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Wisconsin Fastpitch Legend Passes Away

Monday, February 27th, 2017

JOHN “SPORTY” SALSMAN was an icon in men’s fastpitch softball in Wisconsin and the United States. Courtesy Photo

GALESVILLE — John J. “Sporty” Salsman, 96, of Galesville passed away Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, at Grand View Care Center, Blair.

John was born Aug. 28, 1920, to William and Lilly (Van Vleet) Salsman. He was raised in Galesville and graduated from Galesville High School. At the age of 17, he joined the Army Air Corps.

On April 20, 1948, he married Vivian Bortle at the Centerville Methodist Church.

John flew P51s in World War II and many other aircraft in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. John was an avid outdoorsman. He trapped and hunted up to the age of 92, shooting his last trophy buck with a crossbow at the age of 91.

He loved all sports and coached both men and girls softball teams. John also enjoyed watching high school sporting events. John’s accomplishments are too many to list in this obituary. He will be deeply missed.

Survivors are his children, Renee Page, Patricia Sleeter, Robert “Buck” (Karen) Salsman, David (Sandra) Salsman; his grandchildren, Jamie Page, Stacy (Rudy)Perez, Kelly Sleeter, John Salsman, Jacob Salsman, Angela (Shawn) Himebauch, Aaron Salsman, Dan Salsman; and his great-grandchildren, Christian Perez, Taylor Himebauch, Brandyn Himebauch and Jayde Himebauch.

His wife, Vivian, preceded him in death.

A memorial service will be at 1 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, at Mill Road Banquet Center, 20020 Mill Road, Galesville, with the Rev. Anna Sorenson officiating. A celebration of life will immediately follow the service until 6 p.m.

Burial will be at a later date with military rites in the Trempealeau Public Cemetery. Memorials may be directed to the G-E-T High School Athletic Department.

Zwickey Funeral Homes, Galesville Chapel, assisted the family.

John Salsman and Wilber Lime, forever linked in Wisconsin fastpitch lore

Friday, September 13th, 2013

“He was intense, a perfectionist, and very disciplined. I chose Wilber because it was fun to play for John…” – Wilber Lime retired pitcher Allan Lundberg speaking about John Salsman.

GALESVILLE, WISC. – Allan Lundberg had his opportunities to leave for higher-caliber teams, and so did Jeff Moore. But both fastpitch pitchers – two of the best ever in Wisconsin state history – wouldn’t have dreamed of leaving the man they enjoyed playing for.

The man? John “Sporty” Salsman. His team? Wilber Lime of Galesville, Wisconsin.

“Without a doubt, he was the best manager I ever played for,” said Moore, 54, of Eau Claire. “He was honest and straight forward. He was a winner and commanded respect. That Wilber team was him.”

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The Stuhrs, a brotherly band of Wisconsin fastpitch stars

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

HOLMEN, WI – In 1971 Bruce Stuhr laced up his spikes, grabbed his glove and trotted on to a fastpitch softball field. Little did he know that he had just paved a dusty path for his younger brothers to follow. Four younger Stuhrs have since trailed after their older brother.

After Bruce came David, then Larry and Allen, and finally Dan. They were a versatile bunch that could fill every spot on the field.

“Bruce and Larry played all six infield spots,” said Dan, 46, the youngest. “(And) I played all nine positions at one time or another.”

Dan added that Larry (2003) and Bruce (1997) were inducted into the Wisconsin ASA Hall of Fame. Bruce, 59, is retired, but in 1979 he was selected the ASA Great Lakes Regional Most Valuable Player for his .833 batting average (15-for-18), an honor he repeated in 1980.

Larry, 56, and still playing part time, has an abundance of accolades, too. An outstanding third baseman, he played on 11 state championship teams, and was an ASA All-American in Class A, Age 40-Over, and 45-Over. He hit 270 home runs with 1,300 RBIs, and twice was the Great Lakes ASA Class A Most Valuable Player.

“Larry was known for his clutch hitting and phenomenal defense,” Dan said. “He is regarded as probably the best defensive third baseman that most people ever saw.”

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Galesville Squad Wins 8th Invitational Title

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

By RONN KOPP / 2013 Rice Lake Aquafest Invitational Tournament Director
Wisconsin Fastpitch

RICE LAKE, WI – A two-out, two-run seventh inning home run by Dan Stuhr gave Wilber Lime of Galesville a 7-5 victory over the host Rice Lake Orangemen in the championship game of the 35th Rice Lake Aquafest Men’s Invitational Fastpitch Tournament.

The Orangemen had led 5-2 after five innings before a 3-run Wilber sixth tied the game at five runs each. It was the second Aquafest title in a row for Wilber Lime and the eighth overall.

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