Ed Tomlin, a longtime civil rights activist and former president of the Marion County NAACP, died suddenly on Monday. He was 63.
Tomlin, a native of Ocala, suffered an apparent heart attack after he returned home from a day of fishing, according to his family. He was the father of Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.
Tomlin took the reins of the local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 2003 and helped shepherd the organization back to stability after several years of leadership changes and a dwindling membership.
“He added a lot to the NAACP. He was a leader and had the ability to draw people to him. He worked well with a broad category of people across race lines. He was a very thoughtful person and had a great knowledge of the community history and civil rights history,” said Whitfield Jenkins, another local NAACP past president, who worked with Tomlin.
Tomlin played football at the former Howard High School in Ocala, where he graduated in 1964. He attended Hampton Institute, now Hampton University, in Hampton, Va., and was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in 1968. That year, he played eight games with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.
For more information on Ed Tomlin, visit Ocala.com.