The passing this week of Anthony “Chubby” Tiro truly marks the end of an era in many respects for long-time Chelsea residents.
It is fair to say that there was no one who had a greater love and dedication for Chelsea and its people than Chubby Tiro throughout his entire life.
From his days as a star football player and track athlete at Chelsea High, as a founder of the Chelsea Pop Warner program, as a Chelsea High football coach, and as a long-time School Committee member, Chubby’s life revolved around his hometown city and his family.
Chubby Tiro always was there to help and touched the lives of a countless number of people in our community. For residents of Chelsea of the era and generations of the 1950s through 1990s, the Tiro “family” essentially was one big, extended family that embraced the entire city.
As we fondly recall Chubby’s life, there is one story that we would like to pass along that in many ways epitomizes a man who was direct and straightforward, but who also liked to have fun:
Chubby was at Voke Park one evening (this was around 1977), watching a Pony League game in late spring, and was dressed in long dress pants, dress shoes, and a button down shirt. One of our reporters was there — Josh Resnek — who had been out for a run and was dressed appropriately in running shorts, T-shirt, and running shoes.
Josh was talking about all the running he was doing and about what great shape he was in, etc., and Chubby overheard the conversation. “You know, I bet I could beat you in a sprint,” Chubby said to Josh (who was about 15 years younger and 60 pounds lighter than Chubby). Josh laughed it off in a dismissive, “Yeah right,” kind of way and suggested that they get together some time for their big race.
“Oh, you think you’re in such great shape and so fast, Josh?” Chubby continued. “Let’s do it right now! From here to there,” Chubby said, pointing from the first base line to a spot on the edge of the outfield grass in the direction of Ippy’s Amoco. (This was before the Voke Park baseball diamond was reversed). It was a distance of about 50 yards.
As Josh was laughing at the seeming absurdity of Chubby’s challenge, and before he could even finish pointing out that Chubby was not in any semblance of running attire, Chubby already had kicked off his shoes and socks and rolled up his pant legs.
“I’ll run in bare feet,” Chubby declared.
By that time a small crowd had gathered and everyone on hand was betting on who would win.
The race went off — and Chubby (who probably had not run in years), easily won by 10 yards — it was not close — without breaking a sweat.
“Guess you aren’t so fast, huh Josh?” Chubby said with a hint of both sarcasm and humor.
Chubby Tiro will be missed by all who knew and loved him. We know we join with the entire Chelsea community in offering our condolences to his children, Robbie, Robin, and Tony Jr., and the entire Tiro family.
May he rest in peace.