In Memory


Greg Estep




December 20, 2010

Gregory F. Estep 1957-2010

ASHLAND — Gregory F. Estep, age 53, of Ashland, went home to be with the Lord, Monday morning, Dec. 20, 2010 in Community Hospice Care Center with his loving family by his side.

He was born Jan. 3, 1957, in Ashland, a son of Monnie Moore James of Ashland and the late Emmanuel Estep.

He was a 35-year employee of Marathon Refinery and a member of Steelworkers Local 8-00719. He was a member of Ashland First Church of the Nazarene where he was an active member of the board. He was a 1975 graduate of Paul G. Blazer High School and coached JFL for more than 20 years.

Additional survivors include his loving wife of 35 years, Pam Wessel Estep of Ashland; a son, Chris Estep and his wife Julie of Mandeville, La.; daughter, Heather Sellars and husband Jamey of Ashland; a sister, Pam Harris of Lexington; three grandchildren, Ethan Sellars, Ella Kate Sellars and Will Estep; and a host of loving extended family members and friends.

The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010 at First Church of the Nazarene in Ashland by Dr. Steve Ruby. Burial will be in Rose Hill Burial Park in Ashland.

Friends may call from 5 to 8 p.m. toay, Dec. 21, 2010 at Steen Funeral Home-13th Street Chapel in Ashland.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Community Hospice, 1538 Central Ave., Ashland, KY?41101 or Ashland First Church of the Nazarene, 2201 Bath Ave., Ashland, KY?41101.

Online condolences may be sent to



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01/01/11 11:55 AM #1    

Bill Hornbuckle

It's a shame to lose Greg, especially after the long, tough battle with cancer.  As much as I'll miss Greg, I know that Pam will be the one that will feel his loss on the long road ahead. 

A ton of great memories of Estep, as part of the Grandview Gang.  Everything from Whiffleball in his side yard, to Strat-O-Matic games at Maynard's house. 

My favorite memory is the basketball game at Coles, when we were in the ninth grade.  Estep is hustling down the floor after a ball, and he gets to it just a few feet from the double doors leading out to the lobby.  Going full speed, he busts open the doors on the visitors side of the gym, and the whole crowd goes dead silent, hoping he doesn't break his neck.  The game stops, and for at least 15 seconds, not one person in the gym speaks, hoping that Greg will be okay.  Then, just when you think he must be getting a bag of popcorn, he comes back into the gym - through the double doors on the home side. 

When Estep comes back into the gym through the other set of doors, he's carrying the ball under his arm, and he's ready to go.  It took a split second for the crowd to digest what had just happened, and then everyone busted out laughing. 

As we were leaving the gym after the game, I heard a grownup say "Not enough mustard to cover that hot dog". 

Vintage Estep.

01/02/11 04:16 PM #2    

Marcia Wilson (Hermann)

January 1, 2011

How youth coaches can make difference

ASHLAND — Rhett Robinson, a member of Ashland’s 1990 state championship football team, sent me this essay a few days after the death of Greg Estep.

Robinson talks about Greg and the many other influences he had in his life while growing up here. They were the examples he needed and examples he’ll never forget.

Robinson lives in Lexington today and he’s been away from Ashland for 17 years. But his days here were special because of those who took the time to care for him.

Every area has these kind of men and this essay is a tribute to all of them.

I know you’ll enjoy the words that Rhett put down on paper.

Yesterday I hugged my 8-year-old son, Eli. 

Hugging is normal, right?  Well, normal to hug your son but it was how I hugged him that took me back to my childhood and an influence in my life. 

I hug him around his head in kind of headlock and kiss his head.  Why does this take me back?  Well it reminds me of how my JFL football coach, Greg Estep, hugged me around my helmet when I was a youngster playing for the Cardinals in the Ashland Junior Football League.  It was also the way he hugged me the last time I saw him just a couple months before he so courageously lost his battle with cancer. 

As my son begins to play in sports programs in Lexington, it makes me long for the “small town” environment of Ashland I had growing up.  For me, Ashland was the place where most people knew you, your parents and/or your grandparents are usually able to recognize you through simple family resemblance.  This was never more evident than in youth sports programs.  Everyone knew everyone.  You knew all the coaches, all the players and all the parents knew each other no matter the colors you wore on your jersey. 

Until the recent days as I have looked back on my memories of Coach Estep, I may have yet to realize the influence these days had on my life.  

Playing JFL football in Ashland in the mid 1980’s meant you were playing with or against names like Juan Thomas, Chris Hutt, Charlie Johnson and Stuart Hackworth while watching the older kids play like Ryan Blake, Mike Johnson and Johnny Gifford. 

