2014 Hall of Fame

The 2014 class of the Ohio Senior Olympics Hall of Fame was inducted on June 29, 2014, during a ceremony at the banquet during the state games.

William "Bill" Elfers

No picture available. If you are Bill Elfers and have a picture we can post, please send it to info@ohioseniorolympics.org.

William "Bill" Elfers was a man of all sports while attending Reading High School in Reading, Ohio. As a high school student, he was a member of two (2) State Championship teams in Baseball and a member of the 1944 Reading High School undefeated football team. He was inducted into his High School Hall of Fame.

From 1983 to 2006, Elfers has won 132 awards for his competitive efforts in: Softball, Volleyball, Table Tennis, Basketball, Basketball Free Throw, Golf, and Golf Chipping. The Trophy Wall of his home was filled with medals and ribbons demonstrating the success of his competitive challenges in varied competitions at the State and National Senior Olympics over the years.

Judy Fischlin

Judy Fischlin is a charter member of the Euclid Women's Softball League (1972). After playing in the league for several years and with the competition getting younger, she organized a 45 Women's Softball Group, the Northcoast Vintage Players. In 2005, the group had two teams with 24 women; since then the group has grown to six teams with 75 women participating.

Judy not only participates in various events in the Senior Olympics at the local, state and national levels, she encourages others to get our and explore the opportunities to them through Senior Olympics at all levels.

In 2013, Judy was recognized as a Mythbuster by the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging. She also is an ambassador for the Huntsman World Senior Games in Utah.

Leurene Hildenbrand

Leurene Hildenbrand is a woman for all sports. While growing up on a farm in Clinton, Ohio and operating the farm with her father during the WWII, Leurene developed the tenacity to challenge new situations and sports. Leurene had little time for sports during her working career. With the availability of time after retirement, Leurene turned to sports to fill her days. Indeed it has!

Since retirement, she has competed in 17 different sports some of which are:bocce ball, billiards, table tennis, volleyball, archery, basketball, pickleball, shuffleboard, horseshoes, and cycling. Of these sports, pickleball seems to hold her interest, for Leurene now organizes pickleball competitions in the Akron and Canton, Ohio areas.She has captured the most her gold medals in Tennis and Pickleball. Leurene has volunteered many hours in the Tri-County Senior Olympics (Akron) and in the Hall of Fame Senior Olympics (Canton) as the event director of various events.

Thomas "Tom" Johnson

 

No picture available. If you are Tom Johnson and have a picture we can post, please send it to info@ohioseniorolympics.org.

Between 2006 and 2013, J. Thomas "Tom" Johnson, won 2 or more gold medals in the following state games: Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, West Virginia, Georgia, Wisconsin, California, Nevada, and Utah. He is considered "The Fastest Man in The Midwest."

In the 2007 Louisville National Senior Games, Johnson won his age group Silver in the 100 Meter and 200 Meter Dashes and 4X100 Relay posting times of 14.05, 28.21, 1:03.90, respectively.Tom returned to the 2009 National Senior Games in Palo Alto, CA winning two (2) Gold medals with a 27.59 in the 200 Meter Dash and a 58.52 in the 4X100 Relay. Johnson also won the Bronze medal with a 13.75 in the 100 Meter Dash.Johnson departed the 2013 Cleveland National Senior Games with three (3) Silver medals displayed on his chest. Tom, in his 70 age group clocked a 28.93 in 200 Meter, 1:05.52 in 400 Meter, and 1:03.64 in the 4X100 Relay.

 

Tom aspires to set an American and/or World Record for his age group (70-74).

Joe Rossi

Joe is recognized and honored for his long commitment to the Senior Olympics movement at the local, state, and national levels.

In the late 1980's, he was introduced to the Senior Olympics in Youngstown, Ohio as an employee of the local Area Agency on Aging 11. By the 1990's, Joe was fully engaged in the Ohio Senior Olympics and the National Senior Games.

