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Malone sports community mourns loss of Bob Loetterle

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MALONE - By now, most of the area’s readership has heard that the sporting community has lost a longtime member, as Malone resident Robert Loetterle passed away due to an apparent heart attack.

It was well-known in the local sports world that he had been dealing with a bad heart over the past several years.

For those of you that didn’t know Robert, or Bob as most people called him, he was on the sidelines for many different events for over the past three-plus decades.

Robert worked as a statistician and scorekeeper for the now defunct Malone Fastpitch Softball League and the Malone Men’s and Women’s Softball Leagues, which hold league games at the AMVETS field on Duane Street Road. He was scorekeeper for the Valley Baseball League and kept stats for Section 10 varsity football games and various tournaments held throughout the area, as well as sharpening his pencil for some local events in the Plattsburgh area.

During the winter season, Bob would be at the scorer’s table of the Malone Adult Basketball League games – six nights a week! The loss of Bob now puts the league reporting of its results to the local newspapers on hold until records can be retrieved, compiled and brought up to date. Robert reported these results to the Telegram on a regular basis, as well as distributing the same information to the Watertown Times, Daily Courier-Observer, Ogdensburg Journal and the Press Republican, as well as a long list of individuals involved directly, or indirectly, with each league, team or just to someone he knew who had a friend or relative on one of the squads involved in the action.

Bob would also help out close friend Ken Cring with the Saturday CYO Basketball League, running the game clock and keeping the stats on the scoresheets. Not just scoring, but also rebounding, assists and steals were marked on the side of each team’s sheet.

Along with his daily duties that he took very, very seriously, Robert was also active in Section 10. He traveled to almost every single Malone football game for over 30 years and reported those game results, along with any and all information he could gather, whether it be individual stats or game scores from around the section.

Robert was also on the league’s sportsmanship committee, which voted for the Section 10 Nicole Fleury award winner, an honor bestowed upon one girl from each of the three Section 10 Divisions (East, Central, West).

Probably the most favorite of Robert’s winter-time activities was the annual trip to Glens Falls for the boys basketball final four with Cring, Wayne Walbridge, Steve Andrews, Mark McCormick and several other members of the Section 10 family.

“You have got to go down with us one of these seasons,” Robert said to me on more than one occassion. “It’s a really good time and I know you will enjoy it.”

Like most people that are “dedicated to their jobs,” Robert was the same way.

“Bob was very passionate about what he did,” said another longtime friend, Paul Walbridge. “He was always there to help with a score or some information about a team, or several teams. “The best way I can sum this up is that he was a friend to sports in general.

“Bob was dedicated to sports. He was dedicated to the leagues,” continued the ‘Voice of the Huskies.’ “I think it’s safe to say that Bob was eccentric. He marched to the beat of a different drum, but there was no one more loyal to his job than he was.

“Not everyone understood, or got along with Bob, and that’s just like the rest of us. We all don’t always see eye-to-eye with everyone all the time,” added Wally. “All of the leagues that he worked in are going to find out just what it’s going to be like to go on without him. You and I both know what that type of job requires as far as time and commitment. We both have families. Bob’s family was sports.”

And it wasn’t just the two-legged kind of sports, as Robert also reported the Franklin Country Fair Harness Racing results to both Wally and myself every year since the early 1990s.

Before his health issues cropped up, Robert would gladly sit down and bend his elbow discussing whatever sporting event was going on at the time.

During the summer months when softball would be going on at the AMVETS field, Robert and I (when I was umpiring) would often begin reminiscing about major league baseball from when we were growing up, taking turns trying to recall famous, and not-so famous, professional baseball players. The biggest kick the two of us would get from that was when someone from a younger generation would hear an obscure, old-time name and inquire who that was. Or have fellow officials Dale Warner and Wayne Leffler chime in with some of the classic players that we didn’t recall.

Robert and I first met while in high school at Franklin Academy, where he transfered to from Brushton-Moira. Robert graduated from FA in 1974 and was salutatorian of his class and began his career by keeping baseball stats – way back then.

Among his other interests, Robert was also a member of the Malone Lodge of Elks 1303, where he was awarded Elk of the Year for 1999-2000.

There is an old saying that you never know what you’re missing until it’s gone.

All of the leagues in Robert’s life – as well as those of us who knew him on a personal level – will now have to go on without him.

As time goes on, the leagues and individuals will learn to live with the loss of Robert, go on without him, but one thing is for certain – there was just one Robert Loetterle, and it will take more than one person to replace him.

Rest in peace Robert!

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