Joe Angelo, one of the top officials in the Harrisburg chapter of PIAA wrestling officials, passed away Wednesday after a tough battle with ALS. He was 62.

The obituary from pennlive.com is here.

Joe was a good man and a good official. I can’t honestly say he was the best official I saw in my days as a reporter at The Patriot-News, but I can say this: He executed one of the best-officiated matches I have ever seen on a big stage.

Joe was the official for a huge match between Susquenita and Cumberland Valley (1992, I think?) when both schools were ranked in the state’s top ten, and legitimately so.

It was an incredible atmosphere at the CV Dome that night: Packed house, high emotion and, it turned out, a match that equaled the hype. It was one of the great matches and moments in Harrisburg-area wrestling history.

And it reached that level in large measure because of Joe’s call that night. In a match where every out-of-bounds call, every near-miss takedown, every tilt was destined to be greeted with immense scrutiny and the attendant howling, Joe did a superb job, one of the best I’d ever seen. He even had to make a critical stalling disqualification call late in the match, and did so impeccably. The Cumberland Valley wrestler trying to avoid six points was stalling like crazy; fans on both sides knew it. Joe knew it. But he gave the wrestler every opportunity to engage and when at last the wrestler refused to do so, he whistled the end to match with, as i recall, less than 30 seconds left.

Normally, this would result in a torrent of boos from the offended fans, but the CV fans, to their credit, weren’t offended. They knew Joe had made the right call, just as he had all night long. But let’s be honest. Had Joe not performed well that night, he’d have been savaged after that decision.

In fact, Joe left the Dome that night to precious little criticism, ultimate affirmation of the excellent job he did in a high-pressure situation.

We have missed Joe since he stepped away from officiating and we are saddened by his passing. We extend our condolences to Joe’s family and his extended family of wrestling officials.

  One Response to “Sad: PIAA wrestling official Joe Angelo passes away at 62”

  1. RIP Joe. I hope to join you there someday friend.

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