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Roland Kudla
(June 23, 1925 - October 31, 2013)

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Roland Kudla

Roland Perry Kudla of Granger, TX, went to meet his savior on Thursday, October 31, 2013. Roland was born on June 23, 1925, in Houston, TX, to Mitchell and Leona Walker Kudla. Roland’s father emigrated to the U.S. from Austria through Ellis Island, NY, after WWI. His father was a U.S. Army Calvary veteran who served with Gen. George Pershing chasing Poncho Villa along the Mexican border. His mother’s Walker name has been traced back to the two Walker brothers who chopped down a bridge on Vince Bayou to prevent General Santa Ana’s retreat during the Battle of San Jacinto and Texas’ fight for independence.

Roland grew up in Houston’s 2nd Ward, playing softball, baseball and basketball in Settegast Park which was located just down the street from his home. His father was a railroad employee and Roland thought nothing of hopping on a freight train and riding down to Galveston for a day’s outing. He attended Sam Houston High School, but due to the outbreak of WWII, he joined the U.S. Marines and earned his GED while in Marine Corps boot camp, as well as, graduating from the Marine Corps Scout Sniper School.

Roland’s Marine Corps 6th Defense Battalion was prepared to be one of the principal units to physically invade the many islands which comprised the Japanese Empire, but due to the sudden end of WWII they thankfully were spared that mission which would have cost many American lives.

Upon his discharge from the Marines, Roland enrolled at the University of Houston and was a member of the first UH Cougar Football Team in 1946. He then left UH and transferred to Texas A&I University in Kingsville, TX, where he was accepted under the newly implemented G.I. Bill. At Texas A&I he lettered in both Javelina football and baseball.

In 1946, Roland met Carolyn Beth Brewster of Granger, TX, on a blind date arranged by his sister. They enjoyed dancing in Houston at the Plantation and The High Hat dance clubs during the big band era of Tommy Dorsey and Harry James. Carolyn and Roland married May 29th, 1948. They resided in Kingsville, TX, while Roland continued his education at Texas A&I University as he planned to become a public school teacher and athletic coach. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Texas A&I in 1950. He furthered his education and earned his Master’s Degree in Education and his Administrator’s Certification from Sam Houston State University in 1970.

Roland began his teaching and coaching career in Ben Bolt, TX, then recruited to Barber’s Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, TX. Soon after he began coaching at Baytown Junior High, but was transferred mid-year to the Robert E. Lee High School coaching staff in Baytown, TX. At REL, he served under the distinguished Head Coach Dan Stallworth and served as an assistant coach from 1953 to 1966.

In 1966, Roland was named the first head coach at Ross S. Sterling High School in Baytown, TX. After leading the football coaching staff for five years, he was appointed assistant principal and later principal at Horace Mann Junior High in Baytown, TX.

In 1979, Roland and Carolyn relocated to the family farm outside Granger, TX, where he soon accepted the position as superintendent of schools in Granger ISD. He served Granger for six years, but due to his desire to coach again before he retired, he resigned from Granger ISD and accepted the head coaching position at Georgetown Middle School in Georgetown, TX, where he coached for another three years before retiring in 1986.

Roland enjoyed playing golf and was a member of the Georgetown Country Club where everyone called him “Coach.” A lifelong member of the Letterman’s Association of Texas A&I University, the Texas A&I Alumni Association, Texas High School Coaches Association and the Central Texas Retired Coaches Association, Roland was well known among the Texas coaching community.

Roland lived a Christ centered life for all of his years. To know him was to find oneself desiring to emulate him as a man, a husband, a father and a Christian.

He attended many reunions of his Marine Corps 6th Defense Battalion and remained a steadfast Marine to the end of his days by proudly displaying the U.S. and Marine emblems and flags. When given the opportunity, Roland always greeted a fellow Marine with “Semper Fi.”

Roland is survived by his wife of 65 years Carolyn Beth Brewster Kudla and their three daughters and two sons-in-law, Beth Kudla Elam and Phil of Austin, TX, Kay Kudla Quinton of Buda, TX, and her late husband, Tim, and Susan Kudla Tone and Chuck of Granger, TX. He is also survived by four grandchildren, Grant Elam and Jennifer of Austin, TX, Collin Mills and Kristen of Barbers Hill, TX, Kara Quinton Johnston and Tyler of Velburg, Germany and Kathryn Quinton of New York City, NY. He is also survived by two great grandsons, Cooper Mills and Liam Johnston. Extended family includes one sister, Janice Kudla McLaughlin of Pearland, TX, and his late brother, Norman Kudla.

Known as Dad to his daughters, Poppa to his grandchildren and Coach to legions of people, he will be sorely missed.

There will be a private burial in Granger, TX. A memorial service celebrating Roland’s life will be held at Providence Funeral Home in Taylor, TX, on Tuesday, November 5, 2013, at 1:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Semper Fi Fund to serve the needs of our wounded service members: https://semperfifund.org/donate/ or Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, 825 College Blvd., Suite 102, PMB 609, Oceanside, CA 92057.

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