VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A former Virginia Beach Delegate has passed away.
Delegate Bob Tata served as District 85 Delegate, which represents parts of Virginia Beach.
Tata was an Army veteran and played football and baseball at the University of Virginia.
He went on to be an educator and coach at several high schools in the area, including the head football coach at Norview High School in Norfolk. He also served as an assistant coach at UVA.
After being elected in 1984, Tata went on to serve nearly 30 years in the House of Delegates before retiring in 2013.
House Republican leader, Todd Gilbert, released the following statement on his passing:
"The House Republican Caucus was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our former colleague, Del. Bob Tata.
"If someone wrote a biography of Coach Tata and tried to sell it as a fictional story, no one would buy it, because it's just too unbelievable. A child of Italian immigrants, he came to the Commonwealth as a student athlete at the University of Virginia. He was drafted by the Detroit Lions, but was cut in training camp. He served in the U.S. Army for two years.
"After he and Jeraldine 'Jerry' Morris were married, they moved to Norfolk where they both worked to educate Virginia's children. It was here that he became Coach Tata, and earned his reputation as one of the best high school football coaches in our state's history during his at time Norview High.
"His service in the House of Delegates was long and distinguished, and he made us all better public servants by his presence and example. While the time I spent with Bob in the House was short, I will always remember it fondly. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him, and our Commonwealth is lesser for his absence. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."
The current District 85 Delegate Alex Askew spoke to News 3 about Tata's passing.
"I'm saddened to hear of the passing of former District 85 Delegate Bob Tata. Delegate Tata served our community with fortitude and loyalty and will be remembered for putting his constituents above politics. My condolences and prayers are with his family," he stated.