2007 Hall of Fame

 

The inaugural class of the Ohio Senior Olympics Hall of Fame was inducted on Friday, July 27, 2007 during the banquet at the 2007 Ohio Senior Olympics State Games.

 

Barry Baumgardner

Barry Baumgardner was nominated for his distinguished performance in golf events at the local, state, regional and national level.

Barry competes in numerous regional/ local Senior Olympic tournaments in Ohio. He was the gold medalist at the 1993, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006 Ohio Senior Olympics State Games and has qualified to represent Ohio at the National Senior Games: The Senior Olympics since 1997. He brought home a gold medal from the 1999 games in Orlando, and silver medals from both Virginia Beach and Pittsburgh.

A native of Springfield Ohio, Barry resides in Dayton with his wife Jane. They have two adult children.

Millie Bolton

Millie Bolton was nominated to the Hall of Fame for her accomplishments as a track and field athlete in Senior Olympics.

Millie began running when she was in her 40s. She won the first competition she ever entered in 1969. Because there were so few women competing at that time, the trophy was a man! Millie took the trophy home and made a skirt for it.

 

Millie's first state Senior Olympics competition was in 1985 in Akron. She has competed at the national level since 1987. Millie's efforts focus on the 200M, 400M, 800M runs and the 1500M race walk. She has won many medals at local, state and national competitions. Most recently, Millie won gold medals in the 400M and 800M runs at the 2007 National Senior Games in Louisville, Kentucky.

Mary Bowermaster

Mary Bowermaster's story is one of courage and determination. After a breast cancer diagnosis at age 63, Mary found participating in Senior Olympics to be therapy, both psychologically and physically. Her first competition was in 1980.

She competes in both Senior Olympics and Masters track and field events and has won accolades and awards for her performance at the local, state, regional, national and international level.

An ambassador for Senior Olympics, Mary was featured in a segment on 48 Hours with Dan Rather, where she was interviewed by Mike Wallace. The segment, called "Something About Mary" featured competing at the 1999 National Senior Games: The Senior Olympics in Orlando.

Mary describes what Senior Olympics means to her this way:
"Senior Olympics is about helping people to believe that one can overcome a difficult situation or that one can accomplish something even though they might think otherwise. It's about saying "I can" or "I will," instead of "I can't" or "I won't."

Rudy Bredenbeck

Rudy Bredenbeck was nominated to the Hall of Fame for his success as an athlete in track and field.

Rudy has consistently placed first or second in state Senior Olympics competitions since 1986. His events are shot put, discus and javelin. In 2006, he achieved a new high at the state Senior Olympics- first place in all three events. That result was even more spectacular considering that he had been battling cancer.

Rudy had been a track and field athlete during his time at Brooklyn High School in Cleveland, but marriage and career took the front seat for many years. When his daughter Julie began competing, Rudy got back into competition himself. In addition to Senior Olympics, Rudy competes in Masters track and field events and has received numerous awards for his performance.

Bob Gandee

Affectionately referred to as the "Father of Senior Olympics" in Ohio, Bob Gandee enters the Hall of Fame in recognition of his Meritorious Service to the Senior Olympics movement in Ohio.

A passionate advocate for health and fitness regardless of age, Bob recognized the positive effects that an organized program of competition could have for Ohio's aging population. Bob, with Ruth Layfield-Faux, lobbied the Ohio Commission on Aging, the Area Agencies on Aging and universities around the state to develop local Senior Olympic programs. In 1980, Bob organized the first state Senior Olympics competition in Akron, where the state games were held for many years.

Bob has re-constituted the Senior Olympics in the Akron area in recent years and continues to advocate for excellence in competition.

Fred Hirsimaki 

Fred Hirsimaki started his athletic career at an early age, and lettered in football and basketball at Findlay College. He played in professional baseball in the minor leagues for three years, for a Pittsburgh Pirates team.

Fred has received awards and medals for his track and field performance at the local, state, national and international level. He is a member of the Hancock County Sports Hall of Fame, the University of Findlay Sports Hall of Fame, the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame, the Dayton/ Miami Valley Senior Olympic Hall of Fame and the Cleveland Over the Hill Track Club Hall of Fame. He has competed in the World Masters Games, the National Senior Olympics, and many heptathlon and decathlon competitions across the country.

Vadine Koenig

In her late 50s, Vadine Koenig was getting restless, so she decided to go out and run a few wind sprints for something to do. She didn't get far, but she got hooked. Vadine has competed in local, state and national competitions in running events ever since.

In addition to her athletic endeavors, Nadine also has volunteered with the American Red Cross, Fort Hamilton Hospital, YWCA, Hamilton City School Board, Salvation Army, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and her church. Her commitment to a healthy lifestyle has inspired neighbors, friends and family to get more active in their own lives.

Tom Labbe

Tom Labbe has been an athlete his entire life. A former high school football official and Akron firefighter/medic, Tom believes the way to stay healthy in retirement is through competition. His competition of choice is the Akron Silver League Softball and Senior Olympics. Most mornings you'll find Tom running, on an all-weather track or indoors depending on the season.

