Marian Kneer, PhD, a supporter of Illinois State University Athletics and Hall of Fame softball player died at the age of 96 on July 3.

“The softball community is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Marian Kneer,” ISU softball head coach Melinda Fischer told “She was very instrumental in the development of girls’ and women’s sports in the ’60s and very well known in the central Illinois area as a physical education teacher at East Peoria High School for nearly 20 years.”

Kneer dedicated her life to the sport of softball. While the Peoria native was a catcher for the University of Michigan she was dubbed “the world’s greatest softball catcher” during the 1950s. Kneer was also important in the inclusion of women’s sports in the Illinois State High School Association. She is a member of ISU’s Percy Hall of Fame in 1976, ISU’s College of Education Hall of Fame in 2004 as well as a member of the Greater Peoria and National Association for Sport and Physical Education Halls of Fame.

JAKE SERMERSHEIM is a Sports Editor for The Vidette. He can be contacted at Follow him on Twitter at @JakeSermersheim

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