Tom Hoke Passed Away
The Central New York community mourns the loss of a true sports icon, Tom Hoke, who passed away at the age of 77. Known as the embodiment of “Pride & Tradition” at Rome Free Academy, Hoke’s 27-year tenure as head coach of the Black Knights is legendary.
His exceptional record of 210-41-4, along with numerous accolades including 19 league titles, 8 Section III titles, and a state championship in 1981, solidified his status as a coaching legend. Hoke’s influence extended beyond football, as he also found success coaching Rome’s girl’s varsity basketball program. The community recognized his contributions by dedicating the football field to him in 2010.
Born in Utica, NY, Tom Hoke was the third of six sons to the late Ray and Catherine (McRorie) Hoke. He shared a loving marriage of 32 years with his wife Lorraine Trophia, and together they raised four children and cherished six grandchildren. Tom’s warmhearted nature shone through at the Hoke family gatherings and Christmas parties, where he created lasting memories. He leaves behind a legacy cherished by his surviving brothers, in-laws, nieces, nephews, cousins, and lifelong friend Ron Bauer.
Tom Hoke’s passion for sports began during his time at Whitesboro schools, where he excelled in football, basketball, and baseball. After graduating from Whitesboro High School in 1964, he pursued a football scholarship at the University of Buffalo. Following his college journey, Coach Hoke returned to Whitesboro to embark on a successful career in teaching and coaching, mentoring young athletes in JV football and JV baseball.
Tom’s impact on people’s lives is immeasurable, and he always expressed gratitude for the many lives that touched his own. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. John the Baptist Church, Rome, to honor his memory, followed by burial at St. John the Baptist Cemetery. Friends and loved ones can pay their respects at the Nunn and Harper Funeral Home. The legacy of Tom Hoke, an esteemed figure in Central New York sports, will forever live on in the hearts of those he touched.
What Happened To Tom Hoke?
The family of Thomas H. Hoke sadly announces his peaceful passing on July 17, 2023, at the age of 77. They hold cherished memories and carry heavy hearts during this time of loss.
His philosophy of surrounding himself with exceptional assistants, such as Tom Myslinski, Don Bruce, and later, Bob Ryan, was a testament to his leadership as head coach. Undoubtedly, it takes an entire community to build a winning program, and Tom understood this better than anyone.
Beyond his notable achievements in football, Tom also made a lasting impact on the Rome Free Academy community as the head coach of the Varsity Girl’s Basketball Program from 1986 to 1996.
During this time, he had the honor of coaching his daughter, Tina, and led the team to remarkable success with an impressive record of 165-56. His prowess as a coach earned him recognition as the Onondaga High School League Coach of the Year, and his team claimed the OSHL Championship during the 1990-91 season.
Among his many accomplishments, Tom took great pride in establishing the RFA Touchdown Club in 1981, an influential booster organization led by President Ray Tarkowski, which provided unwavering support to the football team.
Artie Neuman, a loyal ball boy and dedicated fundraiser, played an integral role in Coach Hoke’s journey with the RFA Football organization, showcasing the profound impact he had on those around him.
Tom’s unwavering dedication to his craft garnered him numerous prestigious accolades throughout his career, including the esteemed titles of New York State Football Coach of the Year in 1981, the Honor Award from the NYS Coaches Association in 1984, and the John Arcaro Memorial Coach Award in 1998.
He received the Martin Luther King Award in 1999 and was inducted into both the Rome Sports Hall of Fame and the Utica Sports Hall of Fame. Teaching was not just a profession for Tom; it was his lifelong passion. He cherished every moment spent shaping the minds of his students, leaving an indelible mark on their lives.
How Did Tom Hoke Die?
The Central New York community mourns the loss of a beloved sports icon as Tom Hoke, a revered figure in the region, passed away at the age of 77. The family of Thomas H. Hoke announces his peaceful departure on July 17, 2023, leaving behind a legacy of extraordinary achievements and cherished memories.
