Hall of Fame football coach and Lynden High School teacher Curt Kramme died Saturday night from complications resulting from his yearlong battle with cancer, according Lynden athletic director Mike McKee.
“Obviously, we are just so devastated for the immediate family, for our school family and students and for our community,” McKee said. “Curt is a man who touched so many lives in this community, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family.”
McKee’s heartfelt comments were echoed in numerous Twitter posts Sunday, as news of Kramme’s death spread throughout the Lynden community.
Kramme taught mathematics and weight lifting at Lynden, but his reach extended well beyond the classroom and the football field. McKee said he was well respected by his colleagues for his work ethic and, “We all learned a ton from him.”
“He meant so much to this community as a whole,” McKee said. “He was such a man on integrity. ... Curt was consistent in his approach. He had this deep-felt idea of how he should deal with everybody. You look at him on a football field, and you’d never see him yelling at officials. He was that same way with everybody. He was consistent throughout his career, and he tried to teach life lessons. He was a class act and a unique person.”
Last spring, Kramme was diagnosed with signet-ring adenocarcinoma, a cancer commonly found in the digestive tract that produces signet-shaped cells.
Kramme took over the football program at Lynden in 1991 and led the Lions to a 248-61 record the past 26 seasons, which ranks him among the top 10 winningest high school football coaches in state history. Lynden won a state title in his first year at the helm and added six more crowns in 2006, ’08, ’09, ’11, ’12 and ’13 and has advanced to the state playoffs 18 times during Kramme’s tenure.
Last fall, while battling cancer, Kramme coached the Lions to an 11-2 record and a 2A Northwest Conference crown and guided the program into the state semifinals for the 14th time during his career.
Kramme was inducted into the Washington State Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2016, and he also served as a boys’ basketball official in the area and coached girls’ golf at Lynden last spring.
“As a football coach, when you look at what he did and all the state championships he won, he was one of the best,” McKee said. “Fortunately for Lynden, we were lucky enough to have him here. He was one of the best in the state.
“But he was much more than that. He was a man of honor – a quality man. He had great concern for his family and for this community. This is a devastating loss that will be felt by his family and this entire community, and we’re all hurting right now.”