Former Philadelphia Eagle
Norman Earle Willey, age 83, of Middletown, DE, passed away on Thursday, August 18, 2011, at Christiana Hospital in Newark, DE.
A truly outstanding athlete, three-time NFL All-Pro, and gentleman ambassador of the game, Mr. Willey was a defensive lineman for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1950 to 1958. His many incredible accomplishments on the field during his eight-year career included playing in two Pro Bowls and completing an amazing 17 sacks in one game against the New York Giants.
As a legendary member of the Eagles sports dynasty, he was named to both the 75-Year All-Star Team and the All-Century team. Even following his retirement, Mr. Willey remained a great favorite of fans and players alike. For many years, he was a beloved figure at Eagles home games, greeting distinguished visitors and dignitaries, as well as opposing teams whom he led onto the field at the start of each game.
At the close of his playing career, Mr. Willey, a naturally gifted mentor, went on to teach physical education and driver's education for 30 years at Pennsville High School in Pennsville, NJ, where he also coached tennis and basketball; the "Norm Willey Boot" trophy is awarded annually to the winner of the Pennsville-Penns Grove football game. He hosted the popular "Wildman Show" for Salem County cable television for many years and, in earlier years, coached semi-pro football in Wilmington, DE.
Born on August 22, 1927, in Hastings, WV, Mr. Willey was a graduate of Pine Grove High School in Pine Grove, WV, and proudly served his country in the US Navy during World War II. Following his honorable discharge from military service, he began his storied university football career with the "Thundering Herd" of Marshall University in Huntington, WV. In 2003, he was elected to the Marshall University Athletics Hall of Fame for his outstanding record in varsity football and basketball. He was also named to the West Virginia Sports Writers Hall of Fame and the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Hall of Fame.
Mr. Willey was preceded in death by his parents, Arlie Willey and Rozena Postlethwaite Willey, and by his siblings, Harold Willey, Wilbert Willey, Mildred Cain, and Virginia Ice. He is survived by his beloved companion of 40 years, June L. Lange; children, Kim Willey, Kyle Willey Gorman and her husband, Albert, and Scott E. Willey; and grandchildren, Aaron Gorman, Ryan Gorman, and Josh Willey.
Visitation will be held from 6 pm to 8 pm on Tuesday, August 23, 2011, at the Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home, 1000 N. DuPont Parkway, New Castle, DE. The funeral service and interment will be held privately.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Mr. Willey may be made to the Delaware Humane Association, 701 A Street, Wilmington, DE 19801; or to the Pennsville Educational Foundation, P.O. Box 406, Pennsville, NJ 08070.
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Published in The News Journal from Aug. 21 to Aug. 22, 2011