Tom has over 250 awards as a senior athlete. His first Ohio Senior Olympics competition was in Columbus where he won the 100 and 200 meter runs. Tom consistently wins gold in the 100 and 200 meter runs and competes successfully in longer runs and fields events as well.

Tom has competed in five National Senior Games: The Senior Olympics competitions as well as numerous biathlons. Tom is an avid runner and promotes running for people of all ages. He was inducted into the Summit County Hall of Fame in 2003.

Ruth Layfield- Faux

Ruth Layfield- Faux served Ohio Senior Olympics with distinction during its formative years and played a critical role in the organization's developmental stability. Ruth was one of the founders of Ohio Senior Olympics in 1980. She brought excellent people and organizational skills to OSO in its early years.

Ruth was the face of Ohio Senior Olympics in the early years, developing support among the Area Agencies on Aging and with the Ohio Commission on Aging. Ruth secured the early funding from Blue Cross and Blue Shield that made the early games possible.

Ruth is now retired and lives with her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter in Tucson, Arizona.

Dr. Mary Leonard

Dr. Mary Leonard is a passionate advocate for competition opportunities for people as they age. A (now retired) professor in the University of Dayton Department of Health and Sport Sciences, Dr. Leonard has put the practical knowledge of academia to practice in Senior Olympic competition at the local, state and national level.

Dr. Leonard was one of the founders of Senior Olympics in Ohio and a founding member of the Board of Ohio Senior Olympics and the Dayton/ Miami Valley Senior Olympics. Dr. Leonard served as president of the Ohio Senior Olympics board from 1993-1997 and served on the Board of the National Senior Games Association (formerly USNSO) from 1993-1999.

In addition to her role as coordinator of games in the Dayton area, Dr. Leonard is also an athlete, competing in badminton, tennis, swimming and horseshoes.

Mickey Lockman

Mickey Lockman's early days in athletics came before organized sports for women, so she played with the boys in her neighborhood. A love of those "backyard sports" led her to a career in health and physical education as a teacher and coach.

Mickey's first job was teaching swimming and two other sports at the YWCA in Springfield. She taught girls physical education, commercial subjects and science at Arcanum and Franklin Monroe Schools and started the Girls Athletic Association. Mickey introduced many young women to sports, even before girls were allowed to play other schools. She coached many sports in both intramural and interscholastic leagues.

Mickey's first regional Senior Olympics was 1985 at the University of Dayton, where she competed in tennis and table tennis. The number of events in which she competed grew dramatically next year and set the stage for her Senior Olympics competitions for years to come at the local, state and national level.

Bob Lyons

Bob Lyons is a talented multi-sport athlete, who has received over 100 medals since 1998. With his basketball teams, the Hamilton Eagles, Bob has been gold medalist at the Ohio Senior Olympic state games five times. The team competed in the National Senior Games: The Senior Olympics in Orlando Florida in 1999 and brought home bronze medals for their effort.

Bob has also won a national bowling championship as a doubles partner in 1999, was the singles champ in Ohio in 2000 and won the state golf championship in 2003. Bob and his wife Sharon have three children.

Jim Neal

Simply put, Jim Neal loves basketball. He loves to play and he loves to coach. His years on the basketball court (more than 60 of them) have brought him much success and taught lessons that he has shared with others as a coach. As a player and coach, Jim has over 200 medals to show from his years as a competitor in Senior Olympics in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. Among the medals are gold, silver and bronze medals from competition at the National Senior Games: The Senior Olympics. The teams he plays on and coaches are regular medalists in state competition.

Most recently, Jim and the Grayhounds basketball team took silver medals at the 2007 National Senior Games: The Senior Olympics in Louisville. Jim has realized that the key to longevity is staying active. "Fitness is not something you think about only at the gym on Tuesdays and Thursdays- it is a way of life." Words of wisdom from a man who obviously knows what he's talking about.

George Riser

George Riser is a husband, a father, a World War II veteran, an educator and an athlete. A retired high school football and track and field coach, George has long been accustomed to the world of competition. He started competing as a senior athlete at the age of 68 and continues to find success on the field- at local games throughout northeast Ohio, at the state games each year and as the reigning gold medalist in shot and discus at the last five National Senior Games. George also competes in running events.

George has had to overcome obstacles, including neck vertebrae and spinal column surgery. George is passionate about staying healthy and practices the healthy lifestyle messages that he shares with others. George is noted not only for his excellence in competition, but also for his humility as a competitor and his willingness to coach and share his knowledge with others.

Dick Soller

Dick Soller has participated in Senior Olympics since 1982 and has the medals to show for it. Dick competes in the Southwest Ohio Senior Olympics, other regional competitions, the Ohio Senior Olympics state games, state games in other states and at the National Senior Games: The Senior Olympics. His efforts have brought him many medals (285 of them in all) and friends from around the country. Dick also competes in Masters competitions and has traveled extensively to participate in world Masters meets. When he's not competing himself, you'll see Dick and his wife Jean talking to and cheering for the other competitors.

Dick has served on the board of Ohio Senior Olympics since 1991 and has been treasurer of the Board since 1993.

 

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