Kenneth Cory was a fitness buff.
Last summer, at 65, he became certified in CrossFit, an intense strength and conditioning program. It's heavy on weightlifting, cardio and calisthenics.
In the gym, he was "The Man". Whippersnappers liked to challenge his physical prowess. Often, they limped up short.
For decades, Mr. Cory was a high school teacher and coach for schools in DeKalb and Gwinnett counties.
At DeKalb's Peachtree High, he was an assistant football coach and head wrestling coach. In the classroom, he devised a stunt to wake up sleepy heads, said former Peachtree High principal John Snoderly.
"He would stand behind the desk, flat-footed, leap and land on [the student's] desk," he said. "That would wake them up. He was a dedicated teacher and coach."
While Mr. Cory enjoyed athletics, he didn't make it his end-all and be-all. He supported all of his children's endeavors, and stressed the importance of academics and happiness.
Alia Cory Hoyt of Spring Hill, Tenn., remembers when she took an interest in dance. Her father never missed a recital, though dance wasn't his bailiwick.
"He wanted us to be happy people and grow up to pursue careers that made us happy," his daughter said. "He didn't care what we did as long as we did something."
In 2002, after a 30-plus year career as an educator, Mr. Cory retired. He and Cheryl, his wife of 42 years, moved to Spring Hill, Tenn., to be near their daughter.
Months after the move, Mr. Cory started experiencing severe back pain. One day he tripped and fell and cracked his spine. It led to a diagnosis: multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow.
In mid-2007, he underwent stem-cell replacement surgery. He received radiation and chemotherapy. The cancer was in full remission, but on Friday, Kenneth Lloyd Cory of Spring Hill, Tenn., died from a suspected heart attack or blood clot at his home. He was 66. He will be buried at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Peachtree Memorial Park in Norcross.
Mr. Cory graduated from Holy Cross Abbey, a Catholic boarding school in Canon City, Colo. He earned a master's degree in history from Western State College in Gunison, Colo.
After college, he joined the Marines and served two tours of duty in Vietnam. He earned a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.
In 1979, the family moved from Colorado to Atlanta, settling first in Duluth, then Doraville. He earned a master's degree in education at Georgia State University.
From 1979 to the early 1990s, he worked at Peachtree High. He coached wrestling at Dunwoody High for a year, then football for several years at Meadowcreek High. He usually taught history and economics.
Mr. Cory had a knack for details and facts.
"If you asked him to talk about the War of 1812, he could launch into a comprehensive overview of the war and how it influenced the world," his daughter said. "He had an amazing capacity for remembering details and dates."
Health issues forced Mr. Cory to stop coaching, but he remained in the classroom. He finished his career at Phoenix High, an alternative campus in Lawrenceville, and retired in 2002.
"He was strong in every way you can imagine," his daughter said. "Physically and emotionally."
Additional survivors include two sons, Steve Cory of Woodstock and Joe Cory of Duluth; two brothers, Larry Cory of Pasadena, Calif.; Joe Cory of Alaska; three sisters, Mary Cory of Chula Vista, Calif.; Elizabeth Bell of Lawrenceville; and DoVelle McKelroy of Waco, Texas; and four grandchildren.
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