Thomas Edwin Oliver was born in Pensacola in 1909 and moved to Panama City in the 1920’s, attending the then, Bay County High School.
A promising athlete from the start, he excelled in football, basketball, baseball, swimming, and more. Upon high school graduation he went to the University of Florida then Catholic University in Washington D.C. where he broke athletic records. He hattered the world recognized collegiate punt record of a kick of 84 yards in the air and a total length of over 100 yards.
His granddaughter, Colleen Morrill says he played professional football for several seasons, and at one point played for the Redskins. After his years of professional football him and his family moved back to Panama City where he was a coach and teacher at Bay High School.
Then World War Two happened and he joined the marines. He was in Okinawa when he was shot by a sniper.
“He received the purple heart for his injuries from his death on June 5th, 1945,” said Oliver’s granddaughter Colleen Morrill.
“He would stand up for people he liked. Instead of taking a position of authority he wanted to be down in the trenches with his people he liked,” said grandson Fred Wilson.
He was not only a war hero but someone who thought of others before himself.
“Grandma says he always wanted to help with the community,” said Morrill.
“He would be proud of this I’m sure,” said Wilson of the new Tommy Oliver Stadium.
“Just humbled and blown away,” added Morrill.