Guido "Dippy" Carosi, 80, a retired GE employee who spent more than 60 years playing and officiating on local basketball courts, died of complications from Alzheimer's disease Monday, June 7, at home in Upper Darby.
Mr. Carosi grew up in West Philadelphia. Standing only 5 feet, 8 inches tall, he was a star point guard at Overbrook High School. He dropped out of school after 11th grade "because I just lost interest," he later told a reporter.
In the Marine Corps, he played on the Marine basketball team at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
After his discharge, he worked days in General Electric's shipping and receiving department and played basketball on nights and weekends for independent leagues. Sometimes he played with another Overbrook High School basketball player, Wilt Chamberlain, who went on to a Hall of Fame career in the NBA. "The Big Dipper," as Chamberlain was nicknamed, and Dippy Carosi became good friends.
For two seasons, 1969-70 and 1970-71, Mr. Carosi refereed games for the American Basketball Association. He had to give up the ABA games, his son, Anthony, said, because they interfered with his day job and he had a family to support. Mr. Carosi coached Police Athletic League basketball teams for many years and was inducted into the PAL Hall of Fame in 1976.
After retiring from GE at 65, he continued to play basketball at Narberth Playground until he was 70. He then became the unofficial organizer - splitting up teams and rotating players - for the popular Saturday-morning half-court games.
Mr. Carosi and his wife, Marylou Ruffo Carosi, married in 1954 and raised four children in West Philadelphia. They met in a local luncheonette when he was on leave from the Marine Corps. She was with a group of friends and he told her she was the prettiest, their son said.
Though Mr. Carosi earned the nickname "Dippy" when a neighborhood bully called him "a dippy creep," it became a term of endearment. "He would do crazy things to live up to his name," his son said. Mr. Carosi once told a reporter, "If someone calls and asks for Guido, I know it's a bill collector."
In addition to his wife and son, Mr. Carosi is survived by daughters Phyllis McCarrick and Michele Herbst; seven grandchildren; and one great-grandson. A son, Frank, died in 2003.
Friends may call from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, June 10, and from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. Friday, June 11, followed by the funeral at 11 a.m., at D'Anjolell Memorial Home, 2811 West Chester Pike, Broomall. Burial will be in SS. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Marple Township.