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Obituaries: October 2022
Oct. 1, 2022
Robert “Bob” Ireland, 76, of Oconomowoc, WI, died Sept. 3.
Ireland has been with Senior Softball USA for more than two decades and was a long-time player and decision-maker for the Badger Classics team out of Wisconsin.
He was passionate about sports and played softball throughout his life.
“Some of his softball highlights include being able to play with his sons and winning the national senior softball title,” according to his obituary.
He’s been playing with the Badger Classics team since at least 2004, playing with them through the age divisions of 55+ to 70+.
Current manager, Wes Kehl, remembers how important and influential Ireland was to the team. Badger Classics’ original name was Cooney, the name of a local town in Wisconsin. Despite being named after the town’s founder, the name was seen as a derogatory in parts of the country. Upon the team learning this when traveling for tournaments, Bob called a meeting to convince his teammates to change the team’s name.
Although the team meant no harm and didn’t know before, he didn’t want to hurt people and recognized senior softball is about fun and camaraderie, not arguing over a name, according to Kehl.
Bob served in the U.S. Marine Corps and in Vietnam before serving as a police office in Oconomowoc and then the country sherriff’s office. He was the original founder of the department’s Make-A-Wish Foundation Softball Tournament Fundraiser, according to his obituary.