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Stouffer remembered fondly by colleagues, fellow officials

July 26, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The former principal of J. Frank Faust Junior High School and a pivotal figure in the development of scholastic soccer in Southcentral Pennsylvania, Thomas G. Stouffer died Monday at the age of 72.

"He touched so many people because of all the things he was involved in," said Public Opinion Sports Editor Ed Gotwals. "He just created memories. He was unforgettable in good ways."

Born in Greencastle, Pa., Stouffer earned his bachelor's degree from Shippensburg (Pa.) University and his master's in education from Penn State University, according to his obituary. In 1954, he began his career in education at Greencastle High School, teaching accounting and bookkeeping.

In 1957, he came to Chambersburg Area Senior High School and later served as principal of the former Central Junior High School and J. Frank Faust Junior High School, his obituary stated.

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"I first got to know Tom when I was on the school board in the 1960s," said former school board member D. Eugene Gayman. "I guess I was always struck by his enthusiasm, particularly his enthusiasm for sports."

"I worked for him when I was a teacher," said Franklin County Commissioner and former Chambersburg School Board member Cheryl Plummer. "Tom was one of those old-time principals who absolutely had the best interests of kids at heart.

"He wanted them to succeed and he didn't mind telling them what they had to do to make that happen," Plummer said.

"He was probably the epitome of an old-school principal ... It was a family, but he was the boss," said Mike Meier, a retired teacher and administrator who worked under Stouffer at Central and Faust. "He was one of those people who was in the hallway all the time, talking to students and staff."

"I believe anybody that ever knew him and went on to become an administrator ... probably incorporated some of his values," Meier said. Stouffer also gave to the community and to the arts, but his generosity was low-key, he said.

"More than once, he provided Christmases to families that had no Christmas," Meier said.

Stouffer also helped soccer succeed as a scholastic sport, friends said. Keith Hess, a retired assistant professor of health and physical education at Shippensburg University, said he and Stouffer got to know each other officiating soccer games at Mercersburg (Pa.) Academy in the 1950s.

"From the athletic standpoint that I can speak to ... he was a person who looked out for the kids and looked out for the officials," Hess said. Stouffer also served as PIAA treasurer for a number of years, he said.

"He started the state tournament" for high school soccer and chaired the tournament for seven years, Gotwals said. Stouffer also was instrumental in developing the district tournaments, he said.

"Once he got it going, it really took off," said Gotwals. "He helped the sport take a big leap forward."

Gotwals, who has officiated soccer for 31 years, said Stouffer "was one of my big influences," officiating games when he was in high school and college and as an important figure in the Franklin County Chapter of PIAA officials.

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