Mark Sorenson


Historian: Staley Football

Mark Sorensen is a former Decatur Public schools social studies teacher and coach. He later worked 27 years at the Illinois State Archives in Springfield and retired as assistant director. He has taught history classes at RCC and MU and is the immediate past president of the Illinois State Historical Society. He serves on several related Boards and has been appointed as the Official Macon County Historian by the count board. He is presently processing several archival collections for the Decatur library’s new Local History Room, writing biographies of local football players for the future A.E. Staley museum and serving as Grandpa for several brilliant children. Mark Sorensen is your history Guy. He came to tell us how the Decatur Staleys became the Chicago Bears.

In February of 1920 A. E. Staley and George Halas met to form a football team to play in the Industrial League. Mark said that the really only played four professional games in Decatur. Halas was 25 years old and had played sports at the University of Illinois and in the Navy. He was too small to play football and only played year at the U. of I. However, in the Navy he played in the Rose Bowl and was named the most valuable player.

They worked out a deal where Halas would work in the plant at Staley and get a football team started. He was paid $50.00 a week. He insisted that players he brought in would have jobs in the plant, $50.00 a week, and two hours off every day to practice football. The team did well in 1919 and 1920 as the Starch Workers and later the Staleys, but was a bit costly for Staley.

In 1922 Halas along with partners Edward “Dutch” Sternaman and John Driscoll incorporated the “Chicago Bears Football Club” with the Illinois Secretary of State. The President of the National Football League ruled that Driscoll was property of the Chicago Cardinal Football Team. Halas and Sternaman continued to play and coach the team until 1929. In 1933, Driscoll sold his interest for $38,000.

Dutch Sternaman was born in 1895 and looked like one tough dude. He invented a type of cleat that were worn on football shoes for many years. Mark had several documents that he was a partner in managing the Bears. Mark said his philosophy on life was “When in doubt, PUNT!



Here are some volunteer opportunities coming up. We will have Kiwanis One Day at Sinawik Park on April 11.
We will park cars April 25 at Rock Springs. And Skip-A- Meal is coming up April 29.



Today we had 88 members, 2 guests, and 1 speaker for a total of 91.
Last Saturday 16 of us spent the morning working at Sinawik park. We spread mulch, cleaned up the pavilion, and a winter’s worth of leaves and sticks. She asked them to stand and be honored.


Larry Bechtel has moved into assisted living at Hickory Point Village. He is doing fairly well, but endures blood testing and insulin injections four times a day.

Dick Ferry has been moved to the Symphony Nursing Facility at the corner of N. Monroe and W. McKinley.


50-50 - WINNER

First place winner was Tom McQuistion and second place went to Dean Evans. Congratulations, folks.


 Bill Hogg

Harry Carlson was sponsored by Don Gepford. Harry has joined the Golden K. Congratulations, and welcome, Harry! Bailey Christian came to keep track of Grandmother Sharon Cunningham.


Sharon Cunningham said the Flapjacks at Applebee’s Fundraiser will be from 8:00am to 10:00am Saturday, April 18.  We have sold 220 so far and may need more volunteers. There are signup sheets in the rear.   For $5.00 you get pancakes, bacon, beverage, with syrup and butter.  Seconds will be available.  We must help the restaurant with seating and serving.  There are two shifts, one from 7:30am to 9:00am and the other from 9:00am to 10:30am. The signup sheets are in the back.  Applebee’s asks that the first shift report at 7:30am for training.  They will train second shift.  Applebee’s asks that you wear your Kiwanis gear if you are working.  Sharon asks that you wear it if you are only eating also.  If you are working Applebee’s asks that you park in the back of the lot.  Let’s have a fun club outing!

 Pat Riley said to mark June 27 for the cancer fundraiser “Come Together, Let’s Walk” in Fairview Park.

 Al Heinrich is all set to park cars at Rock Springs Festival of Spring April 25.  All he needs is a crowd.

 Don Kamm said sponsor money is still trickling in for the Golf Outing May 29th.  Any ideas for silent auction items would be helpful.  And we need as many golfers as possible to participate if we want a successful outing.

 Don Leckrone said that “Adopt a Street” will be Saturday, May 9.  We will be picking up Fulton Avenue working from North to South.  He will have a signup sheet next week. 

 Dan White said that The Good Samaritan Inn is having a fundraiser Saturday, April 18 at The Decatur Conference Center.  It is the second annual Iron Chefs Night.  The time will be from 6:00 to 9:00pm.  There is a signup sheet at the back table for your name and choice of entrée.  The price is $25.00 if you have a full table. Golden K will sign the check and you can pay the treasurer.




Jim Rector: Born April, 20th, in Hoopston, Illinois. He will be 82.



Florence & Don Leckrone: Married March 29, in Hessville, Indiana. This will be 57 years.

Linda & Gary Goeken: Married April 4th, in Decatur, Illinois. This will be 11 years.

Barbra & Jim Higdon: Married April 4th, in Decatur, Illinois. This will be 46 years. Anniversaries




In my hand I hold a ball…white and dimpled, rather small……
 Oh, how bland it does appear…. This harmless looking little sphere….

By its size I could no guess….the awesome strength it does possess….
 But since I fell beneath its spell….I’ve wandered through the fires of hell….

My life has not been quite the same….Since I chose to play this stupid game….
 It rules my mind for hours on end….A fortune it has made me spend….

It has made me swear and yell and cry….I hate myself and want to and die….
 It promises a thing called par….If I can hit it straight and far….

To master such a tiny ball….should not be very hard at all…
 But my desires the ball refuses….and does exactly like it chooses…

It hooks and slices, dribbles and dies….and even disappears before my eyes…
 Often it will take a whim….to hit a tree of take a swim….

With miles of grass on which to land….it finds a tiny patch of sand….
 Then has me offering up my soul….if only it would find the hole….

It’s made me whimper like a pup….and swear that I will give it up….
 And take a drink to ease my sorrow….but the ball knows….I’ll be back tomorrow!!!!


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