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Marjorie Ricker

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RICKER, MARJORIE, 88, passed away peacefully with family by her side on Jan. 16, 2013. Oldest daughter to Herbert and Ruth
Ricker, Marge was born in Providence, RI, on August 5, 1924. Living most of her life in Orlando and Winter Garden, FL, Marge lived a full life. As a young girl, Marge "ruled" the neighborhood, winning marble matches and leading the neighborhood kids on various adventures. As a young woman, she served her country first as a "riveter" (1942-1944), and then as a corporal in the Women's Army Air Corp (1944-1946). After completing her BS from Stetson University in 1950, Marge served her community as a math and history teacher for over 30 years, and inspired hundreds of children to embrace math, history, and sports. Marge may be best known for her coaching years with the Orlando Rebels, who, as part of the Women's Major League Fast-Pitch Softball Organization, was a spring/summer staple at the then Varner Stadium. The Orlando Rebels earned many regional championships and in 1981 won the Amateur Softball Association's National Championship. Marge continued to coach the Orlando Rebels as they represented the United States in goodwill tournaments in Taiwan and Holland, and she also traveled in Canada as coach with the Sun Sox. After retiring from teaching and as coach of the Orlando Rebels (and what she affectionately called, "the Jr. Rebels," the softball training program for young girls), Marge returned to coach the West Orange High School Girl's Fast-Pitch Softball Team, leading them to a State Championship win in 1994 at the young age of 70. To this day, this state championship is the only team championship honor earned by West Orange High School. Marge's desire to continue to support women's fast pitch softball and create college-level scholarships and opportunities for young women resulted in the development and operation of the "Rebel Spring Games," a three-week, collegiate fast-pitch softball program for Division 1-3 level colleges and universities throughout the nation. This program of 35 years brings in over 100 teams, providing an opportunity to hone their skills and enjoy the central Florida area. While Marge coached many award winning teams and provided many training opportunities, she was also recognized for her talent as a coach and athlete. After retiring from teaching, Marge studied and earned the level of 3rd Degree Black Belt in Tai-Kwon-Do. She was honored locally with awards from various sports organizations, and in 1980, was inducted into the National Amateur Softball Association's Hall of Fame for coaching. At West Orange High School, the softball field was named in her honor on April 22, 2004. Adding to her accomplishments, Marge was an avid cyclist, traveler and photographer, enjoying many trips to all continents except Australia. She cycled the United States from Ocean to Ocean twice, and cycled through New Zealand. She loved to spend time with the local people and learn their customs. Marge is pre-deceased by her parents, her oldest brother, Dr. Lawrence H. Ricker and his wife, Faye, and brothers-in-law Warren Grainge and Jack McKay Dyer, Sr. Marge is survived by two loving sisters, Dorothy
Grainge (Wesley Chapel) and
Barbara Dyer (Winter Haven), six nieces, five nephews, over 25 great nieces and nephews, and over 12 great-great nieces and nephews. She leaves behind a special bond and fondness for her oldest nephew Jack McKay Dyer, Jr., and his wife, Terri, who shared many a fishing trip and meal together. Hundreds of friends, team-mates, players, and students will always remember the positive impact Marge had on them not only in sports but also life. She lived her life like her philosophy on playing sports - "Have fun but play seriously." She lived a fun life and lived it seriously! Inurnment arrangements will be announced on the Collison Carey Hand Funeral Home website, http://www.collisoncareyhand.com. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Rebel Spring Games Memorial Fund, c/o Kevin Billiau, 1201 Beckwith NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505, in honor of Marge Ricker.

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Published in the Orlando Sentinel on Jan. 27, 2013
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