FAIRHOPE, Ala. — Dr. Tom P. Katsimpalis, 91, Fairhope, Ala. left his loving family on August 24, 2020.
Born to Peter and Helen Katsimpalis, in Gary, Ind., TomKat, as he was affectionately known, touched the lives of many. A natural athlete, his basketball prowess led him to Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, where he met the love of his life, Jeanette “Sug” Morford, of Windsor, Ill., and their love story began. The EIU homecoming queen and basketball star shared 68 years of a loving marriage.
At EIU, TomKat became a basketball star. He held the record for most points in a season, most points in a single game, was a three-time All-Intercollegiate Athletic Conference selection, was an NAIA All-American, and selected to West Squad, in the Kansas City All-Star Game.
In 1997, the pride of his Greek community, TomKat was inducted into the Helenic Athlete Hall of Fame. Still No. 7 on EIU’s basketball career scoring list with 1,538 points from 1949-52, he was one of 10 players chosen for the school’s All-Century Team in 2010.
After college, TomKat joined the New York Knickerbockers, but with a new baby and wife back home, he chose to return to his family.
If he wasn’t playing basketball, TomKat chose to coach it. His early career included teaching and coaching young men at Altamont and Clinton, Ill., where he produced a number of strong ball clubs. He eventually completed his PhD at University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, and returned to his alma mater, EIU, as Assistant Athletic Director, Athletic Director and professor. He retired to Lake Sara, Effingham, in 1986, and enjoyed his days fishing and golfing.
Many called TomKat a legend both on the court and off. He was loved and known by everyone who knew him to be a humble, classic gentleman who was a role model for his two sons and the thousands of young men he taught, coached, and inspired. He was a dedicated husband, nurturing father, and loving grandfather.
He is survived by his wife, Sug; sons Tom Katsimpalis (Melissa), Fort Collins, Colo., and Chris Katsimpalis (Lorrie), Fairhope, Ala.; three grandchildren Kory Katsimpalis (Emily), Woodland Park, Colo.; Alexandra Garrett (Willis) and Tasha Catlin (Daniel) both of Fairhope, Ala.; and three great-grandsons Leon, James and Christopher.
Condolences may be sent to the family at P.O. Box 2265, Fairhope, AL 36533. Memorials may be made to pet rescue The Haven, P.O. Box 1063, Fairhope, AL 36533.