Jim Weade, a halfback for the Washington Redskins before World War II and later an assistant football coach at the University of Maryland, died Sunday at Peachtree City, Ga., following a heart attack.
Mr. Meade, 62, left the Redskins early in 1941 to enter the Army. He reputedly was the first professional football player in the nation to be drafted into military service at the onset of World War II.
Born in Philadephia and reared in the small Maryland town of Port Deposit, James Gordon Meade was partly named for a great-grandchildren, Gen. George Gordon Meade, the Union commander at Gettysburg in the Civil War for whom Ft. Meade, Md, is named.
Tall and muscular - Mr. Meade weighed 195 pounds on graduation fromt the University of Maryland in 1939 - Mr. Meade won 13 letters in four sports: football, basketball, larosse and baseball.
He was an All-American lacrosse player for four years, and a place on an All-Southern team.
In 1939, he became the first Maryland player to be signed by any National Football League team when he joined the Redskins. He played half-back for two seasons and expected to continue when he was drafted into the Army. He served 2 1/2 years as a paratrooper captain in the South Pacific.
After the war, he bacame an assistant to Jim Tatum, Maryland's football coach.
The contrast between the tart-tongued Tatum and his soft-spoken assistant could not have been more pronounced. Mr. Meade often was called upon to salve verbal bruises inflicted on players by Tatum.
Mr. Meade's trademark was a clean white athelic towel, constantly worn beneath his collar in the fashion of a scarf.
In 1949, Mr. Meade left Maryland to become backfield coach at Furman University in Greenville, S.C. He left there in the mid-1950s after serving as head coach and athletic director.
Aftera time as salesman for the Vulcan Pipe Co., he formed his own firm, the Meade Pipe Co., in Harve de Grace, Md. He retired in 1972, and moved to Georgia.
Survivors include his wife, Judy, and two stepsons, Charles O. and Robert I. Garrard, all of Peachtree City; two sisters, Anne Killingsworth and Helen Morrison, both of St. Petersburg, Fla., and three grandchildren.