The Central California Interclub Association Celebrates 50 Years
CCIA History Series: Margery Schleh
Celebrating Eminent Service to CCIA and Capital City FSC
Capital City Figure Skating Club celebrates a most distinguished member of their club for this history series. Margery Schleh attended the very first meeting of the Central California Inter-Club Association at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley on September 17,1965, with her husband, Robert. It was at this meeting the goals of the CCIA were set down, and Margery helped craft these goals, which we still use today.
Margery Schleh started her skating career as a member of the now defunct Modern Tempo Ice Skating Club at the Oakland Ice Arena located at 625 14th St near Preservation Park in Oakland. When Oakland Ice Arena closed in 1947, Margery moved to Berkeley Iceland and joined St Moritz Ice Skating Club where she first became interested in club governance. While a member of SMISC, Margery joined the Junior Board and served as its president for two years. It was at this time that she was named as a delegate to attend the US Figure Skating Annual Meeting in Los Angeles!
Margery's competitive skating career is impressive as she competed in singles through the Senior level. In addition, she also competed in Ladies Pairs and Pairs events. During her Juvenile level year, Margery placed second in California State Juvenile Ladies, and was the Ladies Pairs Champion for both California and Pacific Coast competitions. Margery continued skating through her college years at UC Berkeley, skating in annual club ice shows as a featured skater, and testing through the 7th Figure test.
After she graduated from UC Berkeley, Margery moved to Sacramento and joined Capital City Figure Skating Club, where she continued to skate in the CCFSC ice shows for the next 15 years and even assisted in the directing of one of those shows! Margery sat on the Capital City FSC board for many years holding the offices of secretary and president, and for over ten years, served her club as its test chair.
In 1958, Margery began judging. She progressed to National and International appointments in Singles and Pairs and has judged many competitions all over the world. She also is a Gold level Dance judge, as well as, a Sectional Referee. Margery still continues to enjoy judging tests and competitions. Her work for U.S. Figure Skating had major impact on the sport. For three years Margery served on the Board of Directors for U.S. Figure Skating, and was the Chairman of the Singles and Pairs Committee. As Chairman of the Singles and Pairs Committee, Margery initiated the investigation and establishment of the Moves in the Field tests! It should also be mentioned Margery served on two Nominating Committees for USFS.
As a founding member of the Central California Inter-Club Association, it was Margery Schleh who proposed that CCIA sponsor an inter-club competition in 1967 to allow skaters the opportunity to perform their programs in front of a judging panel before the qualifying season began. At this time, the local clubs did not host non-qualifying competitions, so there was a real need for “feedback before the big qualifier”. Differing from Howard Taylor's recollections of CCIA history, Margery Co-Chaired the first CCIA competition with Joan Burns in 1968 at the Burlingame Ice Arena, which was hosted by El Camino Ice Skating Club. Margery served two terms as CCIA Co-Chairman, (now known as Co-President), and was the Chair of the Competitions Committee for several years. The current officers and delegates of CCIA salute Margery Schleh for all her work and innovative actions throughout her affiliation with ice skating that benefit our skaters of today, locally and nationally.
CCIA History Series: Gary Schroeder
Esteemed Founding Father of Vaca Valley Figure Skating Club
I began figure skating in the early 60’s and quickly joined the Arctic Blades FSC in Paramount, Ca. I was never interested in competing, however, I did get involved with club’s activities such as playing music and announcing for their competitions. Somewhere along the way I found myself trial judging figures and eventually working up to ‘intermediate’ level judge. I also did some trial judging at the 1966 National Figure Skating Championships at the Berkeley rink while working for a ‘high test’ appointment. We stayed at the Claremont hotel in Berkeley and after we finished a day at the rink, I remember walking into the hotel lobby and finding Peggy Fleming and Janet Lynn standing there, shuffling their feet to get a good electrical charge from the carpet and then zapping me as I walked by. Peggy and I were both members of the ABFSC, but I never got even with her for that jolt.
I continued to enjoy the sport of figure skating, taking occasional lessons from the local coaches at the Paramount rink, including John Nicks. But even though judging was an interesting path, I eventually set it aside and focused more on announcing and music for competitions. This turned out to be my most rewarding adventure throughout the years. I announced for many competitions in southern California which included non-quals, Regional and Sectional events. In 1969 I traveled to Washington to announce for the National Championships in Seattle. In Long Beach, California (my home town) I was the chief announcer for the 1972 National Championships. Then, in 1975, I announced for the National Championships at the Oakland Coliseum.
