It is with great sadness that The SANFL Umpires Association advise of the passing of Life Member Mr. Tony Cooper. Tony was born on the 15th of June 1936. He passed on Wednesday September 25th.
Tony started umpiring in approximately 1960 at the age of 24, after playing junior football for Sturt. He went on to umpire over 400 games, over a 22 year career and across all three disciplines (Field, Boundary and Goal). As a Field Umpire he enjoyed his country trips to far flung regions and the mate ship that was a part of those long drives. In the late 60’s, Tony successfully made the switch to goal umpiring and was appointed to seconds and league matches up until he hung up his flags.
Tony had umpiring in his blood and remained active with the SANFL, firstly as a local observer in metro leagues and then as a statistician and finally as a match day steward right up until 2014. He and his late wife Peggy were also regulars at SANFLUA social functions in his running days and he was a regular starter in the Camden Umpire’s race which is sponsored by SANFLUA.
Those that traveled with Tony to the country describe him as a quiet, well mannered and confident umpire, who cared. He was a good listener and rarely drank, which at the time was something of an oddity for that seasoned group. Tony also loved his cricket and in the late 70’s and 80’s displayed some considerable talent with the bat and ball whilst playing in the Umpire’s electric light cricket team in the Peacock Road competition.
In the early 80’s, Tony received an award “The Charles Sturt Award” which was presented through the SANFL for his dedication to the SANFL – awarded at a Golden Whistle Night.
A keen cyclist, he rode everywhere on his trusted and gearless, Malvern Star. On one occasion he rode his bike solo from Adelaide to Sydney and then attempted Perth to Adelaide before giving it up at Ceduna because of the dangers of truck traffic. Tony owned a Penny Farthing bike and was active on the Penny Farthing club executive for many years.
Tony was also into vintage cars and he was presented with one of the first of the Pegasus Medals for never missing a Bay to Birdwood run in 30 years driving a C4 Amilcar Roadster with its Adelaide built TJ Richards body. It was his pride and joy.
Tony was inducted as a Life Member of the SANFL Umpires Association in 1987 at the same time as his friend David Watts (the Renaissance Centre Building in Rundle Mall). He was a regular at each annual dinner, attending even when ill and accompanied by Mr. Reg Burgess and or his carer companion.
Tony’s Funeral is to be held at 11am on Tuesday, October 1st at Marion Church of Christ, on the corner of Alawoona Ave and Marion Road, Mitchell Park.
From all SANFLUA Members and Life Members, we pass on our condolences to Tony’s Family and Friends during this difficult time.
Life Members Representative