‘He was a big influencer’ — Bob Stanger remembered for positive impact on local sports

Bob Stanger, middle, is pictured with his son Mike, left, and grandson Logan. CONTRIBUTED

HAMILTON — When Mike Stanger was growing up, he knew his father Bob Stanger was an educator. He knew he was an umpire. And he knew he was a coach.

“He played a big part in youth athletics,” Mike Stanger said. “He followed me and my siblings around during our athletic careers. That’s just what he did.”

But what Mike didn’t know is how much his father positively impacted the public until he was old enough to process it.

“When you get older, you start to figure out just how appreciative you should be when it comes to your parents,” Mike Stanger said. “Dad loved what he did. He was always active and vibrant.

“He was a big influencer in many people’s lives.”

That’s exactly how Bob will be remembered. He passed away at 91 on Saturday. Bob and his wife Thelma were married for 68 years and had six children.

“He really did have a good life,” Mike Stanger said. “It’s hard. Everybody thinks their dad is going to live forever — especially my dad.

“But he never met a stranger. He was well known in the Hamilton community. He loved Hamilton, and he bled blue. He was a pillar of the Hamilton community.”

Bob Stanger taught and coached for the Hamilton City School District for 30 years and was a sports official for 45 years. He was an ASA softball umpire and officiated over 20 selected national tournaments.

Bob Stanger also was an accomplished bowler for over 70 years, won multiple awards and bowled numerous 300 games.

“He was bowling in a league up until the end of this past year,” Mike Stanger said of his father, who served as secretary and president for many of those leagues.

For Bob Stanger’s contributions to area athletics, he was inducted into the Butler County Softball Hall of Fame in 2010.

“I saw how much my dad enjoyed being around sports,” Mike Stanger said. “He had a camaraderie about it. My dad was a pretty good athlete, too. He had to give up some of that to take care of our family, and that’s when he started umpiring and officiating for extra income. Then it turned into a passion and a love for it.”

Bob Stanger was a life-long member at First Baptist Church in Hamilton and an accomplished singer.

“The older I got, the more people would come up to me and were like, ‘Man, your dad was one of the best,’” Mike Stanger recollected. “He was great. He just had a great demeanor about him that influenced many.”

Originally from New Jersey, Bob Stanger made his way to the Hamilton area after meeting his wife at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago while away for college.

“He was a faithful man,” Mike Stanger said. “That carried over throughout his whole life. He was just a good person. There’s all there is to it.”

Mike Stanger said he’ll be forever influenced by his father. Mike owns and operates Buckeye Elite, which is vastly growing and successful local sports officiating service.

Mike’s son Logan, who is now a junior high principal, went into education, coaching and officiating from watching his grandfather.

“My dad used to tell about being an educator, a coach and a sports official to Logan. He shared stories with all of his grandchildren, too,” Mike Stanger noted. “He’s the one that inspired me to be a teacher, a coach and an official myself. Even as a young child, I knew eventually that I was going to follow in his footsteps.

“He taught me to value being an athlete and a good teammate. He did the same for others, and that makes us all proud of him.”

OBITUARY — Bob Stanger

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