|Birth: ||Dec. 27, 1917|
|Death: ||May 15, 2010|
Thomas J. Elliott, 92, a Philadelphia native, owner of American Kitchens and college football referee who made a famously controversial call at a Princeton-Rutgers game, died Saturday, May 15, at Vitas Hospice at Nazareth Hospital in Northeast Philadelphia.
Mr. Elliott had been a referee for Division I college football games for 15 years when he was forced to make a difficult call at the 1974 Princeton-Rutgers contest. The stands were packed with rowdy fans and Rutgers was leading, 6-0, with 17 seconds left in the game when Princeton scored. The game was tied and the Princeton kicker wanted to go for the extra point, but fans had torn down both goalposts. Everyone wanted to give Mr. Elliot advice. Suggestions included building a makeshift goalpost, having officials stand on each other's shoulders for a human goalpost, and marching the teams to a practice field down the road - an idea Mr. Elliott nixed. "I got this terrible vision of me being followed by two teams and 30,000 people for a mile," he said. Mr. Elliott made a decision. He let Princeton throw a pass for a conversion. It was incomplete. The game was over. "I got booed by both sides," Mr. Elliott told Lyon. Later, though, the division commissioner and Rutgers and Princeton coaches agreed he had made the right call. The game cost colleges money because a rule was instituted that they had to have a set of spare goalposts on hand.
Mr. Elliott, who officiated at the 1977 Army-Navy game, continued to referee college games on Saturdays, and officiated at high school football and baseball games during the week until he was in his 60s. He attended meetings of referees into his 80s. Mr. Elliott was past president of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Eastern Association of Intercollegiate Football Officials. From 1983 to 1985 he was supervisor of referees for the former United States Football League. He loved teaching young referees the game, his son said. He was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.
Mr. Elliott grew up in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia, the son of Larry Elliott and Agnes Wynn. He played baseball for the Parkway League and later managed a Parkway team. He graduated from St. Joseph's Preparatory School and attended St. Joseph's University for two years. In his youth, he played semipro football for the Tacony Shamrocks and the Venango Bears and also coached the Bears.
During World War II, he worked at the Naval Shipyard in Philadelphia. After the war, he was an electrician for the Pullman Co. in Philadelphia. In the 1950s he purchased American Kitchen Machinery & Repairs in Old City. The firm, which sells and services restaurant equipment, is now operated by Mr. Elliott's granddaughter Andrea Mahon.
Mr. Elliott was the devoted father of Thomas W. Elliott (Andrea), Little Bob Daly, the late Robert Elliott and the late Robert Macciocca. He was the brother of Agnes (Babe) Murphy and James Elliott (Lorraine). Loving grandfather of Andrea Mahon, Jane and Amy Elliott, Alison and Robbie Daly. Great grandfather of Luke and Juliet Mahon Glennie, Steven, Thomas, Dillon and Chloe Palaia and Zachary Grimes. Best friend of Charlie Buckley and special friend of Sharon Martin.
A Funeral Mass was at Christ the King Roman Catholic Church, Morrell Avenue and Chesterfield Road, Philadelphia.
Catherine Foley Elliott (1920 - 1990)
Thomas W. Elliott (1939 - 2011)*
Robert T Elliott (1950 - 2009)*
Forest Hills Memorial Park
Created by: AngelHeart
Record added: Sep 05, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 58194564