History of the Memorial Fund

Feb. 15, 1961 was a day of excitement as the entire U.S. World Figure Skating Team, officials, coaches, family members and friends boarded an airplane bound for Prague, Czechoslovakia. They were on their way to represent the United States at the World Figure Skating Championships.

The flight was to arrive in Brussels, Belgium the next morning and then continue on to Prague, but something went terribly wrong. The plane went down in a field just four miles from the Brussels airport. The crash left no survivors. All 18 members of the U.S. Figure Skating Team, 16 international officials, judges, coaches and family members perished, as well as the 27 other passengers and a flight crew of 11.

The skating community and the world were shocked by this tragedy. Against the wishes of U.S. Figure Skating and the Czech government, the Executive Committee of the International Skating Union voted that the championships be canceled "as a sign of mourning over the death of our American comrades."

On February 23, 1961, the U.S. Figure Skating Memorial Fund was established in honor of the 18 U.S. athletes who lost their lives. The U.S. Figure Skating Executive Committee decided it would be more than just a monument; it would be a "living memorial" giving something back to the skating community.

To this day, the U.S. Figure Skating Memorial Fund continues to provide qualified U.S. Figure Skating skaters with the monetary assistance necessary to pursue their goals both on and off the ice. The Memorial Fund is committed to awarding skating and academic scholarships to athletes who demonstrate excellent competitive results and/or academic achievements, as well as a future potential in national and international competition.

The team members, coaches, officials and judges lost in the crash

A tragedy shook the figure skating world when Flight 548, carrying the World Figure Skating Team in Brussels, Belgium, crashed and all aboard were lost. From this loss arose the U.S. Figure Skating Memorial Fund to benefit all future figure skaters. Instrumental in the start of this living memorial was the president of U.S. Figure Skating at the time, F. Ritter Shumway.

Read more ...

Bradley Lord
U.S. men's champion, North American silver medalist
Gregory Kelley
Runner-up men's champion, North American bronze medalist
Douglas Ramsay
Fourth place U.S. and North American championships
(Ramsay was assigned to the team as an alternate for U.S. bronze medalist Tim Brown, who cancelled the trip due to an illness)

Laurence R. Owen
U.S. and North American ladies champion, 1960 Olympic and World competitor
Stephanie Westerfeld
Runner-up U.S. ladies champion
Rhode Lee Michelson
U.S. ladies bronze medalist

Maribel Y. Owen
(sister of Laurence) and Dudley Richards
U.S. pairs champions, North American silver medalists
Ila Ray Hadley and Ray Hadley (brother and sister)
U.S. pairs silver medalists, members of the 1960 Olympic and World teams
Laurie Hickox and William Hickox (brother and sister)
U.S. pairs bronze medalists

Diane C. Sherbloom
and Larry Pierce
U.S. dance champions
Dona Lee Carrier and Roger Campbell
U.S. and North American dance silver medalists
Patricia and Robert Dineen (husband and wife)
Third place U.S. dance medalists

Maribel V. Owen
Coach to daughters Laurence and Maribel Y. Owen
Linda Hadley
Coach and mother to Ila Ray Hadley and Ray Hadley
Edi Scholdan
William Kipp
Daniel Ryan
William Swallender

Officials and Judges
Walter S. Powell
International referee and member of the International Skating Union Executive Committee
Harold Hartshorne
Former national dance champion and world judge
Deane E. McMinn
Team manager, International and Olympic judge
Edward LeMaire
National judge and former champion

Team and Family Members
Ann Campbell
Mother of dance competitor Roger Campbell
Louise Hartshorne
Wife of World dance judge Harold Hartshorne
Nathalie Kelley
Sister of Gregory Kelley
Richard LeMaire
Son of national judge Edward LeMaire
James Scholdan
Son of coach Edi Scholdan
Sharon Westerfeld
Sister of Stephanie Westerfeld