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The latest news and analysis on high-school sports around the Seattle area

January 12, 2012 at 1:38 PM

Jean Licari leaves a legacy at Federal Way as a teacher and coach

I was so very sad to hear that Jean Licari lost a battle with cancer earlier this week.

Just 45, Licari was a teacher and track and field coach at Federal Way High School for 21 years and I was fortunate enough to work with her throughout her career. She was very passionate about the sport and caring about her athletes. From what I’ve been told, the same can be said about her approach to teaching math (along with various other subjects over the year) and her students.

“She was a cornerstone in our building,” athletic director Miguel Perez said. “She affected the majority of everyone here in same shape or form in a positive way.”

Licari was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer caled Leiomyosarcoma (LMS), a malignant cancer of smooth muscle, just last spring. She passed away this past Sunday and is survived by her husband, Pat, and two daughters, Katelin and Madison. Pat is an assistant track and field coach at the University of Washington.

“It just happened really fast,” Perez said of the disease’s progression.

Licari underwent open heart surgery in May, yet was back teaching and coaching cross country when school started in September. But as her health deteriorated, she was forced to take a leave of absence in October.

Perez said he e-mails of support have flooded in this week, many from former students and current coaches throughout the area.

“She was awesome,” he said. “The kids love her. I never heard of a student with a problem with her. She was one of those coaches who made my job easy. She did everything she was supposed to do and she loved doing it. When you talk about what you look for in a coach, she was it.”

The Federal Way High School Foundation has was set up a fund to help support the Licari family. You can go here to make a donation. I had trouble with the link at one point, so just in case it’s www.fwhsfoundation.org.

Perez said plans for the memorial are still in the works. I will post them as they are made available. He also said Federal Way High School will have some additional events to remember Licari and that he expects the track and field team to memorialize her in some fashion this spring as well.

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