The Obit For Tony Veteri

Ex-NFL ref Anthony Veteri Sr. dies; Mount Vernon resident worked 4 Super Bowls

Lifelong Mount Vernon resident 'amazing man'

Written by Mike Dougherty
March 7, 2012

Anthony P. Veteri Sr., a longtime NFL official who spent his life in Mount Vernon, died at home Monday following a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 88.

The former head linesman spent 23 seasons on the field, working four Super Bowls. He also worked in the NFL office for eight years under the league’s supervisor of officials.

Veteri won 11 varsity letters at the former Edison Tech and was recruited to play football at the University of Kentucky by Bear Bryant. A letter from the legendary coach was a favorite conversation piece.

Veteri also played minor-league baseball in the New York Giants system and served in the Navy during World War II.

He played football on a base team while at the Atlantic City Naval Air Station, and in 1944 against Princeton, set a record for a 100-yard punt. Veteri was named a weekly winner of the Robert Maxwell Award that season.

He is a member of the Mount Vernon High School Hall of Fame and the Westchester County Sports Hall of Fame.

Veteri is survived by his wife of 65 years, Rosie, along with a son, Tony Veteri Jr., and daughter, Carolyn Facendo. He also leaves three grandchildren.

“My dad always said if Mount Vernon had a cemetery he would never have to leave,” said Tony Jr., a former Mount Vernon High School athletic director who just completed his 20th season as an NFL head linesman.

Over the years, Veteri connected with countless members of the Mount Vernon community.

He served on the recreation and school boards. He was a tireless volunteer on many fronts and was happy to serve any cause that benefited children.

“He was a caring, amazing, compassionate man,” said Bob Cimmino, the current Mount Vernon athletic director and varsity boys basketball coach.

“Whenever you shook hands with him, you had his full attention. He was one of the most genuine people you ever got a chance to meet. There was a passion for athletics in the family, and they stayed involved. And it was fun to be around the NFL connection. You felt like you were getting some inside information.”

Since he never went to college, it was a priority to make certain Tony Jr. and Carolyn got degrees, and both went into teaching.

When his son became an NFL official, Veteri retired from a supervisory position to make certain there was no conflict of interest.

He went to work for the Jets under then-coach Bruce Coslet, throwing flags during practice into his 80s.

“There was a point where the Jets were the least-penalized team in the league,” Tony Jr. said. “Knowing my dad, it was because he taught everybody how to hold without getting caught.”

He was also known to be very competitive, even with the aggressive cancer.

“If there was any time left on the clock, he still believed he was going to win,” Tony Jr. said. “He was one of those guys who never showed an opponent weakness. You’d ask how he was, and the answer was always, ‘Don’t worry. In a couple weeks I’ll be feeling better.’ He made it easy on us. He never let us know.”

Visitation will be 7-9 p.m. today and 4-9 p.m. Thursday at the Yannantuono Burr Davis Sharpe Funeral Home at 584 Gramatan Ave. in Mount Vernon.