The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

June 10, 2013

Harry F. Fails Jr.

Star Beacon

ALLIANCE — Harry F. Fails Jr., age 71, died on Saturday, June 8, 2013, at his home surrounded by his family.

Harry was a coach, teacher, athletic director, assistant principal, and a friend to all. Many of his former players and students expressed their thanks to Harry for helping them to learn values and to respect others. He was an inspiration to many students and players in Alliance and Conneaut.

His love, strength, and sense of humor will never be forgotten. Even in his hardest days, he filled all who surrounded him with laughter and love. He was also known as “Harry Never Fails” because of his winning records and comeback victories. He was an iconic figure in Alliance and Conneaut as a coach and mentor to many students and players. No one will miss him more than Rosemary, his high school sweetheart and wife of 48 years. His children will also never fill the void left by his passing. He was an idol and role model to his four children and many others in the Alliance and Conneaut areas.

He was born Feb. 24, 1942, in West Springfield, Pa. to Harry F. Fails Sr. and Laura (George) Fails. Harry graduated from Rowe High School in Conneaut, Ohio. He received his B.S. and his Master’s Degree from Kent State University.

He coached basketball and baseball at Conneaut High School with no losing seasons. He coached at Alliance High School for 16 years, also with no losing seasons.

He was a history teacher, baseball and basketball coach, athletic director, and assistant principal with the Alliance City Schools. During the summers, Harry did construction work and other jobs. Whatever he needed to do, he did. He also worked at Trap’s and Penrod’s.

He was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church and member of Alliance Elks.

As a Hot Stove coach for many years, he won a State Championship. He received numerous awards including Ashtabula Coach of the Year, Northeast Ohio Coach of the Year, Stark County Coach of the Year, Alliance High School and Conneaut High School Teacher of the Year, Alliance Exchange Club Book of Golden Deeds Award, Alliance High School Hall of Fame and the Ashtabula County Hall of Fame.

In 2007, the Alliance High School gym was renamed the Harry Fails gymnasium in his honor.

A kind-hearted man, Harry quietly took his students under his wing, mentoring and encouraging them. Many thought of him as a great coach but did not realize what a dedicated and hardworking teacher he was and how many lives he impacted.

Survivors include his wife, Rosemary (Reo) Fails, whom he married August 22, 1964; four children, Tammie (John) Fails-Kirkner of Alliance, Diana Fails of Alliance, Tim (Michelle) Fails of Independence, Ky. and Mary Beth Fails and her fiancée, Cliff Smith of Alliance; seven grandchildren, Kayla, Jayden, A.J., Keira, Breanna, Nathan and Alissa; siblings, Donna (Rich) Kern of Parma, Marc (Diane) Fails of Lebanon, Pa. and Janet (Earl) Irving of Rathdrum, Idaho. He will also be dearly missed by his caretaker, Nikki Ketler; and many special close friends who have been by his side in his last months. Also, the family wishes to thank Alliance Hospice for all the excellent care.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 11 a.m. Thursday, June 13th, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Alliance, with Fr. Matthew Mankowski celebrating.

Friends may call from 5 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, June 12th, at CASSADAY-TURKLE-CHRISTIAN FUNERAL HOME, 75 S. Union Ave., Alliance, Ohio 44601.

In lieu of flowers, Harry’s family prefers memorial contributions to be made to the Harry F. Fails, Jr. Scholarship Fund.

Friends may register online at and