Man killed in crash remembered for his helpfulness

January 24, 2011|By TIM KOELBLE |
  • Thomas Kratz
Submitted photo

HANCOCK — Thomas Kratz was remembered Monday as the type of young man who always wanted to help out and who did so with a smile.

A basketball player and member of the track and field team at Hancock Middle-Senior High School, Kratz had no plans to play football for the Panthers. But when asked, he helped fill the need for a quarterback on the team in 2007 and 2008.

“He never wanted to play football, but he was asked to do so and he did,” Hancock Athletic Director Bill Sterner said Monday. “He was a well-loved young man. Never was critical and never had a mean word.”

Kratz, 19, was killed and two passengers in the car he was driving were injured in a crash Friday night west of the Shamrock Inn on U.S. 40.

Kratz’s viewing was Monday night at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Hancock. The Panthers basketball team was scheduled to play at Saint James School on Monday, but the game was postponed until Tuesday so Kratz’s former teammates could attend the viewing.

A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated Tuesday at 11 a.m. at the church.

Sterner said Kratz’s death has hit the small community hard.

“He had a trademark smile and was always a pleasure to coach,” Sterner said. “It’s an extremely sad time for the Hancock community.”

According to his obituary, Kratz was a former Boy Scout who enjoyed basketball, camping, hunting and playing the guitar. He graduated from Hancock Middle-Senior High in 2009 and was employed by JLG in McConnellsburg, Pa.

Basketball coach Jeff Spielman said he knew Kratz since he was a baby.

“I taught his mother and knew the family well,” said Spielman, who also coached Kratz on the track and field team. “Tom was not the most talented individual, but he gave everything he had. I don’t know that there was a person around that did not like him.”

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