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.
As a man devoted to sports, Mick Donahue contributed an essential (and sometimes underappreciated) service to organized sports in Peoria for decades. His passion for athletics began as a youth as a participant in the Salvation Army Junior League Tournament and Proctor Center Basketball League. At Peoria Manual High School in the early 50’s, he played on the baseball team. After graduating from Manual, he was a player/manager on the LeTourneau-Westinghouse team in the old Industrial League, which was one of the nation’s top amateur sports organizations at the time.
Mick spent much of his life coaching, organizing and officiating youth sports in the area, especially baseball, softball, basketball and volleyball. He volunteered as a coach from 1957-72 for the St. Boniface Mustangs. Additionally he coached numerous Little League and Pony League teams.
Over the next several decades, he volunteered thousands of hours organizing and administering officials for various league play in the community. Beginning in 1972, he supervised adult softball and basketball leagues for the Peoria Park District. He also scheduled officials/umpires for the area’s catholic grade schools as well as many basketball, baseball, and softball games for the Peoria Public Schools. In his over 30 years with the Peoria Park District, Mick trained, assigned, and supervised officials for adult softball games for leagues at Peoria Stadium and Sterling school. He organized a force of volunteer basketball officials for the Prairie State Games.
Even after his passing in 2011, his legacy in sports continued to have a positive impact for a charitable cause. As a tribute and acknowledgement of his decades of dedication to local softball leagues, a Mick Donahue Memorial Tournament was held in August of 2013, on the park district diamonds near Peoria Stadium. Many teams participated and many others, including umpires, volunteered their services. Proceeds from the successful event were donated to the PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease) Foundation, a disease being fought by his granddaughter. Concurrent with the tournament, a park bench was dedicated near the large diamond near Peoria Stadium. The small plaque affixed to the bench, reads, “In Memory of Mick Donahue for his dedication to softball and the Peoria Park District.”