Coach Hoke’s unwavering dedication to the world of sports earned him numerous accolades and honors. In 1981, he was rightfully crowned New York State Football Coach of the Year, a distinction that reflected his exceptional coaching prowess. His remarkable contributions were further acknowledged with the Honor Award from the NYS Coaches Association in 1984 and the esteemed John Arcaro Memorial Coach Award in 1998.
Notably, he received the Martin Luther King Award in 1999, symbolizing his commitment to fostering unity and equality. His outstanding career led to his induction into both the Rome Sports Hall of Fame and the Utica Sports Hall of Fame, forever etching his name in the annals of sports history.
While Coach Hoke’s professional achievements are truly remarkable, his impact as an educator was equally profound. With a passion for teaching that radiated through every moment, he dedicated over three decades to shaping the minds and hearts of countless students. Tom loved his role as an educator, finding immense joy in the transformative power of education. His students cherished his guidance, and his legacy as a caring mentor lives on.
During his well-deserved retirement, Tom savored the freedom to spend quality time with his loving wife, Lorraine, and their children and grandchildren, both in New York and Arizona. These cherished moments of togetherness brought him immeasurable happiness and will forever be treasured.
Tom will be remembered as a loving son, a devoted husband, a nurturing father, a doting papa, a supportive brother, and an inspiring teacher. His profound impact on the lives he touched is a testament to his character and the indelible mark he left on the hearts of all who knew him.
The family wishes to extend their heartfelt gratitude to the compassionate staff at the Abraham House, as well as the dedicated nursing and volunteer teams from Hospice, for their unwavering support and loving care during this challenging time. They would also like to express their deep appreciation to Father Paul Angelicchio for his prayers and guidance.
Tom’s journey took an unexpected turn when the RFA Football Field was named in his honor upon his retirement from 33 years of teaching. This heartfelt gesture encapsulated the admiration and respect the community had for him. Additionally, Tom shared his passion for golf during the summer months by working at the renowned Turning Stone Casino Resort, overseeing the course Rangers and golf bag handlers. These endeavors allowed him to indulge in his lifelong passion while creating lasting memories.
Cause Of Death And Obituary
With heavy hearts and profound love, the family of Thomas H. Hoke sadly announces his peaceful passing on July 17, 2023, at the age of 77. The Central New York community mourns the loss of this esteemed sports figure, whose impact was felt far and wide.
Coach Hoke’s unwavering dedication to his craft earned him numerous prestigious accolades and recognition. In 1981, he was honored as the New York State Football Coach of the Year, a testament to his exceptional coaching prowess.
Throughout his illustrious career, he was also bestowed with the Honor Award from the NYS Coaches Association in 1984, the esteemed John Arcaro Memorial Coach Award in 1998, and the Martin Luther King Award in 1999. Furthermore, his remarkable contributions to the world of sports led to his induction into both the Rome Sports Hall of Fame and the Utica Sports Hall of Fame, forever solidifying his place among the legends.
In addition to his remarkable accomplishments, Tom Hoke was deeply committed to his role as an educator, dedicating his life to shaping the minds and hearts of countless students. His passion for teaching radiated through every moment, leaving an indelible impact on the lives he touched.
The family would like to express their heartfelt gratitude to the compassionate staff at the Abraham House, as well as the dedicated nursing and volunteer teams from Hospice, for their unwavering support and loving care during this difficult time. Their kindness and compassion provided solace to both Tom and his loved ones. A special thanks is also extended to Father Paul Angelicchio for his prayers and unwavering support.
Tom’s profound influence was evident as he touched the lives of many. However, he remained humbly grateful, recognizing that his own life was enriched by the countless individuals who crossed his path.
A Mass of Christian Burial, officiated by the Reverend Paul F. Angelicchio, will be held on Thursday, July 20 at 9:30 a.m. at St. John the Baptist Church, located at 210 E. Dominick Street, Rome. Following the service, burial will take place in St. John the Baptist Cemetery. Relatives and friends are invited to pay their respects at Nunn and Harper Funeral Home, Inc., located at 418 N. George St., Rome, on Wednesday, July 19, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
As we bid farewell to Tom Hoke, we celebrate a life well-lived and cherish the memories he leaves behind. His legacy will forever inspire us, reminding us of the profound impact one person can have on the lives of many.
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