Equipment manager dies

Brice Burge

John Tessaro died unexpectedly of natural causes on Saturday morning, Nov. 6.  Tessaro, 73, was Northern Michigan University Athletics Department Equipment manager since 1981.

“John touched a lot of people over 25 years and football was very special to him,” said Northern Michigan University’s head football coach Bernie Anderson. “He will be dearly missed.”

Tessaro was a veteran of the United States Air Force and served two tours of duty in Vietnam. After 26 years of service, he retired in 1981 as a Master Sergeant. He then became the equipment supervisor for NMU athletics.

“He was a great guy,” said Hans Andel, who worked underneath Tessaro with the equipment duties. “It’s hard to describe him. To some he was a mean old guy, but the people who knew him realized how caring he actually was.”

The game against Saginaw Valley was supposed to be his home game before retiring at the end of the season. Tessaro was to be recognized with the senior players in pre-game ceremonies, but was left out to notify the family.

“We were notified around 9:30 a.m. (of his death) and we had a team meeting around 11,” Anderson said. “By that time, it had kind of spread through the locker room and at the team meeting we addressed it and had a moment of prayer for him. It made it a little tough to have the good bubbly spirit before the game, but I really felt the team settled down to play a pretty serious game.”

Tessaro is survived by his wife, Jill, his four children, three step-children, three grandchildren, five step-grandchildren, two great grandchildren and two step-great grandchildren. Services will be held today at 11 a.m. in St. Peter’s Cathedral in Marquette.