Amazing athlete and fabulous teacher are at top of Karen's list
Wednesday, July 09, 2014 10:00 PM
There are many type people I admire, many I've written about, but amazing athletes and fabulous teachers rank up at the top and I was lucky to interview one of each this week. Both are born and bred Montgomery Countians and although they are in my age range, they're practically newlyweds. We had a great time talking after our grandsons' (AJ, Quentin and Stephen for me and Joel for them) softball game and then on to their lives. Truly, I enjoyed talking to Bill Locker and wife, Susie Hamm.
Susie's husband, Don Hamm, who many of you probably knew as a local accountant, passed away after almost 45 years of a wonderful marriage and two precious children, Betsy and Mark. Betsy is assistant to the Crawfordsville Superintendent (outgoing Dr. Kathy Steele, incoming Scott Bowling). Mark is a fabulous artist (pencil drawings) and loves to play the drums. So, some time later, a friend of Bill's hit him while saying that Susie was single now and he most definitely should ask her out. As they say, the rest is history. They've been married seven years and enjoying life tremendously.
Both having grown up here, they talked about the many mom and pop stores of the 40-60s. They remembered the delicious milk shakes from Producers (orange/pineapple). Maple Hurst Ice Cream was right close too. Hard to imagine but we all agreed that it was less than 15 cents to get in the movies. Both loved to drive around the old Ginger-Boo drive in - around and around some more. Susie enjoyed playing kick-the -can at night, never being afraid to walk home afterwards. However, she wasn't far away, always within hollering distance. At recess at the old (old) Tuttle school, Susie said the girls always played jacks or jumped rope. In her teen years, Susie's house (pink one corner of Main & Blair) was the place to hang-out. Almost every Friday night, there was a slumber party and the year CHS was runner-ups for the state basketball championship, it was the Mefford house where they all went for a celebration party. Dick Haslam had won the Tressler Award but didn't bring it along. When asked where it was, he answered, "At home under my mattress because I was afraid someone would take it." Susie graduated from CHS in 1958, went on to Butler for undergraduate work and received her master's in Education from IU. She was at John Beard for 20 years and Tuttle (the one just torn down) for 19 years. She particularly enjoyed working with Dr. Steele, developing the Gifted Curriculum for 6th grade.
Now, I said one was a teacher and guess you have that figured out, and the other a great sportsman. Very much a modest man, I was extremely impressed with Bill's accomplishments. Bill began his love of golf at age 11, when he began caddying at the Country Club. Some of his golfers were Dave Gerard, Bob Layne, Dr. Tapia and Prof. Brigance. Dr. Brigance was quite a frugal man. "We caddies tried to hide if we thought we'd get him." Bill's first trophy of many was for the Caddy Tournament with a score of 46. Bill is in the CHS and Wabash Athletic Halls of Fame for golfing. After three years as an independent at Wabash, and a stint in the Army, Bill returned home to work on credits a little at a time while working full-time but is still considered in the class of 1960. Recently, Bill got rid of his pile of trophies, but kept that first one for a special remembrance. Golfing is something Bill enjoys, obviously, but Susie loves it too and said their Friday Sundowners group at the Country Club with dinner afterwards is great fun. Always an athlete, Bill loves to walk, as well, and spent every possible day walking to Raybestos from Country Club Road (for 33 years where he worked in the Chem Lab). Bill's son, Matt is a graduate of the Indiana School of Medicine, is about to finish up a fellowship in Dallas, Texas and will soon be coming to Springfield, Illinois. He is a radiologist and is married to a darling Colombian girl, Carolina who sells organic jewelry (http://www.colombiangirljewelry.com/).
Bill has attended Young's Chapel and Woodland Heights and now goes to church with Susie who has been going to First Baptist for 50 years and also been in the same Sunday School class. Susie is also in the same bridge club (50 years with only two of the original eight left). Bill is a director for both the Basketball Heritage and Montgomery County Basketball Hall of Fame. Susie said she's not in as much as she has been but has been a secretary for several organizations (Teacher Union; Psi Iotas). I asked if there was anything else they want to do in life. Susie would like to finish out seeing all the states, with only Alaska and Oregon left. Bill said that he'd like to see our country become the excellent one it has always been again because he's very worried about the political aspects of America today.
Although Bill isn't much of a traveler, they do love going to Orlando in the winter. All of their six grandchildren have been to Disney World, and two of the three great grands. Cam and Joel Monroe are grandsons of Susie and my grandchildren have been involved with baseball and softball with the Monroe boys. So glad I saw Susie and Bill at the game (they won, by the way) and talked them into being my interviewees for this week. It was a great joy - thanks again, kids!
Karen Zach is the editor of Montgomery Memories, a monthly magazine published by Sagamore News Media. Her column appears Thursdays in The Paper.