Midwest history

Unfortunately, much of the history of NASJA Midwest has been lost. Here’s what we know about some of its earliest members.

Ralph S. Thornton was a sports writer for what became the Minneapolis Star and Tribune, starting in the mid-1960s, and working until a month or so before his death in March, 1989. In 1974, he won the Harold Hirsch award in writing from NASJA.

(Here’s a short obituary from the AP). He may also have been known as Ralph S. Thornton. An obituary of Bernice K. Thornton mentions that Ralph preceded her in death, and that “Ralph’s work as a journalist took them on many adventures including several Winter Olympics around the world.” During World War II, he was a Navy pilot.

Bert Fischer succeeded Thornton as president. The Central Division of the Professional Ski Instructors Association (PSIA-C) has a handy, brief review of his life. Among other things, it mentions that he joined the United States Ski Writers Association (an earlier name of NASJA) in 1965.

NASJA Midwest is part of a national association, called (appropriately enough) the North American Snowsports Journalists Association, which was founded as the United States Ski Writers Association. The first president of what was to become NASJA was Carson White, whose name now graces one of NASJA’s annual awards. Here’s a link to a brief biography of Mr. White, a one-time Chicago resident who spent most of his life in California and Nevada.

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