Ralph "Rass" Felton played nine years of professional football. But those closest to him will remember Mr. Felton as a man of faith and family.
"A lot of people know him for his athletic achievements," son Terry Felton said, "but I just know him as the greatest dad."
Mr. Felton died Saturday in his home in Midway. He was 78.
A Midway High School graduate, Mr. Felton spent his later years as owner of Felton Grocery in Midway and a PennDOT employee in Washington County. He also spent time as a Sunday school teacher at Center United Presbyterian Church in Midway.
"You could know my father for months and months and months and never know he played professional football," Terry Felton said. But Mr. Felton had a distinguished playing career.
He was a member of the 1953 University of Maryland national championship team, where he played running back, linebacker and kicker. He anchored a Terrapins defense that allowed an average of 3.5 points per game and finished with a 10-1 record.
A broken ankle suffered during the 1954 Senior Bowl forced Mr. Felton to focus his professional days on defense.
He played seven seasons in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins, from 1954 through 1960, and for the Buffalo Bills of the American Football League in 1961 and 1962. He had seven career interceptions and seven career fumble recoveries. Though he played most of his career on defense, he displayed some offense in his rookie season, kicking one field goal and 16 extra points.
After the end of his playing career, Mr. Felton stayed with the Bills as a scout and assistant coach. But he abruptly resigned a few years later when he woke up one Sunday morning and could not get his mind off his wife, Carole Felton, and his kids at Sunday school.
"That's a testament to his commitment to the family," Terry Felton said.
In addition to his wife and son, Mr. Felton is survived by another son, Dwain Felton; a daughter, Cindy Zalasnik; and three grandchildren. Services were held on Tuesday. The family requests memorial contributions to the church, 110 Washington Ave., Midway, PA 15060.
Michael Sanserino: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1722.