PITTSBURG -- Sterling Macfarlane was remembered as popular coach, teacher and principal at Pittsburg High School following his death earlier this month.
Macfarlane died at the age of 96 on Nov. 6 in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, where funeral services were held.
He came to Pittsburg High School in 1952 as a track coach and physical education teacher before he was named principal in 1958, a post he held until 1968 when he left to become assistant superintendent in the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District until he retired in 1977.
"I knew him when I was a student. Everybody in town who's been around for awhile knows Macfarlane. He was very popular with the students," said Jess Leber, who graduated from Pittsburg High School in 1954 then returned to teach at the school and was later a principal there for 25 years until 1994.
"He was Dean of Boys when I was in school. He had a way of relating with the kids. And he was also a scout for the football team," said another former student Bill Plummer, a 1958 graduate of Pittsburg High who like Leber returned to the school as a teacher and administrator.
"As a principal, I liked him. We could always talk with him, he was very open. He was probably one of the most influential people in my life ... He was the type of principal who would go around and know everything going on in the school," said Plummer, adding that if a piece of paper was dropped on the school grounds, Macfarlane would pick it up.
Nadine Macfarlane said her husband started his teaching and coaching career in Idaho before he moved to Pittsburg.
"He was a football guy," she said.
The couple married in 1968 and moved to Coeur d'Alene in 1991. Over the years, former students would send cards saying how influential her husband had been in their lives, she recalled.
"He just loved going to sporting events no matter where we lived. And he was a collector of everything imaginable. He collected Avon bottles and had 748 bottles," she said. "He was a coin collector. He also collected barbed wire, and made barbed wire things for the museum down here in Coeur d'Alene."
Contact Eve Mitchell at 925-779-7189. Follow her on Twitter.com/EastCounty_Girl.
Born: April 26, 1912, in Elba, Idaho
Died: Nov. 6, 2011, in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho
Survivors: Wife Nadine Macfarlane, six children, 17 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.