Phil Tinsley


At Berlin High School Phil Tinsley was a three letter man, who graduated in 1949. He had speed, grace, and quick reflexes, and while he was only 5’9”, he had amazing spring in his legs which enabled him to take basketball rebounds that many taller opponents expected to gather themselves.

Tinsley was also class president and played in the school band. During the football season, at halftime he switched roles and played in the band. He was also co-captain of the football team and captain of the baseball team. He was considered one of the finest all around athletes ever to graduate from Berlin High School.

Tinsley felt he couldn’t go to college because of a lack of financial resources, but former principal Kenneth MacKensie had different ideas. He knew Tinsley had the intellectual capacity to make the grade in college so he had him register for college courses. Tinsley felt he needed to go to work to help support his family but between his father and MacKensie they told him that even though the family had no money they would find a way, and a way was found. He was given the Lions Scholarship which at the time was $250. He also received some athletic aid at school. During summers he worked on the town road crew to earn additional money for college. Quite a few members of the Lions pitched in individually, preferring to keep their aid quiet.

Tinsley had to struggle but he made it. While at UConn he played varsity football and baseball. He was cited by the Alumni Club as the outstanding senior athlete in 1954, receiving the Gladstone Award at a dinner held in his honor. He set records in football at UConn that stood for many years.

Upon his graduation in 1954 he received his commission in the Army through the ROTC program at UConn. He became a career Army man attaining the rank of Major and receiving two commendation medals for meritorious service as a logistics officer. In 1966 he continued his studies at the Army Staff College at Ft Leavenworth, Kansas. Tinsley passed away in March of 2005.

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