BOCA RATON, Fla. - A well-liked, well-known referee in Palm Beach County died Friday night while on the sidelines of the Wellington High School vs. Olympic Heights High School football game.
Jerry Lohmann, 73, is remembered as someone who many athletes in the community knew, after serving as an umpire and referee for football and baseball games for more than 30 years.
A game changer in Friday night's game caused the game to cancel before half time. Family says Lohmann suffered a heart attack, collapsing on the field.
"We saw him running, then just hold his chest and fall to the floor," said student Taylor Coccia.
Medics took him to the hospital, where he died.
Jerry Lohmann's son, Brian Lohmann, said sports are a big part of the Lohmann family. "It's just part of what we do."
Jerry was a Certified Public Accountant by trade, but his passion was in the game. "The fans would get on him, he might do their tax returns the day before, but if they didn't like the call, they were going let him know about it," Lohmann laughed.
Even at 73, Lohmann said he didn't see his dad slowing down. "He would pride himself in trying to keep up with that player."
Students and athletes watched as Jerry Lohmann was taken from the field. "It's hard, he was a referee for a lot of our games," said Coccia. "Everyone stood up and clapped as they took him off the field."
Coccia says students and members of the community are taking to social media to say their goodbyes to Lohmann and send condolences to his family.
Lohmann says the family was blind sided by the news, but they know this is how Jerry would have called his game. "He died doing what he loved. I mean, what a better way to go."
Lohmann says there will be a memorial service for Jerry on Wednesday night at Glades Day School in Belle Glade.