The Edmond Sun

April 18, 2014

Family, friends remember beloved ‘T-shirt man’

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — If you have lived in the Oklahoma City metro area during the past 40 years, chances are you’ve worn one of Tony Newcomb’s T-shirts.

This week, family members and friends have been remembering the “T-shirt man” who died April 15 after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 72.

Newcomb’s services were under the direction of Smith & Kernke. A graveside service was Friday at Memorial Park Cemetery, 13400 N. Kelley Ave. A memorial service was in Oklahoma City at Mayflower Congregational Church.

Sammy Wolohon, Newcomb’s sister, said she would use words like “bigger than life,” “creative genius” and “loved by all” to describe her brother. She said he was also a bit of a comedian. When family members were telling Tony stories in preparation for his service, laughter was abundant,” Wolohon said.

“Everybody was laughing out loud because everything he did was hilarious,” she said.

Tony Newcomb Sportswear, currently headquartered in Edmond, is being run by his brother Frank Newcomb. In 1973, Tony began the business in his garage. Today, it is a state-of-the-art screen printing service producing items such as T-shirts, promotional items, hats, mugs and banners.

Wolohon said examples of her brother’s generosity include: Donating 200 T-shirts to the Sunset Elementary carnival fundraiser; donating “Awesome when Wet!” swim caps with the Bulldog logo and T-shirts to the Edmond Memorial High School swim team; donating T-shirts for Theater Tulsa productions; donating T-shirts for numerous University of Central Oklahoma music theater productions; and sponsoring a rare animal at the Oklahoma City Zoo.

“A never ending variety of organizations benefited from his generosity and talents,” Wolohon said. “His designs were sought after, and everyone always wanted his shirts with the Tony Newcomb logo signature as a sign of top quality.”

Newcomb also was involved in many societies and clubs including Kappa Alpha Order, the Masons and the Shriners, the Elks Lodge, the OKC Ski Club and the OKC Corvette Club. For 31 years, friends and even strangers enjoyed an evening of music and fun at Tony Newcomb’s Annual Chili Cook-off and T-shirt Party at the Elks Lodge in Oklahoma City. | 341-2121, ext. 108