ARCANUM — Miriam Lockman, whose name is synonymous with sports for girls and senior citizens, was respected by many with whom she came into contact.
The woman, whose passion was sports, died two weeks ago today.
“As a teacher, I thought she was just a regular person,” said daughter Peggy Lockman Sanders. “But in GAA [Girls Athletic Association], high school intramurals, interscholastic team sports for girls, she was outstanding and I didn’t even really know it. She spent hours with the girls, teaching, guiding, celebrating success for each one of her students. She would take care of our family and then spend many long nights preparing for her classes and grading papers. Yes, she gave tests in phys. ed. It was a bit touchy having her as a coach and a teacher. Most students and those in her teams looked up to her because she coached well and honestly. Yeah, I lost my temper once in an intramural basketball game, and she threw me out of the game!”
Sanders went on, “She played tennis with Dad and actually persuaded him to participate with him in the Senior Olympics. She was a founding participant in Senior Olympics and looked forward to all the sports she was able to do. She competed in many sports and then settled down to volleyball, shot, javelin and discus. She was a real stickler on the rules as well. Her Sports for Life classes at Arcanum High School were given in hopes that all women would continue to participate for their enjoyment and health even before the television was telling us about exercising for health. I could hardly believe she even took classes skiing.”
Sanders also remembered when she and her siblings were young.
“I remember mother with Grandma Elsie at our first house on South High Street working on the Denlinger genealogy. Mom typed on a typewriter with correction fluid. She typed the whole thing…all seven branches in the ’50s,” she recalled. “My brothers and I enjoyed the ‘eggy stuff’ Mom made for lunch…cut-up boiled eggs in white sauce over toast. We had terrific fun times as kids. Mom and Dad always found us educational and fun puzzles and board games for Christmas. And Mom made the best peanut brittle, English toffee and cookies for the holidays.”
“Miriam was from Monroe and I from Franklin, where we were cheerleaders, and we went to Wittenberg and were cheerleaders,” said Marilyn Graeff. “We lived two houses away from each other. She was always giving and wanting to do better, especially toward athletics. She was a big organizer for GAA before it became statewide.”
“I have known the family for a long time,” said Holly Besecker, who works at Arcanum Public Library of which Lockman used to be on the board. “She was very out-going person and very interested in participating in library events. She worked at the school when I went there and her husband was the principal. She was very helpful and was really proud of Senior Olympics. She was a really nice lady.”
Joanne Dafler, now living in Columbus, said, “Miriam and I went through grade school and high school at Monroe Township [in Darke County] and, after college — me at Capital University and her at Wittenberg — we ended up in Arcanum for several years. We sang together. After we were married and with two other friends, we sang in a Sweet Adelines Quartet. Mostly my association with Miriam was music. She was friendly, helpful and fun to be around.”
“She was very church-oriented and had the young kinds in mind,” remarked Bruce Shank, who attended Pitsburg Church of the Brethren with Lockman. “She came to church until 1 1/2 weeks before her death. She always came in with a smile on her very. She was very friendly…a wonderful lady…always positive. She was very loyal to the church.”
Lynne Gump, director of the Darke County chapter of the American Red Cross, of which Lockman was once a board member, said, “We recruit lifetime volunteers whether they start at the age of 20 or age 60. Miriam was a gift to her community.”
Arcanum auto dealer Jim Troutwine said he knew Lockman when he was in high school.
“She was a teacher/secretary/coach in the late ’60s,” he said. “Her daughter, Peggy, was a classmate of mine. I knew Miriam and Phil from way back. I played golf with him. Miriam was big in Senior Olympics and, when I turned 50, she suggested I get involved. I was to five national events. She was very successful at what she did in her events. She competed in team events and I compete in individual events.”
Troutwine said he visited Lockman last summer.
“She showed me her scrapbooks from over the years,” he said. “She had extensive scrapbooks and medals. She is probably the champion Senior Olympian in this part of Ohio. She was quite a good athlete even in later years. She got more than just myself involved [in Senior Olympics]. She’ll definitely be missed.”
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