NeveHarms Tom Lowery, long-time Peoria Youth Sports figure, has been named co-winner of the 1991 Neve Harms Meritorious Service to Sports Award. He has a Masters Degree from Sangamon State University and works as a Management Analyst.
A life-long Peorian, Tom is a graduate of Manual where he lettered in three sports. He developed his baseball skills under the late Ed Stonebock, beginning as an eight-year-old little leaguer and lasting through a State Tournament Championship his senior year.
Lowery has served as Director of the Averyville and Woodruff Youth Baseball programs since 1971. His involvement as founder of the program grew out of his desire to involve Northside youth in sports rather than the streets. His teams have won over 50 League and Tournament titles, including Peoria City Little League and Pony League Championships. He was the driving force in youth programs in the Averyville area for many years, offering year-round activities for the neighborhood youth in baseball, basketball, bowling and table tennis. He also coached grade school basketball at Christ Lutheran School and led his team to the title game of the prestigious Lutheran Tournament. Lowery-coached men's basketball teams won 8 Peoria league titles, 15 tournament titles and in 1976 finished in the top 8 at the National men's Lutheran tourney.
Lowery has been a long-time participant in the Illinois Central College Basketball program with Lorene Ramsey and Carroll Herman, serving in several capacities including Radio and TV announcer, PA announcer, Statistician, Sports Information Director, photographer, and promotional services ó all as a volunteer. He is currently on the Board of Directors of the Old Timers Baseball Association.
As Youth Baseball Director, Tom is now involved in the drive to develop the Riverfront Youth Athletic Field at Woodruff Park. This ambitious endeavor will provide a centralized lighted baseball facility for Peoria's youth for the first time - a veritable "Field of Dreams" for Director Tom, who has had over 3500 boys and girls participate in his programs.
Tom Lowery, long-time Peoria Youth Sports figure, has been named co-winner of the 1991 Neve Harms Meritorious Service to Sports Award. He has a Masters Degree from Sangamon State University and works as a Management Analyst.
Hockey was a sport local fans could watch only if they went to Chicago or St. Louis until BardezBanian founded the Peoria Stars in 1959.
The two were with the Pekin Stars until 1970, when they formed the Peoria Blades, on the outdoor rink at Logan, in 1971. The Logan "bubble" went up the next year and the Blades, through membership in the Continental League, gave Peoria a solid taste of hockey.
BardezBanian played with the Blades for a few years, then became president while Olson always served as the team's general manager.
And the two gave hockey a boost whenever they could. BardezBanian coached the Bradley University club team for many years and both were instrumental in starting and maintaining youth hockey in Pekin and Peoria.
Both are now retired, Olson from Caterpillar's Mossville plant and BardezBanian from a management position with the City of Peoria.