Frank Thomas McClelland, 91, of Fenwick Island, Delaware, and formerly of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, quietly passed away on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019.
Tom was born Feb. 25, 1928, in Steubenville, Ohio. The son of the late Frank J. (Butch) and Nelle C. Jones McClelland, he was raised in Weirton, West Virginia.
He developed a love of sports at a young age, following proudly in his father’s footsteps. He attended Weirton High School where he played football alongside NFL hall of famer, Bob Gain, and under the leadership of the NFL Hall of Famer Clark Hinkle. He had great success in both football and basketball, participating in state tournaments with his teams.
Upon graduation, he briefly worked alongside his father at Weirton Steel Mill before enlisting in the Marines in 1946. While in Parris Island, South Carolina, he found a place for his father’s amateur basement boxing sessions, finding success as a Marine boxing champion.
Tom was assigned to duty in Washington, D.C., where he (proudly) stood guard for President Truman. Recognized again for his athleticism, he was asked to join the Marine basketball team, traveling around the country playing in amateur events.
While stationed at Eighth and I Streets, he met the love of his life, Billie Eyer, at a swimming pool. They were married Jan. 24, 1948.
He left the Marines shortly after to start a family. He returned to Weirton, working once again at Weirton Steel in the strip steel department. Capitalizing on the athletic talent of their newest employee, Tom once again found his place on the WIU Semi-Pro football and basketball teams.
In 1949, he moved his family to his wife’s hometown of Orrstown, Pennsylvania. He enrolled in Shippensburg State Teachers College, working toward a degree in Education. It wasn’t long before the college coaches learned of his athletic talents. He joined the football and basketball teams where he was a Varsity starter for four years. He played tight end and shooting guard for both Red Raider teams. He became the first basketball player in Red Raider history to break 1,000 career points in a single season, as well as setting a new record for most points (46) scored in a single game. He was elected as an All Pennsylvania State Athlete during his career in both sports.
After receiving his teaching degree, he was hired as a fourth grade teacher at Bedford North Elementary School, where he taught for two years.
Tom and Billie built a home and life in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, where he accepted a position teaching History and U.S. Cultures at Shippensburg Area Senior High School. Coach McClelland led the Greyhounds as the head basketball and head football coach for a number of years before settling on coaching one sport, football. Coach Mac led his team through countless winning seasons. Known for his tough, but fair leadership, he influenced many young athletes. Over the years, many reached out to thank him for the impact he had on their lives. He was humbled by these gestures. He retired from coaching football in 1982, with 99 wins and later from teaching in 1985. He was twice chosen Coach of the Year during his tenure as head coach.
In 1991, he was inducted into the Shippensburg University Hall of Fame for both football and basketball. In 2011, Coach McClelland was inducted into Shippensburg Area Senior High School Hall of Fame in recognition of his years as a coach.
In retirement, Tom signed in at “the Hub City Club” each morning for a game of cards. He spent afternoons on the golf course and weekends at the horse races with his wife (much to her delight). He and his wife vacationed several winter months each year in Florida. Summers were spent in their small Fenwick Island home, where Tom enjoyed taking his friends fishing on his boat.
In 2014, Tom and Billie moved to Delaware to live with their grandson, Tom Sites (his wife, Donna, and their four children). Tom and Billie enjoyed watching their great-grandchildren on the ball fields, sitting on the porch in the evenings and dinners out with family and friends in Fenwick Island and Ocean City.
Over the years, he has had his share of triumphs and defeats, but his greatest loss was felt this past spring, losing his wife, Billie of 71 years.
Tom is survived by his daughter, Deborah (Rodney) Miller of Lewes, Delaware; one grandson, Tom (Donna) of Fenwick Island, Delaware; three granddaughters, Michele Reed of Harbeson, Delaware, Tara (Matt) Strong of Long Neck, Delaware, and Natalie (Jack) Lyons of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania; 13 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-granddaughter.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Wilma Lee Eyer McClelland, and his sister, Paula K. McClelland.
A viewing will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, 2019, in the Fogelsanger-Bricker Funeral Home & Crematorium, Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. Tom’s funeral service will then start at 3:00 p.m., with the Rev. Harold E. Yeager officiating. Interment will be held Saturday October 26th, 2019 at 9 am in the Spring Hill Cemetery.
Online condolences may be expressed at: www.fogelsanger-brickerfuneralhome.com.