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Published: Thursday, 3/1/2012

Clyde E. Tisdale, Jr., 1934-2012: Retired probation officer was star athlete


Clyde E. Tisdale, Jr., a high school and college football star who was a leader on the job and in the community, died Saturday in Toledo Hospital of congestive heart failure. He was 77.

Mr. Tisdale of South Toledo retired in 1992 as chief probation officer of Toledo Municipal Court, a position to which he was named in 1988. Hired by the court in 1964, he often credited the late Judge Robert Franklin, then on the Municipal Court bench, with seeing his potential.

The example of Judge Franklin's help was central to a lesson he taught his children. Mr. Tisdale, the second eldest of 14, was black and grew up in mostly white Rossford. He went to college in largely white Defiance.

"My father never talked about experiencing any type of discrimination, and he never allowed us to use, if I might say, that card," his daughter, Penny, said. "He said there is always someone out there willing to assist if you put forth the effort."

He did much the same for others. "Our family, extended family, his friends will tell you that his calling was to lead someone in the right direction [and] to make them aware there were other opportunities to keep them on track," his daughter said.

He could be forthright.

"If it came out of his mouth, you could best believe he would deliver," daughter Penny said.

He was a probation casework supervisor in 1974 when he was named correctional worker of the year by the Toledo Area Association of Correctional Workers.

Born in East St. Louis, Ill., his family moved to Rossford in 1935. From childhood, he helped in his father's snow and trash removal businesses.

He played football for Rossford High and was a leading scorer in the Great Northern Conference. He was placed on the all-conference team three years running by the Toledo Times.

He was a graduate of Defiance College, with a major in psychology and minor in education. He led the Defiance football team in rushing, pass receiving, and scoring as a senior, when he was co-captain of the squad. He received Mid-Ohio League honors all four years on the team.

Later, he became youth director at the former Indiana Avenue YMCA. As a volunteer, he was vice chairman of the branch's board of managers and a member of the Camp Storer board of managers.

He helped start a sickle cell anemia clinic at what is now Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center and coached youth football.

He took part in the men's ministry and the security ministry at Friendship Baptist Church in Toledo, where his brother, Bishop Duane Tisdale, is pastor.

He followed Ohio State sports teams. He also got to know local high school athletes, whom he guided toward higher education.

"Daddy would love to see these athletes do well," his daughter, Eva, said.

He was an Army veteran and served stateside.

He married the former Mary Ellen McCown on Aug. 27, 1958. She died Aug. 17, 1992.

Surviving are his daughters, Cleora "Penny" Alexander and Mary Evangeline "Eva" Miller; sons, Clyde T. and Carl E. Tisdale; sisters, Cathern Morgan, Betty Edwards, Margaret Tisdale, and Patricia Sloan; brothers, Gerald, Jack, Donald, Gary, Duane, and Delbert Tisdale, and six grandchildren.

Visitation will be at 11 a.m. Friday in Friendship Baptist Church followed by a home-going celebration at noon.

The family suggests tributes to the college scholarship fund at Friendship Baptist.

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

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