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The tools of John "Jack" Dryer's trade were his stopwatch and whistle.

Dryer was known to many as a devoted coach and physical education teacher who went out of his way to keep students and athletes on the straight and narrow with his no-nonsense approach and ability to see the good in everyone. Dryer, a well-rounded athlete himself, was also the clock operator for Vikings home games for several decades.

He died Dec. 30, at the age of 91.

John William Dryer was born June 13, 1931, in Minneapolis. He attended North High School where he was a track, football and basketball star known for his speed. Newspaper clippings regularly praised Dryer's athletic feats.

In a 1948 telling of a 13-0 football victory against West High School in front of more than 10,000 fans, Minneapolis Tribune sportswriter Tom Briere wrote that "Jackie Dryer wowed 'em again" and "It was Dryer here and Dryer there: Dryer scoring North's second touchdown in the third quarter on a 56-yard end run, Dryer punting, Dryer intercepting passes."

During that time, Dryer also met his high school sweetheart Jean. They would later raise a family, and they were married for 69 years.

Dryer attended the College of St. Thomas, but after a semester he changed his mind and transferred to the University of Minnesota to focus on his track career. However, Dryer decided to put his athletic and academic plans on hold early in his time at college to enlist in the Navy during the Korean War.

After four years serving primarily on the USS St. Paul, Dryer returned to Minnesota and graduated with a teaching degree.

Dryer's first teaching job was in Faribault, Minn. He later would move his family to Bloomington and teach physical education at the newly built Olson Middle School, where he would spend the rest of his career until he retired after 30 years. Dryer also served as a coach for track, basketball and football at Olson and Jefferson High School.

"He was a fair guy, but he demanded excellence and respect," his son Dan Dryer said.

Some of his advice would be "Look sharp, act sharp, and you will play sharp," and "Remember who you represent."

Dryer served as one of the disciplinarians at the middle school, attended by his son Tom Dryer and his siblings, which turned out to be a blessing and a curse.

"If you were caught doing something and you got the whistle, there was likely going to be push-ups in your future," Tom Dryer laughed.

But Dan Dryer also remembered how he and his brothers would connect with their father over sports, often over long conversations after dinner.

Dryer was also known to help steer students down the right path. Some ended up playing sports when they were young and growing up to coach and teach themselves.

"His legacy was reaching a lot of students and athletes and making a real difference in their lives," Dan Dryer said.

Another memory that Dryer's children won't soon forget is that for more than 30 years, John Dryer served as the timekeeper or clock operator for Vikings home games. Tom and Dan Dryer said their dad was given two tickets per game as payment, which allowed them to tag along to games at Metropolitan Stadium. For a time, they were allowed to stay with their father on the sidelines.

"It was just pretty neat," Tom Dryer said. "When it was cold we would go and sit in the box and get a hot dog."

Dryer is survived by his wife, Jean, children Pat (Kelly), Dan (Janet), Kitty (Kevin) and Tom as well as grandchildren and a great grandchild. Services have been held.