Arthur Raimo, football star and longtime Ridley official

Posted: October 12, 2001

Arthur F. Raimo, 85, a former star football player and coach and Ridley Township official, died of complications from Alzheimer's disease Tuesday at Wallingford Nursing Home. He had resided in Woodlyn, Ridley Township, for 63 years.

Mr. Raimo was born and raised in Massachusetts. He attended Villanova University on a scholarship and became a star fullback on the football team. In his junior year, his team played Auburn University in the Bacardi Bowl in Havana. As a senior, he was named to three college all-star teams.

He graduated with a degree in education in 1938, then played semipro ball for two years before taking a teaching and coaching position at Ridley Township High School.

In 1943, he was drafted into the Navy and played for the Navy football team stationed in Bainbridge, Md.

After his discharge in 1945, Mr. Raimo became backfield coach of Villanova's football team. In 1951, he was named head coach at his alma mater and also served as athletic director. He told The Inquirer at the time that "this is a realization of all my ambitions."

His career at Villanova lasted three years. His wife, Ann, said that "his teams did well, but his old teammate Jordan Oliver was coaching at Yale and wanted my husband to be his assistant."

For the next nine years, Mr. Raimo commuted to New Haven while his wife and family continued to live in Woodlyn.

In 1962, Mr. Raimo accepted a position closer to home as head coach of Pennsylvania Military College, now Widener University. That same year, he took a sales position with Blue Cross of Greater Philadelphia. He left the college in 1967 to devote himself to business. He retired from Blue Cross as director of labor affairs in 1982.

Mr. Raimo continued to coach - for his two young sons' baseball teams.

He was also involved in township affairs. In 1967, he became a member of the Ridley school board and served for the next 25 years, including four years as president. He was Ridley Township tax collector from 1974 to 1978. For several years until 1992, he interviewed DUI offenders for the Delaware County Court.

He was a member of the Villanova Sports Hall of Fame and the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Ridley Township Old Timers Hall of Fame in 1983.

In addition to his wife of 60 years, Mr. Raimo is survived by daughters Elizabeth Martiello, Pat Bliss, Diane Plank and Debbie Greto; sons Arthur Jr. and Michael; two sisters; one brother; 17 grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren. A daughter, Jacqueline Illich, died in 1976.

A Funeral Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Notre Dame de Lourdes Roman Catholic Church, Fairview Road and Michigan Avenue, Swarthmore. Friends may call between 9 and 10:15 a.m. tomorrow at White-Luttrell Funeral Home, 311 N. Swarthmore Ave., Ridley Park. Burial will be in SS. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Marple.

Memorial donations may be made to Alzheimer's Disease Research, 15825 Shady Grove Rd., Suite 140, Rockville, Md. 20850.

Sally A. Downey's e-mail address is

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