Eastern Pennsylvania Horseshoe Pitchers Association:

Great Pennsylvania Pitchers and friends of EPHPA

Now passed ... Much missed... Always part of the game!

Has a deceased pitcher from your area made a difference in your lives and the sport of pitching horseshoes? Want to memorialize a local pitcher for his or her accomplishments? Send us an email and/or photo with the details.

Darle Esh (June 10, 2018)

Darle L. Esh of Milroy, passed away June 10, 2018.
Darle was a long-time member of the Mifflin County Horseshoe Club in Reedsville, PA.
He was the Regional Director for the Pennsylvania National Horseshoe Pitchers' Association.
He was in the PA Horseshoe Hall of Fame.
Darle was also a 1998 World Champion Horseshoe Pitcher.

No additional information provided for these pitchers
Please send any details or summaries to webmaster for posting:

JoAn Douglas (Feb 2, 2021)
Ivan Header (Jan 22, 2021)
Kelly Ginther from the Beaver Falls Club passed away on Wednesday March 22, 2017
Herm Specht, Reedsville
Jesse Clark, Boiling Springs
Joe Shipula (Dallas)
Glenn Jameson (NHPA Statistician)
Ken Battram (founder, Susquehanna Valley Horseshoe Club)
Ron Gillette (Groton, NY)

Robert (Bob) Matthews / Western Pennsylvania Horseshoe Pitchers Association (July 3, 2017)

Many Eastern Pennsylvania Horseshoe Pitchers have had the pleasure of /pitching with Bob who passed away suddenly on 7/3/2017. In addition to holding offices in the Western PA Charter, he also was a tournament director for multiple tournaments as well as a state tournament director.

Richard A. (Dick) Forshey Lock Haven / Mackeyville Horseshoe Club (April 1, 2017)

Dick lost a courageous battle with cancer on April 1,2017 A retired Pa. State Trooper, Dick was an avid golfer, bowler, and horseshoe pitcher.

One of his fondest memories was spending a week camping at Gifford Pinchot State Park with his wife Barb and close friends Donna & Jim Wech. However, this was only a place to rest, for the next day he would be at the York Fairgrounds to help set-up, keep score, and pitch in the 2008 World Tournament.

Dick cherished the friendships and �family� atmosphere of our association and deeply regretted that he couldn�t find enough time to participate more often.

He and Barb were foster parents to over 100 children, as well as serving on the Clinton County Fairboard, Dick was also the Fair Manager and served for several years as president of the Central Mountain Band and IIndoor Guard Assoc.

Always involved in something, Dick made a lasting impact on our community and everyone he came in contact with. He will be sorely missed, but always remembered!

Terry Halvorsen, Marcus Hook, PA (February 2016)

Submitted by David Holliday:
Many of you that knew Terry know that he truly loved the game of horseshoes and was an avid supporter. Over the past 15 years, Terry competed in every World Tournament, except for two, amassing an impressive performance record.During that span, he complied a record of 139 wins and 53 losses. At the 2007 WT in Oklahoma, Terry finished 1st in the Men's Class I1 grouping, going undefeated with a record of 15-0!! He also had three 2nd place finishes ('01, '10, and '13), along with four 3rd place finishes ('08, '09, '11, and '12). He was also a much appreciated volunteer at the WT in Pennsylvania.

Terry was from the southeastern PA region and a regular member of a summer league run by Bill Combs. He was a tough competitor on the horseshoe courts, and more importantly, was a very respectful competitor who always exhibited great sportsmanship.

Outside of horseshoes, Terry had other remarkable skills as well. He was an excellent guitar player and could sing as well. He would often travel to Veteran's centers in the region to perform for the veterans. During the 2008 WT in York, I recall one evening hearing someone playing and singing a Johnny Cash song and remember it sounding very good, so I followed the music...and it was Terry!

From Dale Estep: "Terry showed up to help us set up for the WT in 2008. He busted his butt helping us, and his jovial personality made the work melt away. On a personal note, I remember him complimenting me for my singing ability during the set up (a compliment heard ONLY from Terry, others had a much different opinion!) Terry and I would take turns with our country music memories. Terry had a great voice and also played the guitar."

We've all lost a wonderful person, horseshoe player, and friend. He will be missed.

Sam Schrantz (July 15, 2015)

Sam and Jane Schrantz, shown here in the last tournament they pitched in Florida, were regulars at many different Eastern Pennsylvania tournaments as well as pitching in Florida over the winters. They frequently showed up in their RV the night before, joined us to help with pre and post tournament work, and shared laughter and stories.

They both excelled at horseshoe pitching, and Jane made a gorgeous quilt out of their many award patches. Sam passed away July 15, 2015 at 73 years old, and he will be sorely missed.

Thanks to Jane Schrantz for providing the following information about Sam:

Sam and Jane wintered in Clermont, Florida for the past 20 years. Sam lived his whole live in Northampton. His parents moved to their farm in 1946 and grew rose bushes, and Sam helped since he was 5 years old.

