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Archive for January 6, 2020

Jan. 6, 2020 — Betty Shellenberger, 1922-2019

I didn’t want to go too much further without mentioning the passing of a woman who was the Deion Sanders or Bo Jackson of her era.

Betty Shellenberger, who died last month at the age of 98, played for the U.S. senior national women’s lacrosse and field hockey teams from 1939 to 1961.

And here’s the interesting part: the years she wasn’t participating, she was enlisted in the U.S. Marines during World War II.

Of course, back then, the Marines weren’t necessarily the storm-the-beach take-that-outpost group of attack-minded men that they are today. Shellenberger served as an aviation mechanic in California during the war.

She came back to the States to coach and teach at a couple of Quaker schools in Philadelphia, and introduced the sport of lacrosse and field hockey at a number of secondary schools as well as Chestnut Hill College. She coached both sports at the school until 1977.

Later in life, she gave back to the sport as an umpire, rules interpreter, and representative to a number of rules committees in both lacrosse and field hockey.

But what gets me is the fact that she wore our national colors in two outdoor sports spanning four decades.

In these days of the specialization of sport, you’re unlikely to see this ever again.