Longest-writing sports columnist, Mary Jane Sporar, dies at age 95

    08/13/15

    IBMA News

    20150807IBMAMaryJaneSporar.jpg Mary Jane Sporar (nee Muhlig; archive photo) formerly of Joliet, Ill., passed away peacefully at the Prairie Manor Nursing Home in Chicago Heights, Friday, August 7, 2015 at age 95. Well known female bowler and women's bowling advocate she wrote the bowling column for the Joliet Herald News for nearly 60 years and was the longest-writing sports columnist in the country.

    Sporar, an icon in the bowling industry, was inducted into seven Halls of Fame including IBMA, Illinois State WBA, Joliet Area WBA, Midwest Bowling Writers Association, Will County/Joliet Hall of Pride and the Joliet Area Sports Hall of Fame.

    She garnered 73 industry awards for her work in print and on the radio from the Bowling Writers Association of America (BWAA), National Women Bowling Writers (NWBW), Bowling Proprietors Association of America (BPAA) and others.

    She became a Member Emeritus of NWBW in 1972; was presented the Jo Ettien Leiber award in 1980 for outstanding, long term accomplishments in service to the sport of bowling; received the NWBW Hall of Fame award in 1990, given to the individual who has made a distinguished contribution to print, broadcast, telecast or photographic coverage of bowling over an extended period of years; and became a Life Member of IBMA in 2006 when NWBW and BWAA merged.

    "What a wonderful lady! She was so dedicated to the sport of bowling and served on the Senior Bowler of the Year committee until the past few years. It was always a pleasure to communicate with her and it was an honor to know her" said Fran Deken, chairman of the committee.

    Her contributions to local, state and national USBC associations span more than 4 decades. She served on the WIBC Board of Directors for 13 years; as local Association President for 27 years; Illinois State Director for 17 years and founded the association newsletter.

    She was a founder of the Illinois State and Jolliet Area Bowling Councils and served both as Secretary-Treasurer for 25 years. She was a tireless proponent for youth bowling, serving the Illinois State and Joliet Area YABA as Vice President and Director.

    A trailblazer for women's sports, Sporar was not just an accomplished bowler but an avid swimmer with more than 70 swimming and diving titles in Will County from the YMCA, AAU, and Illinois state events. She taught and coached aquatics for the YMCA, Red Cross, JTHS, and various summer camps.

    Mary Jane was preceded in death by her husband Stanley J. Sporar, her parents Arnold and Helen Muhlig and a brother Don Muhlig. She is survived by her daughter Jill (Greg-deceased) Postma and son John (Jan) Hamrin; Sister Elizabeth L. Johnson.

    She has seven grandchildren Daniel (Victoria) Telfer, Seamus (Erica) Hamrin, Robb (Aly) Telfer, Keith (Kelly) Postma, Ash Hamrin, Ryan (Heidi) O'Hanley and Andrew O'Hanley and numerous great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

    Memorial services were held at the Carlson-Holmquist-Sayles Funeral Home, 2320 Black Rd. on Tuesday, August 11, 2015 at 7:00 P.M. For information please call (815)744-0022 or visit www.chsfuneral.com. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to the Pink Heals of Joliet, 1147 Brookforest Drive, Shorewood, IL 60404, www.pinkhealsjoliet.org.

    The family has created a Life Tributes page to make it easy to share your memories.

     


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