Sam was a graduate of Coplay High School class of 1960, and served in the Marines after graduation

Besides the rose business, they grew wheat and corn. The roses took up most of the time as it was like having a lot of babies. Each year Sam and Jane planted 10,000 seedlings which were grafted. It was a 2 year process to get a bush, so they had 20,000 bushes in the field all the time. They shipped bushes as far as Hawaii and most were sent to the west coast where they grow the most bushes. They were the only grower east of the Mississippi River in the USA.

Sam retired from Bethlehem Steel as a machinist of 30 years, and from that point, farmed full time. This gave them 4 months to head south for warm weather until it was time to get back to the roses and plant corn. One day in the campground, a guy asked Sam to pitch as they needed an extra, so he did. That started it all.

Then in 2008 everyone seemed to say they should join NHPA as both of them were pitching pretty fair. So one day, Jane got information from the computer, called Dale Estep and went to their tournament in Dallas, PA. Jane won first place in her class and Sam did not do bad either. From then, they packed up the RV Friday mornings, and headed out to a tournament every weekend.

They went to the World Tournament in Knoxville TN and Sam came in 3rd place in his class. Jane was able to beat him until he turned 70 and moved up to 30 feet, then his average jumped 15% just about overnight. Sam�s average was about 50-55%.

Our best wishes go out to Jane Schrantz on the loss of Sam.

Jack Swyers, Reedsville, PA (June 18th, 2014)

Jack Swyers was 98 and passed away Wednesday June 18th, 2014 at River Terrace estates in Bluffton Indiana. He was a 1935 graduate of Lewistown High School and was a member of United Methodist Church. He served in the U.S. Navy during WW II as a pharmacist mate, third class in Bainbridge, Md. Earlier in life he was assistant manager for G C Murphy & Co.

Jack was an avid horseshoe player and was responsible for establishing horseshoe courts in several communities wherever his family had been residing at the time. Jack was among the first to establish the Mifflin County Horseshoe club in Reedsville, PA. which a lot of us local folk called his second home. He was inducted into the PA Horseshoe Hall of Fame in 1981.

He hasn't pitched in the last 5 years or so but his heart was still in the game of horseshoes. I can remember his long time license plate on that old ford van ( 3 ring 3) and his round wind up and many more things that will keep his memory going for a while.

Jack Swyers truly loved the game and was a great competitor. Hats off to a great Horseshoe pitcher and a great friend. He truly loved the game and the competition.

Frank McAllen, Roxbury(June 20, 2010)

Former EPHPA President, good friend, and long-time NHPA member Frank McAllen passed away on Sunday 6/20/2010.

This is a tremendous loss to our charter. Many of you know that Frank was one of the kindest and warmest human beings you would ever want to know. We will all certainly miss Frank�s gentle smile, his quiet calm, his professionalism and skill on the horseshoe courts, and the invaluable leadership he provided to our organization over the years.

John Urbanc, Dallas

John Urbanc was a founding father of the Dallas Area Horseshoe Club. John loved his community and he loved the game of horseshoes. Those two loves merged at the Luzerne County Fair Grounds.

As 1976 approached, a gentleman by the name of Ray Greenlaw of Philadelphia decided that his hometown would be a fitting location for the 1976 NHPA World Tournament. In spite of the fact that John lived in the little town of Lake Silkworth, approximately 100 miles away, he became one of Ray's staunchest supporters in the quest to bring the world tournament to Philadelphia.

Ray and John's dream became reality, and in 1976 the NHPA World Horseshoe Tournament was held in Bristol Township near Philadelphia. After that World Tournament John purchased Mr. Greenlaw's indoor horseshoe court building for $1,400.00. For another $100.00 John was able to have the dismantled building brought to Luzerne County. John was actively involved with the Luzerne County Fair Board and was able to arrange for the new "horseshoe building" to be placed on the Fair's property, becoming the first building on what is now the Luzerne County Fairgrounds. It remains the proud home of the Dallas Area Horseshoe Club.

In 1978 John arranged to add 5 regulation horseshoe courts next to the new horseshoe building. The project was completed with the help of several young men, including Al (Peanuts) Long and Bernie Wierbowski. Over the next couple of years courts number six, seven and eight were added to complete the present day configuration of the Dallas facilities.

John was a regular participant at tournaments each summer and served as the Dallas Club Tournament Director until 1982 when Peanuts Long assumed the duty. John's love of community continued for years with his commitment to the Luzerne County Fair Grounds, the Lake Silkworth Fire Company, and the Dallas Area Horseshoe Club. Our community and our sport suffered a terrible loss when John died tragically in a house fire in 1998, but his memory lives on with all who had the privilege to know him.

It is with the greatest respect that on June 15, 2002 the first annual John Urbanc Memorial Open tournament will be held at the Luzerne County Fairgrounds, on the same courts that John's efforts made possible for future generations.

Rev. Bill Yost, Mackeyville

A dear friend and pitcher, the retired Rev. Bill Yost, was instrumental in forming a Thursday AM league for retirees for the Clinton County Horseshoe League. He spent countless hours helping at the courts while battling ALS. During Fair Week 1997, the pavilion which had been erected in his honor was dedicated.

The spring of 1998, Bill passed on and our annual spring tournament was renamed the BILL YOST MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT.

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