Issue 3-8-15 Website - page 11

Stuart “Vic”Willis
Last week I was checking
the website – “LeRoy Then and
Now” – and noticed that Mike
Vinci had posted a picture of a
paper envelope fromVicWillis’
Sports Shop that he had found in
an old Union Steel Chest tackle
box. Several folks posted com-
ments, including some of Vic’s
relatives. I askedMike, that ifhe
didn’twant tokeep theenvelope,
that itwouldbegreat tohave it at
theHistoricalSociety, andhewas
kind enough to donate it to the
collection. Weareprettysure that
it heldfishing hooks or leaders.
In themeantime, we started to
do a little research. I found some
articles in our clipping file, and
then when Ruth Harvie came in
last Thursday, I asked her what
she knew. She said that a while
ago,GeorgeHall stoppedby and
brought in a similar envelope.
She made a copy and said that
she had found some other in-
formation including an ad in the
1931Oatkan. The admentioned
that the sportinggoods storewas
in the “WissBlock.” Right now,
I am not sure if that is theWiss
Hotel, or another building that
Wissowned. Thatwillneedsome
more sleuthing.
Stuart “Vic”Willis, was born
in Springwater on September 8,
1885. He was the son of Wil-
liam andOrika StuartWillis. He
graduated fromGeneseoNormal
School and attended Rochester
Business Institute. He was first
employed as a clerk inRochester
for the Buffalo, Rochester and
Pittsburgh Railroad and for a
while at theTimesUnion.
Whileheworkedat the railroad
heplayedon their semi-pro team.
Apparently hewas aprettygood
pitcher, andhe tookhisnickname
“Vic” fromawell-knownprofes-
sional pitcher, Vic Willis (who
is in theBaseballHall of Fame.)
An account of one game was
published in theNovember 1918
“B.R. & P. EmployeMagazine.”
It was during the last game of
the season and theB.R.&P. team
had to play the Ritter Dental
team, which was favored 2 to 1
to win. “But quite unheralded
“Vic” Willis, one of the best
left-handed pitchers in Western
NewYorkhadentered theemploy
of this company at the general
offices andManager Taylor lost
no time in securing his services.
He held the Ritter Dental bunch
helplesswhile his team scored 3
runsacross theplategivinghima
victoryby the scoreof 3 to1 and
sending Ritter into 2nd place.”
Vicplayedsemiprofessional and
professionalbaseball forawhile.
Hemoved toLeRoy about the
time he married Marion Rogers
in 1913, and they lived at 22
LincolnAvenue. They had three
daughters, Mrs. John McCul-
ley and Mrs. John Carmichael
and Mrs. Earl Sheard of Stone
Church. Heplayed for theLeRoy
Athletics andwe have an article
from the front page of the
esterDemocrat andChronicle
1927: “LeRoy’s Championship
Baseball Club.” “ The grand old
vet, Vic Willis, pitched himself
toglory, and theLeRoyAthletics
into thechampionshipofWestern
New York out at Baseball Park
ballmachine in thefinal gameof
the littleworldseries,5 to1. With
thevictory, theNationalClothing
Company trophy, symbolicof the
championship of Western New
York, goes to theLeRoy club.”
Vic enjoyed being outdoors
and spent time hunting and fish-
ing in Canada and the Adiron-
dacks. He operated the sporting
goods shop for a while and
worked for the IRS for sixteen
years. He also worked for the
Genesee County Department
of Welfare for a while and was
appointed Undersheriff in 1936
underSheriffForrestBrown. He
died in 1949 and was buried in
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