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The Centralia Sports Hall of Fame Story

   In 1957, long-time Centralia Sentinel Sports Editor, Bill Niepoetter, first wrote in his column “Niep’s Notes” that the City of Centralia needed a Sports Hall of Fame. It took 24 years and the work of Bob Jenkins, a native of Massachusetts, to make it a reality.


photo by Michael Cooley

   In 1981, Jenkins formed a committee consisting of himself, Niepoetter, Bob Jones, Ann Murray, Chuck Mundell, Peno Castellari, and John Abrams. In an amazingly short time the wheels were rolling. 

   The Centralia City Hall’s second floor was chosen as the permanent site, where the plaques and memorabilia would be displayed. In 1996, the display was moved to the new Centralia Recreation Complex.

   The committee decided to induct six individuals the first year, no more than four in each ensuing year, and since has added a team category, a V.I.P. Class, and a Veterans’ category.

   The first year, about sixty persons attended the banquet and induction ceremony, and now it has grown to nearly 200. 

   In 2004, the Donald “Sparky” Meyer Charitable Fund was established by Donald Karchmer and his sister, Ronna Karchmer Newburger, through the Centralia Foundation. This fund, in honor of “Sparky”, will be used to provide funding for the Centralia Sports Hall of Fame. The committee receives no pay, and in fact, pays for their own meals at the banquet. 

   If you have never visited the Centralia Sports Hall of Fame, you should see it. It is impressive in its local sports lore.


Ann Murray, Chuck Mundell, Phillip Venezia, Bob Schmidt, Butch Border,
Maryann Langenfeld, Bill Taylor, Rod White, Dick Carpenter,
David Agee, Craig Freels, Vince Holtkamp, and Mike McManus. MEMBER EMERITUS - Bob Jones


   The Sports Hall of Fame by-laws state that “the Hall of Fame will honor notable sports figures, past and present, for their contributions in their given sports field, which has enhanced and made Centralia a fine sports community.”

   Along with the individual nominations, in 1982 the committee added a team category to this criteria as well.  Also, in 1982, the V.I.P. Award was initiated. This is for someone who may not be a notable athlete but is known for his dedication to supporting athletics and recreation in Centralia.

   Nominations for induction into the Hall of Fame are kept for three years and then they must be nominated again or removed from the list.  Nominations made before January 31 in any particular year will be voted on for that year.  Nominations made after January 31 in any particular year will not be voted on until the next year. 

   To nominate an individual or team click here.


  Anyone wishing to make a tax deductible donation to help fund the Centralia Sports Hall of Fame may do so by contributing to this fund.  

  Please make your check payable to: The Centralia Foundation and designate it to The Donald "Sparky" Meyer Fund.   Your check should be mailed to The Centralia Foundation, 115 East Second Street, Centralia, Illinois, 62801.

   To donate to the Centralia Sports Hall of Fame click here.      



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