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Published: Friday, 11/18/2011

East Toledo star athlete, coach lived to help others

Elmer V. Scallish, 1928-2011

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Elmer V. Scallish, 83, a football star at Waite High School in the 1940s under legendary coach Jack Mollenkopf and who later played for his former coach at Purdue and then coached football at his alma mater, died Wednesday of a heart attack in his Oregon home.

He retired in 1989 as an administrator in the Toledo Public Schools. He was a former president of the Old Newsboys Goodfellow Association, a volunteer-run charity that provides coats and shoes for children and food baskets for families.

"He was so dedicated and committed to helping families in need," said Ron Shnider, an Old Newsboys board member and a former president. "Elmer was the kind of guy who could never do enough."

Mr. Scallish regularly was the Old Newsboys' top collector of donations. This month, he sent out his annual appeal for donations -- letters to more than 7,000 people.

"Probably 200 came back the last two days with people sending checks," his son, Julius, said. "Honestly, I hope it's the best year he ever had."

He was born June 4, 1928, near Sandusky, to Elizabeth and Joseph Scallish. The family settled in Birmingham, the Hungarian-American neighborhood of East Toledo. He went to St. Stephen grade school, and was bound for Central Catholic High School when Mr. Mollenkopf heard of his brawn from neighborhood children. The coach persuaded his parents to send him to Waite. Even as a freshman, he was a starter on the football team.

He was all-state as a lineman. His junior year, he was team co-captain when Waite recovered from a loss to Libbey in the City League to defeat a traditional powerhouse, the Massillon Tigers, 40-6. After that victory, Waite was named Ohio's No. 1 team.

He had varsity letters in football, baseball, and track. He received a football scholarship to Purdue University, where Mr. Mollenkopf had become line coach.

He also was a champion amateur boxer.

He received a bachelor's degree in education and returned to Waite, where he taught physical education and became a line coach. In 1957, head coach Lou Meszaros stepped down, and Mr. Scallish was elevated. He already was known for being colorful.

"He bounces up and down the sidelines, nervously and loudly exhorting Waite to uphold the honor and glory of East Toledo," then-Blade sports editor Don Wolfe wrote in 1957. "Sometimes the Earth rattles."

In 1959, he was hired by Purdue's new head coach, Mr. Mollenkopf, to be freshman line coach. In January, 1960, he resigned to become line coach at George Washington University, but returned home to care for his parents.

He became a teacher at Robinson Junior High School, and later an assistant principal at Waite and an administrator in adult education.

He became job placement coordinator at the former Macomber-Whitney Vocational Technical High School.

In the 1960s, he was a coach of the Toledo Tornadoes semi-professional football team.

Mr. Scallish was in the Toledo City League Hall of Fame; the Birmingham Hall of Fame, and the Waite High School Hall of Fame.

He sold real estate from the mid-1970s until the early 2000s, and he was a Lucas County foreclosure appraiser.

Surviving are his wife, Frances, whom he married July 4, 1964; daughter, Darlene Oblinger; son, Julius; six grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter.

Visitation will be from 2-9 p.m. Friday in the Hoeflinger-Bolander Funeral Home, Oregon, with recitation of the Rosary at 7 p.m. followed by a chalice service. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday in St. Stephen Church, where the body will be after 9 a.m.

The family suggests tributes to the Old Newsboys Goodfellow Association.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182



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