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A. JOSEPH CRIBRARI - FIRST CFA COMMISSIONER

B. 1931 - D. 2015



CFA COMMISSIONER (1972-2015)

"I have faced many challenges for over the last 42 years as CFA Commissioner.  There are things I wish I hadn't done, things I should have done, but indeed, there are many things I'm happy to have done. It's all in a lifetime." - Joe Cribari


A. Joseph Cribrari Biography
Born February 17, 1931 in Steelton, PA.  Attended St Ann's Steelton grade school.  Graduated from Steelton High School in 1949.  Attended Thompson Business School.  Married Shirley Cooper (Born November 29, 1931) January 19, 1952.  Worked in the Steelton Steel Works Plant as a Rigger.  Served in the United States Air Force in 1952.  After Honorable Discharge, worked as a Contract Negotiator for the Air Force, the Navy, and the Army.  Purchased Missile Propellant used for the "Moon Flight" for NASA, and Fuel for the SR-111 Blackbird.  Retired from the Federal Government (System Analyst - Army) in 1986.  Elected President of the CFA Football league in 1972.  Inducted in the CFA Football League Hall of Fame November 2006, and in the Capital Area Chapter PA Sports Hall of Fame April 2008.  Received an award from St. Catherine Laboure Parish for over 50 years of Volunteer Service.  Awarded the Prestigious 2013 Bob Craig Youth Services Award.  Commissioner of the CFA Football League for the last 42 years.  Designed and developed the CFA Football League Web Site:   http://www.football-cfa.org .  President of the Steelton Italian Club. 


In Memorium 
The words shared at Joe's funeral. In Memory of my friend and founder of the CFA Football League "A. Joseph Cribari- Dave Bickel (long time CFA Asst. Commissioner)

The CFA Football League was formed in 1972 out of the former CYO Football League that ran from 1946 to 1972. Joe Cribari was elected Commissioner of the new league in 1972 and served as such until his recent passing. Joe had seen his football league grow from the beginning 9 parish team league with a one game Super Bowl to the current level of 32 Associations from the Pennsylvania Mid-State area with 9 Super Bowl games played at the end of the season and 128 Football teams and 128 Cheerleading squads in total. Throughout Joe’s career as commissioner of the league he has been the leader of hundreds of Coaches each season and well over tens of thousands of players. In many ways A. Joseph Cribari has been and will always be the face of the CFA Football League. I met Joe when I first became a coach in the league in 1994. If you asked me one word to describe him back then I would have said stubborn. If you ask me to name one to describe him after knowing him for over 20 years… that word would be still stubborn. But if you asked me or anyone that really got to know him over the years for a few more words that describe him I would say loyal, loving, caring, thoughtful, leader, dedicated, smart, intelligent and well… stubborn. His stubbornness was truly born out of his other traits. To Joe the best way to get things done was to do it yourself… and if that wouldn’t work then call everybody that you know and pretend to be overwhelmed by the task saying no one helps you and then when they offer to assist, he would simple say I got this, I just wanted to see if you were ok and what you were up to. Then he would stubbornly refuse your help as such and get the task at hand done himself. I will miss my yearly visits to his house to see him and his beautiful wife Shirley about this time of the year. Joe called me his green grocer when I would show up at his house with a huge basket of Zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers and jars of homemade spaghetti sauce. He would be like a kid in a candy store, talking excitedly about what all he planned to do with the veggies and different ways to cook them. I would just look over at Shirley and we would both roll our eyes deep up into our heads and laugh… we both knew “WHO” was going to be doing the cooking of these treats. We would laugh together and then Joe would say in his old Joe way and soft voice.. “what”?? and then go on and on about how he could cook them up, but how Shirley makes the best zucchini you ever had. He knew how to treat his lady for sure… I will miss him calling me up to tell me how he and Shirley enjoyed the sauce I gave them and having him question my family’s origins once again… cause to hear him, no one makes sauce like Italian’s do and this is the best and blah blah blah and there’s no way you can’t have “some” kind of Italian in your blood. And of course the always asked question from him... are you sure you’re NOT Catholic? Well Joe, today you are right, today we are all Italian’s and Catholics and we will miss you… I will miss coming to visit with you, seeing you huddled up over your computer in the dining room trying to show me how things are messed up, me looking over at Shirley with her book in hand, her whispering towards me: “That Man is driving me nuts”…. !!! We will miss you in your Eagles Jacket on the sidelines of football games, your relentless email bombardments complaining about rosters not being right and that no one answers them anyways. We will miss seeing you at the Italian Club, at the Rollers games or those nice Travel Club trips that you organized for many of your older friends. And yes, we will even miss your stubbornness and especially your special way of getting the job done. Your leadership to the youth of this area over the many years is unequaled and in many ways will never be duplicated. Who in their right mind would spend almost half a century having their phone ring off the hook day in and day out with parents, coaches and of course other commissioner’s calling to bother you? Or the hundreds of calls in the middle of night to give you game scores or to tell you that you made a mistake about the caller’s team that only lost 48-7 and not 48-6 as you have it down. Extra points do matter if you’re the kicker’s mom you know… To Shirley and your wonderful children and grandchildren we thank you for sharing your husband, father and grandfather with us for all these years. The time that he spent leading the league he started could have been wisely spent with each of you. But I also know he always found a way to have his time with his family and make it work out eventually. You can leave here knowing that he was loved and cared for by many people and your father leaves us having made us each a better person for knowing him. I close today with a couple of quotes from one of my favorite movies: I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice. Still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they're gone. I guess I just miss my friend. I find I'm so excited that I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it's the excitement only a free man can feel. A free man at a start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope. And I hope to be with you sometime again my friend… David A Bickel

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