Connie Egler of Clarkston was a dedicated athlete all her life, playing college sports and coaching kids, and still remains active in her 80s. Photos provided
BY PHIL CUSTODIO
Clarkston News Editor
Good health was always a priority for Connie Egler of Clarkston.
Connie, 84, who lives near downtown with her husband, Don Egler, has been an athlete all her life.
“I was always in sports – I was the biggest tomboy,” she said. “I loved volleyball, basketball, and everything for girls in college. Sports saved me.”
Growing up with six brothers and a sister in Canton, Ohio, sports offered a refuge.
“We lived across the street from a playground – I would sneak out to the park instead of setting the table,” she said. “As an eighth grader, I would go down to the gym and throw the basketball, and I would get baskets.”
She was an award-winning athlete in high school and college. She was the only ninth grader to play in her high school Army Navy game in 1949.
“We practiced for weeks,” she said. “We filled the stands.”
Her softball team would play in state tournaments in Ohio. She also played on travel softball and basketball teams,
“We travelled all over,” she said. “I was in track – I was always fast. Tennis – I was number one in my club. I could get to every ball.”
A finalist to compete in the 1954 Olympics track team, she was a world-class athlete.
“My travel team basketball coach tried three of us out, but we didn’t make it,” Connie said.
She went into teaching as a phys-ed instructor and tennis coach, and played on softball teams into her 50s.
“She was one heck of a softball player – she would hit the softball over the fence,” said her daughter, Deanna Olsen.
Both of Connie and Don’s children, Olsen and brother Don Egler, were athletic, and their four grandchildren all have sports scholarships to college.
“We have your genes,” Olsen said. “Sports kept us out of trouble.”
Connie played tennis into her 60s, golf into her 80s, and still stretches every day, works with a fitness trainer, and walks downtown three days a week, almost a two-mile trip.
“I’m up at 5 a.m. – I like moving,” she said. “I’m always moving.”
“She’s motivated to live a long time to see her grandkids,” Olsen said.
“Now I want to see my great-grandkids,” Connie said. “It’s been a good journey. I’m so grateful for my life. I’m so proud of my family.”
“My mother was there for us every day,” Olsen said. “She’s given us a healthy lifestyle.”