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Published: Tuesday, 7/1/2014

Bert J. Warrick [1932-2014]; Toledo star left football to become a lawyer

BY JENNIFER GERSTEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Bert Warrick Bert Warrick
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Bert J. Warrick, among the University of Toledo’s most decorated football players who applied his engineering degree in his 35-year career as a lawyer, died June 27 in Flower Hospice. He was 82.

His wife, Audrey, said he died after brain bleeding and paralysis.

In high school, they called him “The DeVilbiss Flash.”

“The joke is that he met me at my place when we were dating, and my roommate walked in and saw him and asked ‘Are you THE Bert Warrick?’ ” Ms. Warrick said. It was 1967, nearly 13 years after Mr. Warrick had made his last plays as a halfback for the Rockets. To his community, he had been, and would remain, a celebrity.

Born on March 12, 1932, to a family of few means, Mr. Warrick, while in middle school, was approached by local coaches who had taken note of his burgeoning athletic talent.

At DeVilbiss High School, he ran track, setting district records in hurdles and relay events.

Football, however, was where he made his name. A running back selected for the all-city team, Mr. Warrick earned a scholarship to the University of Toledo, where his accomplishments cemented his name in local legend and captured the attention of professional recruiters.

But Mr. Warrick never played professionally. His son, Mike, said he was eager to make use of his degree in civil engineering. Equally important to Mr. Warrick, however, was that he be able to walk 50 years later. He left football after injuring his ACL for the second time in the fall of his senior year, choosing not to risk his body for sports glory.

He swapped his uniform for a suit, becoming a lawyer after earning his law degree from UT. He put his engineering background to use on cases related to civil utilities, but chose to concentrate on civil and criminal law until his retirement in 2003. Mr. Warrick was interested in people, and it showed. Years after he had helped them, his clients continued to approach him with ardent thanks.

Gardening, golf, and skiing filled Mr. Warrick’s Sundays. It was on a ski trip with the Toledo Ski Club that he met his wife with whom he had two sons. Never far from the sport he loved best, he provided color commentary with Jerry Keil for Rockets football broadcasts on WSPD.

At 82, he worked out three times a week. Having survived cancer five years prior, he was intent on keeping himself strong.

That he refused to stop moving, even in his last year of life, was remarkable but unsurprising. Over the last 20 years, Ms. Warrick said she and her husband had been keen globetrotters, visiting 26 countries over the course of their 46-year marriage.

“We don’t know,” the couple would say, if asked where they were headed next. “But it’s going to be an adventure.”

He is survived by his wife, Audrey; sons, Mike and Tim, and six grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 10 to 11 a.m. July 9 at Sylvania United Church of Christ. Services will follow at 11 a.m.

The family suggests memorial donations to Ebeid Hospice or the National Autism Association.

Contact Jennifer Gersten at: jgersten@theblade.com or 419-724-6050.



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