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Mary V. Dagraedt, 88, of Davie, FL passed away July 1, 2019 from complications of a stroke suffered on November 2, 2018, surrounded by her family.
A private Mass of Christian burial will be at 11AM, July 20at St. Patrick’s Church in LaSalle, with the Very Rev. Father Paul Carlson, officiating. A Celebration of Life is being planned for August 18, from 3:00 until 6:00 PM at Spring Creek Golf Course in Spring Valley, Mary’s Home away from Home. Interment will be at St Joseph’s Cemetery in Webster Park at a later date. Mary will be buried with her parents, Henry & Martha.
Arrangements are entrusted to Hurst Funeral Home in LaSalle, IL.
Mary was born January 2, 1931 in LaSalle, IL , the youngest of four children, to Henry & Martha(Lopatiz) Dagraedt. Growing up she attended St Patrick’s Grade School & LaSalle-Peru Township High School. She continued her education at LPO Junior College for one year and then transferred to Illinois State University, where she earned a bachelor’s & master’s degree in Education.
Mary is survived by her brother Gilbert T. Dagraedt of Utica, IL. Gilbert’s children; nieces, Peggy Shinnick of Ottawa, IL, Kathy(Dale) Rossi of Oglesby, IL and a nephew, Mark(Juliane) Dagraedt of Cherry, IL, her sister-in-law, Janice(Richard) Dagraedt of Sun City West, AZ and several great nephews & nieces.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents & her brothers Henry Dagraedt & Richard Dagraedt.
Mary was a star athlete, the pride of the Illinois Valley. Throughout her high school & college years, she excelled in every sport she attempted including tennis, softball, basketball, volleyball, and field hockey, winning many trophies & awards. There was nothing she couldn’t do & do well. The result of this was a place in the Illinois State University Athletics Hall of Fame, her first of five Hall of Fames, including the LPGA Teaching & Coaching Hall of Fame, the National Golf Coaches Hall of Fame, the Florida Community College Activities Hall of Fame & the Sports Society Hall of Fame.
But it wasn’t until Mary took a crash course in golf in 1951 , to prepare herself for a student teaching job, that she realized her true passion, a passion, she says, that has not faded through the decades. Golf became her life.
Mary went on to share her love for the sport with thousands of students. For 38 years, she was the head professional at Spring Creek Golf Course in Spring Valley, IL, where she still holds the course record, and has for over 50 years. Through the years, she taught golf lessons at six courses in the Illinois Valley. Mary was also the head golf professional at Hollywood Lakes Country Club in Florida, until 1986 when she went on to become the head teaching professional at Sunrise Country Club as well as the head teaching pro at Raintree Country Club .
She initiated the golf program at Miami-Dade North Community College and led her Women’s team to 18 consecutive state championships & the first ever awarded, national title in 1978 & then again in 1980 & 1981. She coached Miami-Dade & Florida International University simultaneously and was influential in the lives & careers of girls from around the world, sending over 70 of her students to the LPGA to pursue careers either on the tour or as teaching/coaching professionals. Mary is the only person to receive all three of the LPGA Teaching & Club Professional top honors: National Teacher of the Year in 1974, National Coach of the Year in 1981 and National Professional of the Year in 1984.
Mary also co-authored a book with Bruce Fossum, “Golf” in 1974 on the rules of golf. Because the rules of golf were her forte- she was appointed as the first certified official in the history of golf by the PGA. She officiated the News Tribune Tournament in IL for over 30 years as well as major tournaments in Florida & around the country. She was scheduled to officiate the Doral in Florida in 2018, until her health took a turn for the worse.
Mary’s passion for life didn’t end on the golf course. She was the most compassionate, generous person you could ever know, giving to over 50 charities every year & never turning her back on a friend. Mary was often more like a mother than a coach to the members of her golf team, often providing housing, meals & clothing.
Her love for golf was nearly paralleled by her love for clothing. She clothed the entire Dagraedt family as well as most of her friends in the latest line of golf attire her entire life, even if they were not golfers. She would think nothing of pulling a stranger aside on the golf course to tell them that a t-shirt was not proper attire, and that a collared shirt was a better choice. Mary was voted in the top 10 Best Dressed Woman in Golf by Golf Digest.
To Mary, the key to a good golf score was patience & the short game. It’s not how hard you hit the ball, it’s how well you hit the ball. Never up, never in. No mulligans in golf. In golf and in life: Play by the rules and always follow through.
Memorials may be directed to the family. We would like to establish a scholarship in Mary’s name to keep her legacy alive.
Rest in peace to a legend!