Saint Martin's College icon Art Acuff dies
Tuesday, September 16, 2003
Lacey - Art Acuff, 87, an athletic director, coach and
teacher at Saint Martin’s from 1955 to 1982, died of cancer Sept. 15,
2003, at his home in Lacey.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Sacred
Heart Catholic Church, 812 Bowker St. SE, Lacey. A reception follows at
Huber’s Gasthaus, 2312 Friendly Grove Road NE. The family suggests
memorial gifts to Saint Martin’s College, c/o Office of Development,
5300 Pacific Ave., Lacey WA 98503.
Acuff served as Saint Martin’s athletic director from
1970 until his retirement in 1982. He coached basketball, baseball,
tennis and track, achieving a shining win-loss record, and taught
education, physical education and American history courses. He also
served the College as chairman of the department of physical education
and as dean of students. After his “retirement,” he was a major
supporter of Saint Martin’s athletes. He also continued to teach at
Saint Martin’s for another decade.
But what most who knew Acuff remembers about him was
his concern for students and his endless willingness to help them. His
dedication to their character development went hand-in-hand with
teaching them sound athletic and academic skills.
“Art is viewed as an icon of dedication to Saint
Martin’s,” said College President David Spangler, Ph.D. ”His commitment
to the College reflected a true belief in the Benedictine spirit of
community. He served decades of students as a coach, mentor and friend.
His love of our institution showed in the involvement of his entire
family, who over the years have attended, supported and respected his
College. While Art did not attend Saint Martin’s as did most of his
family, he certainly attended to it.”
When he retired, the City of Lacey declared Feb. 12,
1982, as Art Acuff Day and many dignitaries wrote letters of praise.
Calling him “almost as much an institution in the
community” as Saint Martin’s itself, then-Washington Gov. John Spellman
noted in his letter that Acuff’s efforts to mold the character of
thousands of young people over the years were well-known and deeply
Acuff was never far from Saint Martin’s in spirit or
in act. He rarely missed a game or sporting event, Homecoming or other
college activities. In 1992, he was honored with the naming of a new
fitness center in Saint Martin’s Pavilion. In 2001, he was chosen for
membership in Saint Martin’s Athletic Hall of Honor.
Acuff graduated from the University of Idaho with a
degree in education and earned his master’s degree in physical education
from what is now Central Washington University.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Mildred “Millie”
Stanton Acuff in June 2003, and by his children Kathleen and Dennis. He
is survived by his children Arthur B. “Art,” a graduate of Saint
Martin’s High School, of Spokane; Kevin, a 1985 Saint Martin’s College
graduate, Olympia; Brian, also a 1985 graduate, Lacey; Diane, a 1986
Saint Martin’s graduate, Lacey; Maureen, a 1976 Saint Martin’s graduate,
Tenino; and Angie, a 1989 Saint Martin’s graduate, Lacey. Numerous
grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews also survive him.
Services: 11 a.m. Saturday, Sacred Heart
Catholic Church, Lacey
Reception following: Huber’s Gasthaus, 2312 Friendly Grove Road
Memorials: The family suggests memorial gifts to Saint Martin’s
College, c/o Office of Development, 5300 Pacific Ave., Lacey WA 98503.
For more information:
Media coordinator / senior editor
360-438-4541 or firstname.lastname@example.org