Sept/Oct 2005, "Kewpie of the Month"
Dorothy Sappington, Class of 1922
Dorothy is our oldest Kewpie to be honored as "Kewpie of the Month"
and is known to all of the Kewpies of the '50s and '60s as Mrs. Holsinger.
Dorothy in 1922 Cresset @ Columbia HS - Dorothy at the park in Centralia in 2005
"Mom" to Mike (Class of 1955), Anne (Class of 1956), Liz (Class of 1957),
Dave (Class of 1961) & Mark (Class of 1963)
Read about Dorothy "Dot" Sappington Holsinger, a most remarkable Kewpie!
"See slide show"
Let her hear from you, if you remember her!
October 6, 2005 is Mrs. Holsinger's 100th Birthday. 102nd Birthday Party
Reception - Sat., Oct. 8, 2005 (10:00 to Noon) @
Catholic Chruch Activities Bldg in Centralia MO - All are Welcome
(October 6, 1905 - January 7, 2008)
By BILL CLARK
Published Monday, February 7, 2005
Let’s play the name game again today. Here are your 10 clues:
? She will be 100 on Oct. 6.
? She graduated from Columbia High School in 1922 and the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1926 with a bachelor’s degree in education and earned her master’s degree 35 years later.
? She won the Florida women’s golf championship in 1932 in only her second year of competition. She was runner-up in her first try.
? She was named Columbia’s female athlete of the year in 1957.
? A native Columbian, she married a native Austrian who had become a star athlete at Kansas State University.
? She initiated golf instruction at Christian College in 1951.
? She initiated the Parks and Recreation Department’s summer playground program in 1952 and directed it for a decade.
? She became an assistant professor of physical education at MU in 1957 and in 1960 organized the first women’s golf program, serving as the head coach until retirement in 1972.
? She was a driving force, with Bus Entsminger, in the formation of the Missouri Girls’ Golf Association.
? At 98, she stepped out of her golf cart and showed good form by hitting two of four chip shots on the green, proof that she could still handle the short iron game.
If you recognized Dorothy Holsinger, you’re a winner.
Dorothy is one of Columbia’s true treasures. A woman of great resolve and leadership, she is at home recovering from back surgery and, as she has for the past 80 winters, eagerly awaiting spring and the new golf season.
The 10 clues are only a part of Dorothy’s contributions to Columbia and to the educational process in our community, not to mention to golf. Dorothy was the third of seven children of Admiral Dot Sappington, the founder of Central Dairy. Among her siblings were Roy, the oldest, who was county assessor, Columbia’s mayor and a Hall of Fame bowler; A.D., who was president of MFA and Shelter Insurance from 1964 to 1979; Guy, an outstanding wrestler at MU in the mid-1930s, the Tigers’ coach in 1936-37 and an MU sports hall-of-famer; and Harry, Helen and Rosalie. Their mom had the down-home name of Lula Maggie Pearl.
Mom died when Dorothy was 14, and the teen learned early how to be strong and optimistic when times were tough, an attribute that would help her later in life.
Lost in the six decades Dorothy, a single mom, has served Columbia in a dozen directions is her life as wife of the man who taught her to play golf, the father of her five successful children - Joe Holsinger.
After graduating from MU in 1926, Dorothy taught physical education for two years in St. Charles and moved on to a teaching job at Kansas State University. She met and married Joe in 1929. He had been a three-time All Missouri Valley Conference halfback, a basketball player and captain of the golf team for four years en route to a degree in civil engineering. Joe bypassed the engineering world and took Dorothy with him to a job at the University of Florida, where he was backfield coach and head golf coach.
He taught his young wife the basics of golf, and by 1931 she was ready for local tournaments - ready enough to finish second in the state tournament. After winning the state title in 1932 and gaining the semifinals in 1933, she was given a life membership in the Gainesville Country Club, which she shared for awhile with Steve Spurier.
When Joe moved to the staff at the University of Wisconsin in 1933, Dorothy shared the school year by teaching at MU. In 1935, Joe became the head basketball and golf coach at the University of Dayton, and Dorothy organized the women’s physical education program at Dayton. It was here that she and Joe started their family, and golf went on hold for more than a decade.
In 1939, Joe moved to Michigan State to rejoin Charley Bachman, his old head coach at Florida, and stayed there until 1945, when he was sidelined by a brain tumor. He moved Dorothy and five children to Jefferson City and died there in August 1946.
Dorothy brought her family home to Columbia in 1947, taught swimming at MU and, in 1948, returned to golf at Forest Hill Country Club. In 1951, she was a physical education instructor at Christian College and actually had a golf green and fairway built on school property to add golf to her teaching program.
Dorothy never remarried. She proved to be more than capable of raising a young family, advancing in her career in education and becoming the best golfer in Missouri, winning the state sand greens title five out of seven years in the 1950s.
