He graduated from Gastonia High School in 1948. He was an exceptional athlete known and recognized by many. He was Captain of the football team, played fullback and was the kicker. Many admired him and looked to him for leadership and team spirit. He received numerous awards for his athletic abilities. He also played in the Shrine Bowl in 1947.
After high school he went to Davidson College to play football but after 2 years he decided to join the USAF. He served 4 years as a Senior Cryptographic Decoder, 3 of those years were spent in Japan and Korea. He worked at AB Carter, Inc as a Salesman until he retired, then spent his time outside working in the yard, helping with the grandchildren or at the Fitness Center.
He loved anything to do with the outdoors. He was a Lifeguard at Lineberger Park where he taught swimming and diving lessons. He also coached Little League Football, was an Assistant Coach with VFW baseball and also refereed High School Football and Baseball. He enjoyed working in the yard, teaching his grandchildren to swim and dive, any kind of sports activities and going to the Fitness Center until he was 80.
He had a great sense of humor, loved to tell jokes, make people laugh and preached PMA, Positive Mental Attitude. He spent good quality time with his children and as much time as possible with his grandchildren, he was very patient, kind, very warm, thoughtful and a very loving man. He loved telling stories of his growing up.
He was very appreciative for anything you did for him and ALWAYS told you he was and never let you hang up on the phone or leave the house without telling you he loved you.He was one of a kind! He was also known for his beautiful light blue piercing eyes. His nickname was “Blue Eyes” and not a day went by without someone complimenting him on those eyes.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 55 years Jeanne Gregg Runyan and his infant daughter Minnie Ward Runyan. He took wonderful care of his wife during her last years here with us, was very dedicated to her, her care and made sure she was as comfortable as possible. They enjoyed their breakfast talks together sharing and telling each other stories. They always kissed 3 little pecks or squeezed each others hands 3 times signifying I love you.
He is survived by daughter, Ellen Crabbe (Bill) of Columbia, SC, Gregg Runyan (Cindy) of Lake Wylie, SC and Lindy Runyan (Cindy) of Fort Mill, SC. He had 10 grandchildren, Charlie Genova (Melissa), Kara Genova, Christa Laird (Brian), Angela Runyan, Alexander Runyan, Logan Runyan, Nicholas Runyan (Cara), Brandon Runyan, Frank Patterson and Daniel Patterson.
He had 3 great grand daughters, Ava, Lia and Tessa Genova (Charlie and Melissa). He adored his grandchildren and great granddaughters and always lit up when they came in the door.
A private burial ceremony will be held on Saturday, April 25th followed by a Celebration of Life Reception at United Baptist Church, 1970 Lowell Bethesda Rd, Gastonia, NC 28056 at 3 pm. Everyone is invited to come and celebrate his life with us, we would love to hear stories and your memories of him.
Woodlawn Funeral Home, Mount Holly, is serving the family.