nicknames,” said Gingrich.

Over the past several decades Bear became as closely associated with Cocalico sports as the late Don Yingst had been with Manheim Central’s teams.

“Bear was a good friend to all of us,” Gingrich said. “He was part of our family and he’ll be missed. We’re grateful for the time we spent with him.

“Bear taught us how to see the good in everyone. He was never mean to anyone, never said a bad word about anyone. We could all learn from him.”

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Kenneth “Bear” MacCord, 70, of Stevens, passed away Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016, at Wellspan Ephrata Community Hospital.

He was born in Philadelphia to the late Frank and Pauline (Criswell) MacCord.

He was a member of the Ephrata Church of the Brethren, where he served as an usher. Ken earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Millersville University. He was a teacher and a substitute teacher at the Cocalico School District. Ken enjoyed fly fishing and was a Penn State fan, Reading Phillies fan, and avid sports enthusiast for local school and college sports. He was also a referee and statistician for baseball, football and the track team at Cocalico High School.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a brother: F. Norman MacCord III.

A celebration of life service will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 28, at 7 p.m., at the Ephrata Church of the Brethren, 201 Crescent Ave., Ephrata. Friends will be received following the service. Interment will be private.

Memorial contributions in Kenneth’s memory may be made to the Ephrata Church of the Brethren, 201 Crescent Ave., Ephrata, PA 17522.

Arrangements by Stradling Funeral Homes Inc., Akron/Ephrata. Online condolences can be given at stradlingfuneralhome.com.

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