Although electronics engineering is my professional occupation, I am also a pilot and hold a commercial broadcast license. Theater production has always been a fascination of mine. I specialize in production sound and lighting which also involved ice rinks, such as putting a new sound system in the old original Blue Jay rink and installing a club sound system for the ABFSC in the Paramount rink. Then, in the late 70’s, I moved north and settled in the city of Winters, Ca. I worked for 17 years as an electronics engineer for research in the bioscience department at UCD. I also owned and operated a 1000 seat performing arts theater in down town Sacramento for 27 years.
When I moved to this area, it didn’t take long to find out that ice rinks were few and far between. I did, however, find Iceland in Sacramento, the original home of the CCFSC. I became a frequent skater there and got involved with the production of many ice shows at Iceland directed by Jon Johnson. To my delight, I found a newly formed nonprofit group in Fairfield that had the lofty goal of getting a rink built in the area. I became a (sort of) founding member of this group called “Solano Blades on Ice”. We tried to get the city of Fairfield interested in an ice rink, but to no avail. However, when we approached the city of Vacaville, the response was positive. So, working with the city and potential investors, the Vacaville rink was born! When the “new” Vacaville rink was in the design stage, I was called on to design and install the multi-rink sound system there. A short time later, a few members of the Solano Blades group, including myself, became the founding fathers of the Vaca Valley FSC.
After the dust settled from the new rink and new club, I became happily involved with CCIA and eventually the chairperson of the music committee. I am a USFS appointed Sectional announcer and Regional appointed music coordinator. But the most special event in my life as a participant in this great sport of ice skating, is meeting my lovely wife Heather.
CCIA History Series: Jill Shipstad Thomas
A Positive Influence on Tahoe FSC Members
Jill Shipstad Thomas
Although Jill Shipstad Thomas was not a home club member of Tahoe Figure Skating Club, she was an important figure at the South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena as a coach to some of its members. Tahoe FSC heartily appreciates her positive legacy to this young, tiny club by imparting skating skills and a love of the sport to her students. Many people remember this lovely lady as positive, cheerful, glamorous, and energetic. "She made everyday a good day."
Jill was born May 27, 1944, in San Mateo, California, to skating legends Roy Shipstad and Bess Ehrhardt. At age 17 she joined the ice show her father had co-founded, "Shipstad and Johnson's Ice Follies." She was a principal performer in those productions as well as in "Holiday on Ice" and in TV and theatrical productions for over 20 years.
When her performing career was over she became a highly respected coach and choreographer, working with many national, world, and Olympic competitors. At the time of her death, September 19, 2013, she was still choreographing for "Disney on Ice" with which she had been associated for over 30 years.
Jill married fellow skater Bill Thomas in 1976 and in 1980 they built a home in Incline Village, before moving to Minden, Nevada in 1996. Tahoe Figure Skating Club will always remember her fondly.
CCIA History Series: Mary Louise Riley
A Life Working in the House That Snoopy Built
Mary Louise Riley
Moving from Toronto, Canada in 1966, Mary Louise Riley quickly became involved, along with her family, in skating activities at the original ice rink in Santa Rosa, until its closure in 1967. When the beautiful new Redwood Empire Ice Arena opened in 1969, Mary Louise instituted the Basic Test Program, (later named Basic Skills Program), at Redwood Empire Ice Arena. U.S. Figure Skating commended Mary Louise on this excellent work for the Basic Test Program, which also enabled Junior Coaches to receive P.E. credit for instructing for the Basic Test Program. During the time Mary Louise started the Basic Test Program, she also revitalized Santa Rosa Figure Skating Club, which had 15 members at the time, to build it to a membership of 187 members. Santa Rosa Figure Skating Club was one of the first clubs to hold the CCIA Competition at the Redwood Empire Ice Arena in the early 70s, and Mary Louise has served on the LOC and/or in volunteer positions for all CCIA competitions held at that arena.
