A prominent New Orleans sports figure is gone.
Elmo Adolph died in his sleep sometime Wednesday night or Thursday morning of an apparent heart attack. He was 78.
A native of Destrehan and a graduate of Warren Easton (1951) and Southeastern Louisiana (1956), Adolph achieved fame as a championship boxing referee on the international scene. He was also an accomplished high school football official for decades in the New Orleans area.
Adolph refereed his first boxing match in 1964 and worked for 42 years as the “third man in the ring.”
He initially served as an amateur referee, where his work included the 1988 Seoul (South Korea) Olympics. He transitioned into professional boxing in 1992, refereeing approximately 1,000 professional bouts, including 32 world championship matches.
Adolph refereed bouts involving some of biggest names in the sport, including Hector Camacho, Roberto Duran, Tommy Hearns, Marvin Hagler, Larry Holmes, Roy Jones Jr., “Sugar” Ray Leonard, Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson.
According to Boxrec.com, Adolph is the only man to officiate a professional world championship bout and an Olympic gold medal boxing match.
Adolph was an long-time, active member of the Greater New Orleans Quarterback Club, a humble, gracious man who frequented prep, college and professional sporting events in the New Orleans area in recent years.
Adolph officiated Louisiana High School Athletic Association football games for nearly three decades, including several state championship games. Adolph also served as the game clock operator for the New Orleans Jazz in the 1970s.
Adolph is a member of the Greater New Orleans/Allstate Sugar Bowl Hall of Fame, the Louisiana American Italian Sports Hall of Fame, the Warren Easton High Hall of Fame, the Southern AAU Officials Hall of Fame and the USA Southern Boxing Hall of Fame.
Last summer, he received the Dave Dixon Leadership Award from the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
Adolph attended the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Awards Banquet last Saturday night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and he was pleasant, as always. He will be sorely missed at prep football games in press boxes throughout the New Orleans area.
Adolph is survived by Mary Jean, his wife of 56 years, along with their children children Vance, Vicki, Vince and Valette.
The funeral is set for Monday, August 13 at 2 p.m. at Lake Lawn Funeral Home, 5100 Pontchartrain Blvd. in New Orleans. Internment with follow in Lake Lawn Park. Visitation is set for Sunday evening, August 12 from 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m. and on Monday, August 13 from noon until 2 p.m.