I was deeply saddened to hear about Danny’s passing a few weeks ago. His health was a bit tired the last few years. Danny meant a lot to many via the many hats he wore! But it was his days as a gym instructor and coach at Cornell Square Park that meant the most to us, now “Olde Farttes.” From teaching pushups, your first jumping jacks, sit ups, flipping on trampolines, how to shoot underhand free throws, playing dodge ball, or doing gymnastics, that was his real passion! His care to develop young boys via gym classes was his real forte! He was indeed a community organizer for the youngsters. He showed us how to become somebody! His tutoring for us to become involved in sports, made many us start organized teams. We spent many years playing basketball, softball and football in the City Park Leagues, because of him .And we still meet to enjoy our sporting friendships.
Danny and his brother Wally started the “Ye Olde Fartte Breakfast Club.” .Whereby hundreds gather from Back of the Yards , to reconnect for fellowship and tell tall sporting tales at Mabenkas Restaurant in Burbank ,Il . (They have great Polish food and service).This brings us together for some fun boasting, aka bragging about of our athletic days. From playing in City park leagues at: Cornell, Davis, Gage, Sherman, Kelly and Grant Park. We reminisce about legendary 16”softball games and those weekend gatherings, especially the City Wide Ed Burke (14th Ward) softball tournaments. Where only the best teams came to compete. The fun the families had from Back of the Yards neighborhood, on those weekends with picnic baskets and coolers to watch the best. It is always fun to flashback to our basketball games, especially at Cornell Park. Many of us in our 50’s /60’s /70’s and even 90’s, have many a story to tell of our greatness? This Breakfast Club has kept us young at heart and our friendships lifelong! It was Danny that planted those seeds, to become forever friends, via the teams we started. He really instigated the camaraderie among us : (Team names )/Als Pals ,Sillouhette Lounge ,American Rivets, Mundaes, Waynes SAC, Vets ,Beavers ,Sobies ,Bobcats, Over 30’s now over 80’s,Frogs ,The Row ,Untouchables ,Settlers, Busters, Wildcats, Jazz ,Spirit, etc. He was indeed a community organizer and we became the same, making us honorable men in the community .Danny’s gym classes made us grow up and proud to be from the Back of the Yards, playing team sports.
PS: Danny, you birthed me my nickname back in second grade .You called me Cooch, you said “there were too many Bobs in gym class”. So now nearing 70 years old , team members (Untouchables) and friends only know me as COOCH, my brothers (Larry, Jerry and Wayne) as The Cooch Brothers and Dearest Mom (Ma Cooch). Thank you! The Dear Lord took one of the Best. He is now at peace with those he taught life lessons too. He is now in The Hall of Fame in the Heavens above! Apparently the Good Lord needed a Gym Instructor and Coach, to join those gone before him. He Got The Best .God Bless the Kiebles family and dearest condolences. Thank You, Danny for making us Men, (Good “Olde Farttes”) via your gym classes at Cornell Square Park. RIP! COOCH aka Robert Kuczera.
Note: The “Ye Olde Fartte Breakfast Club” has started again. The Breakfast gathering that Danny and Walter started is held at Mabenkas Restaurant at 7844 South Cicero. The 3rd Tuesday of the months of: January/March/May/July/September and November .We meet there at 9:30 AM and Danny’s Spirit and Presence will always be around!