Mary Louise Riley started her committee work for U.S. Figure Skating in 1969 on the Public Relations Committee to eventually sit on several off shoots of the P.R. Committee, such as, Program Development Committee, Therapeutic Skating Committee, and Basic Test Committee. For Santa Rosa Figure Skating Club, she chaired a number of their ice shows. Mary Louise chaired the extremely successful Christmas Fantasy 1971 show. Charles Schultz was so impressed, he asked Mary Louise and SRFSC to keep producing these shows every Christmas! However, SRFSC declined due to lack of time for club families around the holidays, and Schultz went on to produce his own very successful Christmas shows for many years, while SRFSC held their shows in the spring.
In addition to coaching, SRFSC, and U.S. Figure Skating work, Mary Louise competed on the Senior Precision Team, (synchronized skating team), for Santa Rosa Figure Skating Club, ending her competitive career with them in 2003, and skating her last show in 2004. We salute and thank you Mary Louise Riley for all your work and support of Santa Rosa Figure Skating Club, the Central California Inter-Club Association and U.S. Figure Skating Skating through the years!
Mary Louise Riley 2nd from Right
Mary Louise Riley on the Right
CCIA History Series: Mary Panyan
Creating a Strong University ISC of San Jose Today and Past CCIA Chair
For Mary Panyan it all began when her mother Johanna and her father Steve (US Air Force) met in Queens Skating rink in London during World War II. As it happens, the Panyans moved to San Francisco and then “Along Comes Mary”. Mary began accompanying her mother to Sutro’s at the age of four. Mostly, she remembers the street level amusement area; the 110 steps down to the ice rink level; the glassed off area where there were swimming pools; and especially, the matching royal blue skating dresses that she and her mother wore.
It turns out that a couple of Johanna’s friends from London had also moved to this country: Jean Westwood (British, European and World Ice Dance Champion) and Edi Sholdan (coach of several world champions at the Broadmoor). Since Jean Westwood was coaching in Lake Placid, it was inevitable that Mary and Mother would travel to Lake Placid for Mary’s first summer of skating. Under Jean’s coaching, and propped by Hayes Alan Jenkins, Mary completed Preliminary Ice Dance test and, under the coaching of Howard Nicholson, her Preliminary and First Figure tests that first summer of skating. Later, Mary skated at the Broadmoor under Edi Shouldan, Jean Westwood, and Carlo Fassi. From there Mary’s skating career continued on to 8th figure and Senior Free Skating tests (and sufficient falls to convince her that, “Ice is a slippery surface”.
Then no more skating until after her two daughters arrived and the oldest turned four. You guessed it! They got into skating and that got Mary back into skating and judging. As daughters went on to college Mary began skating for herself. Mary met Robin Pape “on-ice” and they competed in ice dancing at the adult level. Mary and older daughter Michelle competed on the Ice Symmetrics Synchro team in the US and in Switzerland. Mary and younger daughter Mindy competed on both the California Gold, when Mindy attended UCLA, and on North Carolina Ice Synchro team when Mindy pursued her PhD at UNC. (Just think of the frequent flyer miles Mary and Robin accumulated!). Then there were all the great dance competitions with coach and partner Peter Sasmore. She does have her Adult Gold Dance test but still hopes to reach her goal of completing Standard Pre Gold dances. Meantime, she thoroughly enjoys skating the Solo Dance events with all the “young’uns”.
Mary has been Central Pacific Regional Sanction Chair, CCIA Competition Chair, CCIA Secretary, and CCIA Co-Chair (each a few times over). She is President of University ISC of San Jose. In official rolls, she is Sectional Technical Specialist, Regional Data Operator, NQ Technical Controller, Sectional Competition Singles & Pairs judge, and Sectional/Novice Dance judge.
CCIA History Series: Joan Burns
Past CCIA Chairman and Co-Creator of Peninsula Skating Club
Peninsula Skating Club is proud to recommend Joan Burns for the CCIA History Series on her past and continuous work in our local skating community, as well as her work for U.S. Figure Skating and the ISU. Her judging career spans over 50 years, starting in 1963, and includes National and International competitions for the past 40 years. Joan judged 14 Nationals from 1975 to 2002 and 22 International competitions from 1982 to 2002. Joan is very proud to have served as Team Leader for ISU Tours following Worlds each year, held in Europe and Asia, from 1986 to 2001. Her service to U.S. Figure Skating has been long and extensive. Not only did Joan serve as a U.S. Figure Skating Board member from 1984 to 1987, but she also sat on various U.S. Figure Skating committees from 1992 to 2007. These committees included- Protocol, Judges, International, Singles and Pairs, 75th Anniversary, and Nominating Committees. She continues to serve on the Hall of Fame Committee today.
