Arthur ‘Arty’ Waugh

Arthur ‘Arty’ Waugh

Arthur ‘Arty’ Waugh

GUILDERLAND — Many of the students that Arty Waugh had taught and coached over the years sent him messages of appreciation in the hospital as he faced his death. Mr. Waugh sought to answer every single one.

Arthur “Arty” Waugh, a longtime Guilderland art teacher and legendary coach, died at St. Peter’s Hospital on Monday night, March 7, 2022, with his loving wife, Nancy, by his side. He was 79.

Mrs. Waugh describes him as a Renaissance man. “He set very high standards for himself, both in his art and in his sports,” she said. “He was always looking at improving from whatever he did the day before, whether it was lacrosse or baseball or golf or that painting he was working on.

“I think he inspired a lot of people to work hard and keep improving and keep at it,” she said, noting that, at the same time, her husband was humble and kind. 

The couple met in 1971 as Guilderland teachers; he was at the high school and she taught seventh grade at the middle school.

Arthur Waugh and Nancy Broderick were married at the chapel at the University at Albany in 1974. He described her as “the love of his life” in notes he left for his obituary.

“Meeting Arty was the best thing that ever happened to me and I am incredibly grateful,” said Mrs. Waugh. “I loved our life together and was so blessed to be his wife.”

She also said, “Back in the ’70s and ’80s was one of the best times for teaching and coaching. Guilderland was one big family. He made countless lifelong friendships with staff members, students, and parents,” she said of her husband.

“And we both loved our careers at Guilderland,” Mrs. Waugh went on. “He was really, really dedicated and loyal to the Guilderland football and lacrosse programs and the art program.”

Mr. Waugh was born on Oct. 28, 1942 and raised in West Albany, the youngest son of Dick and Laurabel Waugh. He graduated from South Colonie High School where he played football and baseball. He continued on to Syracuse University where he received his bachelor of fine arts degree.

He was a six-year member of the New York National Guard, 210th Armored, fulfilling his service commitment.

Mr. Waugh’s teaching and coaching career began in 1967 and he retired in 2000. He taught art and coached both football and lacrosse, coaching 45 teams at Guilderland, between the two sports.

Mr. Waugh was a 2021 inductee into the Capital Region Football Hall of Fame for his coaching at Guilderland.

He felt fortunate to have three terrific mentors: his art department chairman, Bill Jewell; football coach Bud Kenyon; and lacrosse coach Russ Ferris.

Mr. Ferris talked Mr. Waugh into helping him coach lacrosse at Siena College in the early 1970s, his wife said. “That’s where he picked up his love for lacrosse,” said Mrs. Waugh, noting the sport was new to the region at the time.

Mr. Waugh is credited with introducing lacrosse to Section 2 in 1976 and there are now more than 30 programs in the area.

Mr. Waugh was a long-time goalie in the Mohawk Lacrosse League and in many tournaments. The highlights were the Native American Festival games vs. the Iroquois Nationals, and the years playing at the Lake Placid Summit Lacrosse Tourney.

Mr. Waugh was inducted into the Adirondack Chapter of the United States Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2000 and became a Legend of Lake Placid recipient in 2015, for years of successful play.

“He fell in love with the game,” said Mrs. Waugh. “He was so happy to be able to pass on that love and respect for the Native American game to a lot of young people.”

Mr. Waugh himself was a lacrosse goalie until he was 60. In his college years, he had played catcher for the Syracuse University team.

“It was kind of a natural transition from being a catcher in baseball to being a goalie in lacrosse … having balls come at your body and at your face and being able to react to them,” said his wife.

When he stopped playing lacrosse at 60, Mr. Waugh took up golf with equal passion, playing locally at Pine Haven or Western Turnpike with friends for the past two decades, his wife said.

During his long career as an art teacher at Guilderland, Mr. Waugh introduced cartooning and animation at the high school and had expertise in advertising. In his retirement, he painted sports scenes in acrylic, and shared his paintings widely with former players and students.

He would share both originals and prints of his art. “He always gave everything away,” said his wife. “He always thought, ‘What can I do to make a difference in somebody else’s life? What can I do to lift them up?’ He sure did it for me, and I miss him dearly.”

Mrs. Waugh has been flooded with scores and scores of messages, through texts and emails, from former students and players, describing what Mr. Waugh meant to them.

As the Waughs faced his death in the hospital, Mrs. Waugh contacted one of his former players who reached out to others through social media.

“People texted between 40 and 50 messages that night … And he was trying to get back to each one of them,” Mrs. Waugh said. “The nurse in the ICU said that phone was pinging until midnight because he was trying so hard to get back to each one of those kids. But he got a chance to know how much he did for them.”

Through tears, Mrs. Waugh read out loud some of the many messages: 

— He made such an impact on my life, I would not be where I am today without his influence;

— We are all card-carrying members of the Waugh Fan club;

— You brightened my day every time I saw you in my youth;

— Your lessons had a major impact many years later when playing the bigger game of life;

— Your jokes and Waugh-isms are still brought up in my circle of friends today;

— You taught me probably the most important lesson about success is this: Generally, you earn it by perseverance;

— With Coach, it was never a win-at-all-cost philosophy; it was about making men who worked hard and did the right thing … to be the first to practice and the last to leave and have fun in between;

— Your classroom was a haven for us all;

— Your positivity, humor, talent, and kindness gave us a backdrop for learning; and

— Every team I coach, I tell stories of the amazing Waugh-man.

Mrs. Waugh concluded by reading a text from one of her husband’s “many best friends,” George Leveille: “Arty set the highest standard of strength, kindness and compassion that a friend could offer and his example will live on forever.”

****

Arthur Waugh is survived by his wife, Nancy Waugh; by his niece, Debra Anderson, and her husband, Chris; by his great-niece, Azalea; by his nephews, Bill Waugh and Dan Carley; and by his sister-in-law, Pat Carley.

His parents, Dick and Laurabel Waugh, died before him, as did his brother, Bob; his brother-in-law, Jake Carley; and his nephew, JB Carley.

His ashes will be spread at locations that have had major impacts upon his life and the remainder will be buried with wife.

A remembrance get-together will be held on Sunday, June 12, from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Orchard Creek Golf Club Pavilion at 6700 Dunnsville Road in Altamont.

“Nancy would like to thank the Town of Guilderland EMTs, St. Peter’s ER, 5 and 6 floor and the ICU nurses and staff; Dr. Farooq, Dr. Khiangte, and Dr. Gold for their compassionate care,” the tribute said.

Memorial contributions may be sent to the Double H Ranch, 97 Hidden Valley Rd, Lake Luzerne, NY 12846.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

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