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Tangora, Paul A., 1909-1987



  • Existence: 1909 - 1987

Paul Albert Tangora was born June 26, 1909, in Washington D.C., the son of Italian immigrants, Frank M. (Mike) Tangora, a stone contractor, and Maria Raffaela D’Amore Tangora. Tangora was the youngest of seven children, having two older brothers and four older sisters. Tangora attended Washington’s Devitt Preparatory School in Washington, where he was active in extracurricular affairs and an outstanding tackle on the school’s football team.

Tangora matriculated to Northwestern University in September, 1931, where he began his celebrated football career, excelling on and elected captain of Northwestern’s freshman team. He was a stalwart lineman, a guard, on the Northwestern varsity teams of 1933 and 1934, under coach Dick Hanley, and also of 1935, under coach Lynn Waldorf. Tangora was named All-American in 1935, receiving national acclaim after a particularly impressive performance against Notre Dame. The 1935 matchup between Northwestern and Notre Dame was the first win the Wildcats had over the Fighting Irish in thirty-four years. Much of the credit for this victory was attributed to Tangora’s key defensive stops and a late game fumble recovery that set up Northwestern’s winning touchdown. Tangora’s outstanding play for Northwestern led to his placement on two College All-Star football teams of 1936. The first of those teams fought the National Football League champion Detroit Lions to a 7 – 7 tie at Chicago’s Soldier Field on September 1, 1936. The second team lost a September 9, 1936 game, 12 – 2, to the NFL’s New York Giants and played at New York’s Polo Grounds. Tangora figured prominently in the action through which the collegians scored their points against the Giants. While at Northwestern, Tangora was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. Initially pursuing studies relating to art, Tangora developed interests relating to public safety. He took a Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern in 1937.

In 1936, Tangora, picked by the Boston Redskins, was the 29th player selected in the inaugural National Football League draft. He chose another career, however, taking up employment in Springfield, Illinois, as an oil distributor for Texaco and later, in Champaign, Illinois, with Sinclair Oil Company. Tangora served in the United States Navy during World War II. His interest in public policy was rewarded later with a seat on the Champaign city council and appointment, in 1955, as Champaign’s Safety Commissioner. Tangora married Arlene Thinnes. He died on June 11, 1987, in Champaign, Illinois.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Paul A. Tangora (1909-1987) Collection

Identifier: 31/6/158
Abstract This collection includes the 1936 College All-Star Team uniform worn by Northwestern University football star Paul A. Tangora (1909-1987).
Dates: 1936