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Kaufman, Joan

By Jeneane Lesko

As a little girl, Joan lived in Winnebago, IL, about 10 miles west of Rockford. She remembers visiting her grandmother who lived near Beyer Stadium, the home field of the Peaches. "I could hear the games being announced over the loud speakers." Joan grew up to play softball with a semi-pro team called the Rockford Ko-eds. The Ko-eds played a regional schedule among the local farm communities.

In 1954 Joan attended AAGPBL spring tryouts and after graduating high school and at age 18, Joan got the call to join the Peaches. She played second and third base that year and fondly remembers her teammates Dottie Key and Eleanor Callow. "It was a very special, great bunch of gals!" said Joan, "I only wish it had gone on longer!"

After the league folded, Joan worked as a bookkeeper for the local lumber company and also found part-time work as a typist. She then joined the Air Force.

Joan began her Air Force career in personnel. She then became a recruiter and went on to be a superintendent of WAF Military Training. She oversaw 100 instructors and 500 trainees. Joan served on South East Asia and in Thailand. "It was a lot of hard work." Joan recalled.

After 20 years of service, Joan retired from the Air Force. She chose to stay in the San Antonio, Texas area. She then operated her own retail gift shop for 20 years before she retired once again.

Contributed by: Shelley McCann
Submitted on: 06/28/2011

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