Dick Jorgensen

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Dick Jorgensen
Born Richard M. Jorgensen
(1934-04-12)April 12, 1934
Neenah, Wisconsin, U.S.
Died October 10, 1990(1990-10-10) (aged 56)
Urbana, Illinois
Cause of death Rare blood disorder
Resting place Bailey Memorial Cemetery
Tolono, Illinois
Ethnicity Danish American
Alma mater University of Wisconsin, 1956
Neenah High School, 1952
Occupation Bank president,
NFL referee
Known for NFL referee, civic leader
Board member of United Way,
chamber of commerce,
country club
Religion Presbyterian
Spouse(s) Adlon Dohme Jorgensen
(m.1959–1990, his death)[1]
Children 3 daughters
Parent(s) Ole B. Jorgensen
Edith B. Small Jorgensen
Military career
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch Seal of the United States Department of the Navy.svg U.S. Navy
Years of service 1956–1958
Battles/wars Cold War

Richard M. "Dick" Jorgensen (April 12, 1934 – October 10, 1990) was an American football official in the National Football League (NFL) for 22 years, through the 1989 season, the last 19 years as a referee.[2]

Jorgensen's officiating career was highlighted by being selected to referee Super Bowl XXIV in January 1990. He was an alternate official for Super Bowl VIII in 1974 and Super Bowl XV in 1981.

Early years[edit]

Born and raised in Neenah, Wisconsin, southwest of Green Bay, Jorgensen was a three-sport athlete at Neenah High School, where he starred in football and tennis.[2] His primary sport was basketball, played under longtime head coach Ole Jorgensen (1904–1988), his father.[3] His mother Edith also worked at the school, as a physical education teacher. In Jorgensen's senior year in 1952, Neenah advanced to the state semifinals in basketball.[2] and he was selected for the all-state team.[4]

A 6-foot (1.83 m) shooting guard, Jorgensen played college basketball in the Big Ten Conference at the University of Wisconsin in Madison under hall of fame head coach Bud Foster.[4][5] He was captain of the Badgers his senior year in 1956,[6][7] graduated and served two years in the U.S. Navy,[8] and married Adlon Dohme in 1959.[1]

NFL official[edit]

After five seasons officiating high school and small college football,[9] Jorgensen began his NFL career in 1968 as a line judge. He was promoted to referee three years later in 1971 when his crew chief from 1970, George Rennix, retired.

In the NFL, Jorgensen was assigned to 12 post-season games, including four conference championship games and Super Bowl XXIV.[9] On the field, Jorgensen wore uniform number 60 for the majority of his career (he wore number 6 from 197981, when officials were numbered separately by position).

Known for his poise as a referee in the 1970s and 1980s, one incident summarized his presence and is often replayed in highlights.[2] While approaching a fourth quarter scuffle during a nationally-televised Monday night game in November 1983, Jorgensen was inadvertently struck in the mouth by a reserve offensive lineman's flying elbow. The blow caused a cut which required a stitch, but the unflappable Jorgensen calmly proceeded, called a penalty and ejected the player.[2][10][11]

Bank president[edit]

Off the field, Jorgensen served as President of Marine Bank of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.[8] Active in the community as a civic leader, he was also president of the local chapter of the United Way, the chamber of commerce, and his country club.[2]


Ironically, Super Bowl XXIV in January 1990 was Jorgensen's final game as a game official;[9] that May, he was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder.[2][12] He died five months later at age 56 on October 10 in Urbana, Illinois.[8] For the remainder of the 1990 season, NFL officials wore a black armband on their left sleeve with the white number 60 to honor Jorgensen.[13]

At the time of his death, he was survived by his mother Edith (1905–1998), sister Jody, wife Adlon, three daughters, and a granddaughter.[2] Jorgensen was buried at Bailey Memorial Cemetery in Tolono.


  1. ^ a b "Richard Jorgensen, Adlon Dohme to wed". Appleton Post-Crescent. Wisconsin. April 4, 1959. p. 17. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "NFL referee Jorgensen was quietly impressive". Milwaukee Journal. October 11, 1990. p. C2. 
  3. ^ Letwin, Bill (March 20, 1952). "New stars to shine at state tourney". Milwaukee Journal. p. 9, part 2. 
  4. ^ a b "Wisconsin Badger basketball, 1954-55" (PDF). University of Wisconsin Athletics. 1954. pp. 2–9. 
  5. ^ "3 Badgers get Schreiner awards". Milwaukee Sentinel. May 29, 1955. p. 2B. 
  6. ^ "Badger five honors pair". Milwaukee Journal. March 6, 1956. p. 14, part 2. 
  7. ^ "Wisconsin Badgers basketball, 2012-13 record book: Captains" (PDF). University of Wisconsin Athletics. p. 171. 
  8. ^ a b c "NFL referee Jorgensen dies". UPI. (archives). October 10, 1990. Retrieved October 5, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b c "Veteran NFL official Jorgensen dies at 65 (56)". Milwaukee Sentinel. October 11, 1990. p. 2, part 2. 
  10. ^ "Lee embarrassed after hitting referee". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Florida. Associated Press. November 9, 1983. p. 14B. 
  11. ^ "A Lion faces fine for hitting referee". New York Times. November 9, 1983. Retrieved October 7, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Illness-shortened careers". Reading Eagle. Pennsylvania. November 12, 1991. p. D12. 
  13. ^ Brulia, Tim. "NFL game officials uniforms: 1990". Gridiron Uniform Database. Retrieved October 7, 2015. 

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