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Obituary for Edwin Deffenbaugh

Edwin Deffenbaugh

POTEAU – Edwin C. “Coach Ed” Deffenbaugh, 90, of Poteau, was born July 23, 1930 to Eugene and Lula (Smith) Deffenbaugh of Natural Dam, Arkansas in Crawford County. He made his final trip around the bases on Nov. 22, 2020 in Poteau.

Funeral services will be 1 p.m. Saturday at the Dowden-Roberts Funeral Home Chapel with Bro. Brock Hardin officiating. Burial will follow in Heavener Memorial Park in Heavener.

He graduated from the University of Houston with an education degree in 1959 and began his career as a teacher and coach at St. Pius X, where he taught from 1959 – 1976. They had 28 district championships and 20 Final Four state playoff appearances that resulted in 16 state championships.

One of his former students shared that “none of us were as good as we thought we were, but every one of us can tell a story of Coach Deffenbaugh’s humorous description of how he educated us to that fact. Coach Deffenbaugh made every one of us a better player, man, husband, and father than we ever thought we could be. . . he taught us to exceed our own expectations.”

He enjoyed 47 years as a Texas High School coach, and 35 of those as a head coach. He coached for 17 years at Houston St. Pius X, five years each at Crockett and Marshall and eight years at Channelview.  He coached 2A, 3A, 4A and 5A schools and had a career record of 593 victories and 243 losses. Coach Ed’s teams were in the play-offs during 20 seasons. In 1972 and 1975, he led the Panthers of Houston St. Pius X to two TCIL state championships. In 1980 he took the Crockett Bulldogs to the state tournament in Austin. Nine of his former players signed professional contracts, and over 50 received college scholarships.

He was a charter member of the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association and served as Director of the THSBCA in 1979 and 1980. In 1997 the Houston Area Baseball Coaches Association inducted Ed into the Hall of Honor.

On Nov. 11, 2020 Coach Ed was recognized and honored by St. Pius X as they dedicated their new St. Pius X High School Baseball Wall of Honor and placed his plaque as the very first inductee and center piece of that Wall of Honor. The plaque read that he was beloved by students and players and he will forever be remembered as the “Father of the St. Pius X Baseball Program”.  In 2011 Coach Ed was inducted in the Texas High School Baseball Association Hall of Fame.

He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Helen (Pitchford) Deffenbaugh, of the home; his wife’s sisters Wanda Richmond of Lufkin, Texas and Sue Finch of Austin, Texas; his wife’s brothers L.K. Pitchford and wife Norma of Poteau, and Bill Pitchford and wife Lynne of Heavener; sisters-in-law Pat Pitchford of Bossier City, Louisiana, and Laura Mae Deffenbaugh of Arkansas; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and other relatives that were like their own children

Plus, all of the many young men whose lives were forever changed by this amazing coach, as they continue to reach out as a reflection of his strength and guidance.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers Earl and wife Stella Mae Deffenbaugh, Clarence Deffenbaugh, Harold and wife Ruby Deffenbaugh; a sister Maude and husband J.B. Massey; his wife’s parents, Lester and Amy Pitchford; his wife’s brothers Earl and Bob Pitchford; a brothers-in-law, Carl Richmond and J.C. Finch; wife’s sister, Bexta Jean Pitchford; and a sister-in-law, Patsy Pitchford.

Coach Ed was married to Helen Marie (Pitchford) Deffenbaugh for 67 years, and had been known to look at her with a twinkly in his eyes and say, “See that lady? The Lord put her in my life. She’s the best thing that ever happened to me”. He served in the Marines one year and then the Army for three years.

The family thanks you for respectfully joining them in wearing a mask to the service.

Viewing is from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. Friday; and 9 a.m. until noon Saturday at the funeral home.

To sign Coach Ed’s online guestbook please visit

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