Like many judges, Joan started her involvement in our sport as a competitive figure skater. During the 1948 Regionals at Berkeley Iceland, which included the entire state of California at that time, she competed in the Novice Ladies event, and won the Silver medal in a field of 40 skaters. Joan went on to Sectionals in Seattle to take 4th place in the Freeskate. In 1948, Joan was a member of St Moritz Ice Skating Club! Unfortunately, polio ended her competitive career in 1949.
Shortly before her judging career began, Joan was a skate parent, accompanying her son, Michael, to the Burlingame rink. She became involved in the El Camino Ice Skating Club, and held various offices, such as, Test Chair, Secretary, and President. It was through her work as Membership Chairman for U.S. Figure Skating, 1981 to 1984, that the project began to merge the El Camino Ice Skating Club, the Silver Edge Club of Sunnyvale, and the Crystal Springs Figure Skating Club into Peninsula Skating Club. This merger was formalized in 1983 with the approval of U.S. Figure Skating, as well as the approval of the membership of the three above mentioned clubs, which produced one strong membership. By 1991, PSC hosted a major event, Skate America, with Joan Burns and Roy Cofer as Event Chairs. Peninsula Skating Club also went on to host the World Championships in Oakland in 1992, along with St Moritz Ice Skating Club. It was in the 1990s that Joan served as Peninsula Skating Club's President for 3 terms.
The Central California Interclub Association thanks Joan Burns for her service with the CCIA, as well. Joan was Co-President, (formerly called Co-Chairman), in the 1970s/80s for two terms. She Co-Chaired her first term with Howard Taylor, and then subsequently with Roy Cofer, and Nola Joy. In 1970 Joan was the Event Chair for the CCIA Competition, which was held in Burlingame, and hosted by the El Camino Ice Skating Club. Joan Burns helped shape our skating community of today, and continues to work toward the successful future of our sport.
CCIA History Series: Howard G. Taylor
Founder of the Central California Inter-Club Association
In the next installment of the CCIA History Series, we honor Howard G. Taylor of St. Moritz Ice Skating Club, a National referee and dance judge and one of the original organizers of the Central California Inter-Club Association. He was 1st Vice President of US Figure Skating, former Judges Committee Chair, and President and Honorary President of St. Moritz ISC. He dedicated his life to the sport of figure skating. During his skating career, Howard was a National dance competitor, and so the CCIA annually presents the Howard G. Taylor Memorial Trophy to the Ice Dancer who most exemplifies excellence in the Free Dance events at the Central California Inter-Club Association Competition.
Howard Taylor and Joyce Skrak
CCIA History Series: Elinor Hickox
First Judges Bureau Chair
The first Judges Bureau Chair for the Central California Interclub Association was Elinor Hickox. Elinor, her husband, Lute, a judge for U.S. Figure Skating and her children Laurie and Bill Hickox, were all members of The Skating Club of San Francisco, Inc.
Laurie and Bill Hickox
Laurie and Bill were the bronze medalists at the 1961 U.S. Championships in the Senior Pairs event. These talented skaters were on the 1961 U.S. team traveling to the World Championships, and lost their lives when Sabena Flight 548 crashed near Brussels, Belgium. All 72 people on that plane perished, which included U.S. team members Ina Rae and Ray Hadley, 1960 U.S. Silver Pairs Champions, of Seattle Skating Club.
Four years after the tragedy of losing the 1961 U.S. team, The Skating Club of San Francisco, Inc. and Seattle Skating Club jointly created a memorial pairs trophy in honor of Laurie and Bill Hickox and Ina Rae and Ray Hadley to be awarded at the 1966 Pacific Coast Championships. SCSF president, Sam Singer, and his pairs partner, Barbara Ray, also of The Skating Club of San Francisco, won that first trophy for the Junior Pairs event, as the 1966 Junior Pairs Champions!
Barbara Ray and Sam Singer