HURON, Ohio - Pat B. Gioffre, 82, who officiated at high football and basketball games for the Sandusky Bay Conference and, out of uniform, was a loyal supporter of Huron High School athletics, died Thursday in the Huron home of his son Patrick from complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
He worked nearly 20 years for the family-run Huron Cement Products and became general foreman, retiring in 1979 after an on-the-job injury.
In the 1960s and into the 1970s, Mr. Gioffre was an official for football and basketball games in the conference, which includes schools in Erie, Ottawa, and Sandusky counties. He also officiated at basketball sectional tournaments.
"It brought him close to the people," his son Patrick said. "He was a very personal person who loved to compete. He loved working with kids and working with coaches."
In his officiating, he tried to teach as well - the players, how to handle themselves and why they'd made a mistake; the coaches, why he made the call he did, his son said.
"He was very boisterous," his son said. "He was a very stern individual, but a very compassionate one."
For decades, he attended nearly every Huron High sports event, said Tony Munafo, Sr., the head football coach for 23 years until 1987.
"Athletics was one of his great loves," Mr. Munafo said. "He was one of those neat critics who could jive with you - he wasn't serious with you - [and] he'd tell what he thought was right."
For years from his counter-side perch at the Donut Shop, Mr. Gioffre greeted patrons and "made them feel part of the community," his son said. "He was an ambassador for the city of Huron."
He ordered a chocolate glazed donut daily, drank coffee out of the same mug, and "made everybody feel at home there," said Sherri Finton, owner of the Donut Shop.
Mr. Gioffre was an Army veteran of World War II and served in the Pacific Theater, completing Huron High School only after he returned. He co-owned Gioffre Bar with his father, Joseph, until the mid-1960s and worked two years for the Huron water department.
He was a member of the Italian-American Beneficial Club, Sandusky, and was a Grand Knight of the St. Edward's Council, Knights of Columbus, in Huron. He was a member of St. Peter Church.
His wife of 52 years, Ann Gioffre, died Dec. 30, 2002.
Surviving are his sons, Patrick J. "Sticks" and Charles F. Gioffre; sisters, Mary David and Theresa Alten, and seven grandchildren.
Services will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the St. Peter Church Gathering Space, Huron, where the body will be after 4 p.m. tomorrow. Arrangements are by Foster Funeral Home, Huron.
The family suggests tributes to St. Peter Church; Stein Hospice Services, Sandusky, or the Huron Athletic Fund.