I was picked to be on the Cardinals for my 11-12 year-old seasons.  This is where I would have the privilege to play for John Gifford, Greg Estep, Darrin Wilson and “Big Mike” Johnson, just to name a few.  I was part of two awesome teams (only losses came in season-ending Friendship Bowls) with some great teammates but more than anything I was embraced by some great men.  I was not a star player but I loved the game and I loved to hit.  These men embraced my passion for the game and shared theirs. As a kid living without his father due to divorce, I needed these men in my life and probably had no idea of it at the time. 

Through those years of JFL many men embraced our group of guys.  Some like Steve Harvey would go as far as to predict our future success stating “if these young guys all kept playing together they would win the high school state championship some day.”

By the way we did in 1990. 

Some were coaches like Ron Moore and Coach Wilson who would continue to be there with us all the way into the 90’s.  There were also supporters of ours like Dirk (Payne) and Dicky (Martin), Coach M(Vic) arsh, Greg Salyer, Doug Roberts and Doug Childers not to mention the Momcats (our football moms), coaches and fans who rallied around us in football and life. 

And for me there was Greg Estep every step of the way. 

Greg always had that grin and laugh that let you know he knew you were to no good but he loved you anyway.  And, of course, one of those “headlock” hugs. 

From those early days in JFL when his son Chris was our ball boy to the state championship game in Louisville when I think Greg and Steve Harvey made it to the field to hug us guys before most of our teammates did. Greg always made time for me and always picked right up where we left off even if it had been years since we had seen each other. 

Ironically enough my last embrace with my JFLcoach and friend came this past October on the sideline at Putnam Stadium where many of those hugs had come during my JFL days.  Our state xhampionship Tomcat football teams (1975 and 1990) were being honored on their 35th and 20th anniversaries respectively. 

I wasn’t sure if Coach would be there since he had been struggling with his health.  I was thrilled to see that grin and hear that laugh, hopefully this time meaning I had been up to something good and he loved me just the same.  This embrace lasted a bit longer than normal, kind of sealing a special friendship and mentorship that had lasted nearly 27 years.

As I embrace my son today I hope I can live into him as so many have done for me leaving me with memories and lessons along the way. I pray I can embrace each day giving it all I have.  Coach Estep once told us at halftime — “Boys we scored 35 points in the first half…now go get 35 more.”  I just hope the second half of life is a memorable as the first and filled with many great influences like Greg Estep. 

May God bless Greg, his family and all those who have gone before us making a difference. 


01/17/11 10:17 AM #3    

Mike Gothard

Greg will be missed by all of his dear family and friends.  I was touched by all of the people that came to the funeral home to pay their respects to the family.  I spoke to one young man standing in line by himself to pay his respects.  It was Jeremiah Johnson, a young man that Greg and I coached in junior league football.  He said that Greg touched his life in such a way that he felt he had to come and say farewell.  This brought tears to my eyes, but made me proud of the legacy I know that Greg has left behind.  Greg impacted so many young men's lives with his passion, enthusiasm and his caring spirit. 

I apologized to Pam for being so happy at a time of such sadness.  I was overcome with pride in how my best friend and brother Greg lived and died.  He and Pam have shared so much over the past year.  Pam, you are an angel.  I felt so very blessed to be able to spend quite a lot of quality time with Greg....sharing past stories and listening to Greg share with me the thoughts that ran through his mind since his diagnosis.  He told me that in so many ways it was a blessing.  Can you believe that?  How can such a horrific diagnosis be a blessing?  He said that it brought everything into perspective.  It made him appreciate each and everyday, love Pam even more, if that was possible, and allow him time to share with others the things that Greg came to know were the keys to life: Family, Friends and Faith.  He shared his belief in a better life when his fight came to an end.  He spoke of the love he had for his family, how proud he was of each of them and the relationship he came to know with his Lord and Savior.  I thought I was reaching out to help him in some small way over the past year, but he touched my life in such a way that he gave me much more than I ever gave him.

I have lived in many places over the past 35 years, but God brought me to Mandeville, LA about two blocks from Greg's son Chris.  Do you think that was some wild coincidence??? I do not think so either.  Denna and I have come to love Chris, Julie and little Will as if they were our own.  Greg knew this and was so pleased we were led here.

We can best honor Greg by keeping in mind that which he so elegantly shared.  Love your family, stay close to your friends and let the Lord lead you each and every day.







10/29/12 09:26 AM #4    

Marcia Wilson (Hermann)

I think of Greg often....I am so so very happy I go to see him one more time at the 35th year reunion. He had such a postive attitude and so helped me get through the pain of a family member's fight with cancer....

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