The ’50s were a busy time. Dorothy started the city playground program in 1952, was the driving force in establishing the Mothers’ Club at Sacred Heart Church and, when Helen Williams, one of her favorite teachers at Hickman High School, was threatened with job loss, Dorothy ran for the school board. She suffered a rare loss, but Williams survived.
One of the first women Dorothy coached upon taking the reins of women’s golf at MU was a St. Louis gal named Barbara Bubany, who went on the become one of the state’s longtime leaders, known by her married name of Barbara Berkmeyer.
As part of her physical education teaching at MU, Dorothy often lectured about "Sex and the Single Girl." An announcement posted in a women’s dorm is in Dorothy’s files. It noted: "Mrs. Holsinger will speak in our lounge at 6:30 p.m. Her subject is sex" - sex was underlined. "She is one of the most popular speakers on campus. You’re sure to enjoy her."
Dorothy understood there was more to life than golf.
After retirement at MU, Dorothy played golf every day possible, walking the A.L. Gustin hills into her late 70s before switching to the flatter L.A. Nickell. She refused to use a cart. She traveled to Europe and Canada and to visit her children scattered around the country, playing golf whenever and wherever possible.
At 80, she lived a lifelong dream by buying a white convertible with red upholstery. She had to retire the car and her golf game at age 85 when she broke an elbow. Driving, both off the tee and behind the wheel, was history.
Today, she lives in quiet retirement in her home adjacent to her son Mark with her dog Abby. She watches women’s sports on TV and says: "I’m fascinated by the way women play today. They are so skilled now."
Hey, Dorothy, I saw you play for years. You weren’t too shabby yourself.
Her kids all enjoyed golf, and all have been as successful as Mom, though none could match her wizardry on the links.
Mike is a retired air force officer living in South Florida; Anne Tavel is a clinical psychologist and rabid Red Sox fan living in Boston; Liz Ginsburg, a former Kewpie cheerleader and MU intramural golf champ, retired as a dance teacher at the University of New Hampshire and lives in Bristol, Vt.; Mark recently retired as the person responsible for the grounds and garden at Shelter Insurance; Dave played football at Hickman and MU, spent 11 years as coach and 12 as a game official and now runs an insurance business in Centralia and announces Panther games.
Her driver might be retired, but we’ll be waiting to see whether this living legend can get those chip shots just a little closer to the pin now that she’s 99. Spring is just around the corner.
Added by BILL CLARK, JUNE 13, 2005
? Talk about getting lost, in a big family. Before the Feb. 7 column about Columbia golf legend Dorothy Holsinger, Dorothy had seven brothers and sisters. By the time Ol’ Clark finished, she had only six.
Totally left out of the Holsinger story was her youngest brother, Spencer, who died a decade ago but added to the family’s golfing history. His son, also named Spence, attended the University of Missouri-Columbia on a golf scholarship and, like Dorothy, continued to enjoy golf in later life. He is the two-time senior amateur links champion of Georgia and plays almost daily in the Atlanta area. The family has been restored to full strength.
? And Dorothy? Her recovery from back surgery at age 99 was slow. She is in the Stuart House, a retirement center in Centralia where son David can visit daily. Abby, Dorothy’s longtime poodle sidekick, wasn’t allowed to join her in retirement and has been retired to Florida, where she is enjoying life with Dorothy’s son Mike and family.
Dorothy’s golf schedule for 2005 has not been announced yet.
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Besides Dave of Centralia, Dorothy’s other children include Mark of Cannon Beach, Ore.; Mike of Sarasota, Fla.; Anne Tavel of Wellesley, Mass; and Liz Ginsburg-Diller of Bristol, Vt.
The former Dorothy Sappington was born in Columbia, the daughter of Admiral Dot "Pop" Sappington and Lula Maggie Sappington. Pop, founder of Central Dairy, got his unusual two first names when his mother, who was very pregnant at the time, became enamored of a popular "midget" of the day. When her baby, a boy, was born, she named him after the small man. At age 16, Dorothy graduated from Columbia High School, now Jefferson Junior High School, and attended Christian College, where she taught after graduating from MU. An advocate of women’s golf, she won the Florida State Women’s Championship in her younger years and was MU’s first women’s golf team coach. Dorothy and Norm Stewart were classmates when both were studying for their master’s degrees.
Dorothy retired from MU in 1972 after 15 years as a women’s physical education professor. She lived on her own in Columbia until age 99, when she moved to Stuart House in Centralia. Dorothy and her birthday visitors enjoyed stories and lots of laughs as they related remembrances of their team-teaching experiences with ballroom and square-dancing classes.
Happy birthday indeed to
a revered Columbia centenarian-plus-two.