Legendary Weld County athlete, coach dies after battle with dementia | MyWindsorNow.com

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Legendary Weld County athlete, coach dies after battle with dementia

Memorial

A celebration of Kula’s life is scheduled for 5 p.m., May 19 at the Windsor Recreation Center.

Murray Kula, a longtime Windsor High School coach and administrator, died Sunday after a short battle with an aggressive form of dementia.

Kula, 67, appeared in fairly good health less than two months ago when he was in his familiar spot as the starter of the Windsor Invitational Track Meet.

However, his energy level declined, and he was immediately rushed to the hospital in March. His conditioned continued to worsen until he died.

Kula was moved to a medical facility south of Denver to be closer to his children Brian Kula, 44; Brigg Kula 38; and Lindsey Kula 41. His wife, Cheryl Kula, 68, also moved from the family's small Windsor farm to be by her husband's side.

His entire family was by his side when he died.

"He was peaceful (when he died)," Brian Kula said. "He was incoherent, unresponsive in the last week, but he was very comfortable.

"The doctors and nurses were amazing in making sure he was peaceful."

Kula spent 25 years at Windsor as a football, golf, track and basketball coach. He was also instrumental in starting a weight-lifting and conditioning program.

Medical officials struggled to find a diagnosis, but told Brian Kula that it could possibly be Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, which progresses rapidly and can be fatal.

Medical tests weren't overly encouraging, and several weeks ago Brian Kula conceded that the family "was keeping its fingers crossed" but preparing for an unknown future.

Longtime friend and colleague Larry Brunz said that he recently visited Murray Kula, and they embraced, but verbal communication was difficult.

Kula was well respected on the athletic field as well as in the classroom.

"He's done so much for so many people that we never even knew about," Brian Kula said. "He really cared about people.

"We got some smiles and some laughs out of him the last could of days," Brian Kula added.

Kula was an all-state football and track athlete at Greeley West. He continued his success at the University of Northern Colorado, where he played running back and safety.

Kula went on to a successful teaching and coach career, and was also a ski instructor at Eldora Ski Area during ski seasons.

He became one of the head starters at the Colorado High School State Track and Field Championships at Jeffco Stadium, a job he took a lot of pride in.

Kula's family spent nearly every waking hour at his side until he died shortly after 1 p.m., according to his son.

"He was definitely a peace," Brian Kula said. "We know that he's in a better place and he believed in he Lord. He's no longer suffering."