Edward Wachowski, 70, co-founded sportswear business

Edward J. Wachowski, 70, of Conshohocken, who helped start a company that provided apparel for Philadelphia sports teams such as the Phillies, died Wednesday, Dec. 13, at Abington Hospital.

Mr. Wachowski had been in declining health in recent years, said Sydney Beckett, a longtime friend and business partner.

A fashionably attired and gregarious man in all his pursuits, Mr. Wachowski started Elite Sportswear Products in 1982 with Beckett and William Parker, Beckett said.

The company provided custom clothing for Philadelphia teams, including the “World Series Champions” shirts worn by the Phillies the night they clinched the 2008 title, Beckett said.

Mr. Wachowski was born in Conshohocken, and attended St. Philip Neri School and graduated from Plymouth Whitemarsh High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science and a master’s degree in business from Temple University.

Elite emerged from a prior venture, Emphasis, a T-shirt printing company.

During the late 1970s, soon-to-be supermodel Christie Brinkley wore some Emphasis shirts for Seventeen and Cosmopolitan magazines, Beckett said.

Mr. Wachowski enjoyed the company of others and exploring what the world had to offer.

“He loved the diversity in life, on Earth — people, religion, food. He loved learning about people. He was literally a people magnet,” Beckett said.

His business helped him acquire an impressive sports memorabilia collection, but one of his earliest prized possessions was the result of a youthful lark.

In 1973, Mr. Wachowski decided to attend the Kentucky Derby with some friends. The winner that year was the legendary Secretariat. Mr. Wachowski, who had no prior connection to horse racing, decided to attend the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, and saw Secretariat win the Triple Crown. Mr. Wachowski later obtained a copy of a famed photograph of Secretariat winning the Belmont by 31 lengths signed by the jockey, Ron Turcotte.

Mr. Wachowski is survived by two sisters, a brother, nieces and nephews, and a grandnephew.

A celebration of life service will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 30, at St. Raymond of Penafort Church, 7940 Williams Ave., Philadelphia 19150. A luncheon will follow.

Contributions may be made to the St. Raymond of Penafort School Scholarship Fund at the address above or to the Commonwealth Youth Choirs, 35 W. Chelten Ave., Philadelphia 19144, Att: Emily Harmar.