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Remembering Harry Tzivani, Syracuse's Superfan in Orange

Harry Tzivani (File Photo)

After battling several illnesses that took him away from his beloved place near the visitor's bench at the Carrier Dome, Harry Tzivani died at home Saturday at the age of 92.

Born in Endicott, outside Binghamton, he took up with the Syracuse Basketball team in 1947.

"He was an usher because not only could he get in to see the games, but they paid him $5," said his daughter Deborah Tzivani Politis.

No matter how many people packed the Carrier Dome for a game, Tzivani was among the most recognizable people in the building because of his bright orange blazer, which was originally produced for athletes.

Illness had taken Tzivani away from the Dome recently, but on his 90th birthday he visited a Syracuse basketball practice.

"He had to be there so Coach Jim Boeheim could wish him a happy birthday," his daughter said. Over the past several years Harry has battled pneumonia, bone marrow cancer and colon cancer.

Harry started with SU after serving in World War II. He received the Bronze Star after he was injured in Saigon. Since then, he has provided help and guidance to countless SU athletes, coaches and fans.

Tzivani adopted the basketball team, and in turn, the team sort of adopted him.

"He would always be bringing them baklava and stuff and we would say to him 'please don't be a bother to them,' but he would say they loved it and they needed him," his grand-daughter, Anastacia Politis Aragon, said.

In 2014, Harry's absence from games had been noticed by fans and he told CNYCentral he had his orange blazer ready to go for when he felt up to returning to the Dome.

"It's been phenomenal to be that long with a program this long," Harry said at the time.

"His heart was his church and SU athletics, and of course, his family," Tzivani Politis said.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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