Julius “Tarp” Taormina, a retired junior high teacher and coach for Springfield Local Schools who was a University of Toledo football standout in the early 1950s, died on Monday in Flower Hospital. He was 80.
He had a stroke about three weeks ago, his daughter, Julie, said.
Mr. Taormina of West Toledo taught in the Springfield schools for decades, much of that as physical education teacher and football and track coach at the junior high, his daughter said. In retirement, he took part regularly, and won medals, in senior athletic contests on the local and national level.
“He loved being good at what he did,” his daughter said. “Anything he did, he did it with his whole heart.”
He was born Dec. 22, 1931, in Johnstown, Pa., to Josephine and John Taormina. He was a football and track star at Johnstown High School. At his father's direction, he attended UT. He played halfback, defensive back, and was a punter; news accounts often referred to his stature, 5-feet, 8-inches tall; 170 pounds. He holds the third-best mark for average yards per carry, 6.2 yards, in a season, the UT Web site says. He received second-team Mid-American Conference honors in 1953 and was a three-time letterman. He was in the Varsity “T” Hall of Fame.
“Football was a more physical type of game back then when guys really attacked each other,” he told The Blade in 2005. He later was active with the semi-pro Toledo Maroons and the Toledo Tornadoes.
Visitors at the funeral home Friday night were from across the country, including Alaska and Hawaii, his daughter said.
“It’s a real testament to how much he was loved,” she said.
Surviving are his wife Dorothy Jane Taormina; sons Michael, William, and Robert Taormina; daughter Julie Taormina; brothers Chuck and Michael Taormina; one grandson, and one great-grandson.
Services are 10 a.m. today in Gesu Church, where he was a longtime member. Arrangements were by the Coyle Funeral Home.
The family suggests tributes to the church.