 

Joe has been a member of the NSGA Board since the late 1990's and is currently serving on the Board's Bylaws, Strategic Planning, and Games Committees. Additionally, Joe has been the President of the Ohio Senior Olympics forever. You must be an old timer of the Ohio Senior Olympics to remember when Joe was not the President. His smiling face and somewhat humorous jokes have led the charge of the OSO.

 

With this plate of demanding activities, Joe also has a real job with which he supports his family in Salem, Ohio. Joe is the Chief Executive officer (CEO) of the Area Agency on Aging 11 serving Ashtabula, Columbiana, Mahoning, and Trumbull counties in Ohio.

Saundra "Sandi" Rue

Saundra "Sandi" Rue comes to the Senior Olympics from the Steubenville, Ohio area. Sandi is a 1965 graduate of the Winterville High School, as well as a 1988 graduate of the Jefferson Technical College. Rue retired from the former Weirton Steel Company after 30 years of service.

While following the footsteps of her husband, Paul Rue, in his adventures with the Senior Olympics, Saundra Rue decided to challenge herself on the track. After a degree of training and skill development under the watchful eye of her coach, husband Paul, Sandi was ready to test herself against the many other competitors of her age group. With her speed and fluid running stride, Sandi was a natural on the track capturing medals at the local and regional meets. She won gold medals in the National Games in 2011 and 2013, silver medals in her first National Games in 2009.

 

In addition to her hours of training and blazing speed on the track, Rue finds time to give back to her community. During the 2010 Pathfinders Awards Assembly a part of the Steubenville High School Black History Activities, Saundra received the Humanitarian Award in recognition of her accomplishments and service to the community.

Keith Rufener

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It has been said by Keith Rufener's family, "Dad would play volleyball eight (8) days a week if he could find a place to play." This statement is a reflection of Keith's love of and commitment to volleyball.

Keith comes to the Senior Olympics Volleyball with a great deal of experience under his belt as a coach or player in the Industrial Leagues and interscholastic level. In the Goodyear Industrial League, he coached or played on the "Craftsmen" and the "Goodyear Men's All Stars" volleyball team.

 

The 1999 NSGA Volleyball Tournament in Orlando, Florida was Rufener's initiation into Senior Olympics volleyball with team "Neoclassic." This team never won; therefore, they changed the team name to the Buckeye Northcoast and have qualified for every NSGA Volleyball Tournament since 1999. The team has won the Gold or the Silver in many of the senior Olympics volleyball tournaments over the years.

Betty Russ

No picture available. If you are Betty Russ and have a picture we can post, please send it to info@ohioseniorolympics.org.

While most 86 year olds are looking for a rocking chair by the fire to rock away the coming years, Betty is looking forward to kayaking, swimming with weights on her arms and legs, and sometimes jumping into the Portage Lakes in the cold of winter.

Swimming is just one activity of an endless list of activities that Betty engages to maintain her healthy lifestyle. When she is not swimming, Betty is playing the violin, painting portraits, writing poetry, or working in her gardens.

 

Betty Russ was introduced to swimming as a member of the Akron Garfield High School swim team. Later as a member of the Firestone Aquatic Club (1942 to 1948), she began smashing national records in swim competitions, which led to the Olympics trials... Failing to make the "Cut" for competition in the Olympic 100 and 400 meter freestyle events, Betty returned home and withdrew from swimming. Three decades later at age of 50, Betty returned to swimming joining the Ohio Masters Swim Club. During her first swimming meet at the Canton Natatorium, Russ won every event she entered. One needs only to google "Betty Russ" to learn of her array of United States Masters Top Ten events and record times dating back to 1980.

 

Betty's accomplishments in the National Senior Games are equally as impressive. At the 2013 Cleveland Games, Russ established age group record times in the 50 Yard Freestyle, 100 Yard Freestyle, 200 Yard Freestyle, and 200 Yard IM. After her record smashing times, the records for both the 200 Yard Freestyle and the 200 Yard IM were reduced by about 30 seconds.

 

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