The Obit For Tommy Cantrell

Tommy Cantrell
(1936 - 2012)

Published in Star-Telegram on August 7, 2012

Tommy Cantrell, 76, passed away Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012.

Funeral: 11 a.m. Wednesday at Mayfield Road Baptist Church.

Interment: Mount Olivet Cemetery.

Visitation: 10 a.m. Wednesday. Tommy will be available for viewing 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Arlington Funeral Home.

Tommy Cantrell was born June 10, 1936, in Fort Worth to J.M. "Bud" and Ethelda Cantrell. He was schooled in Fort Worth and graduated from North Side High School in 1954.

While at North Side, Tommy lettered in three sports two out of three years, football, basketball and baseball. He also boxed in State Golden Gloves. He received a football scholarship to Texas A&M and played for the legendary great Paul "Bear" Bryant his freshman year. He also played freshman baseball at Texas A&M his freshman year, 1954 to 1955.

In 1956 he signed a contract to play professional baseball for the Baltimore Orioles. In off-season he continued his education.

After five years of minor league baseball, he decided to work full time toward getting his B.S. degree from TCU. He received his B.S. degree in 1962 and completed his master's in 1969. After graduating from TCU he began what would be a 33-year career coaching and teaching in high school. He went to Trimble Tech High School in Fort Worth as a world history teacher and coached B-team basketball, assistant football and baseball for one year. In his second year he was an assistant football coach and head baseball coach.

In 1968 he went to newly opened O.D. Wyatt High School in Fort Worth as the first head baseball coach in the school's history. During that year he taught world history and was assistant football coach for longtime friend and high school teammate, head football coach Tommy Runnels.

The next year, 1969, he left Fort Worth to be assistant football and head baseball coach at Sam Houston High School for 26 years and was Coach of the Year nine times.

Tommy always said, "My priorities in order are God, my family and baseball." He truly loved coaching. He looked at every day as a new challenge. He wanted to teach young men what he had been so fortunate to learn during his playing years. After students graduated, there were many who stayed in touch with Tommy through out the years. A highlight in his years at Sam Houston was coaching his son, Clark. Clark was an All-District first baseman for two years, graduating in 1983.

Tommy retired in 1994 after 33 wonderful, rewarding years of teaching and coaching.

Following retirement, Tommy worked for the American Airlines flight attendant training academy. He enjoyed traveling and spending time with family and friends in his later years. He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Marian "Nena" Cantrell.

Survivors: Wife of 49 years 4 months, Sharon of Arlington; daughter, Shelley Cantrell of Hearne; son, Clark Cantrell of Dallas; and grandson, Chris Cantrell of Arlington.