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
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
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
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.
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
to mark June 27 for the cancer fundraiser “Come
Together, Let’s Walk” in Fairview Park.
is all set to park cars at Rock Springs Festival
of Spring April 25. All he needs is a crowd.
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.
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.
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