EDWARD LEE SLONIGER, 91 years old | WCCS AM1160 & 101.1FM
Edward Lee Sloniger (91) was born February 16, 1930 to John Berton and Vernie L. Sloniger in Dayton, Pennsylvania. He was proud to have grown up in this small town which provided him with a wide variety of life experiences and made many lifelong friends.
Ed graduated in 1948 from Dayton High School where he developed a love for participating in athletic competitions. He became a foul shooting champion and contributed to his team’s many successes.
After graduation, Ed enlisted and served honorably (1948-1952) as a Staff Sergeant. in the United States Marine Corps. He has always been proud to be a sailor. He served in the Korean War and participated in four major campaigns. He was part of the 1st Provisional Maritime Brigade, a 4,500-person unit, which was quickly deployed to help maintain the 50-mile Pusan perimeter. The brigade later encountered the rest of the division at sea who then made an amphibious landing at Inchon.
This success was followed by securing the Kimpo airfield and the capital Seoul. The division then advanced rapidly through North Korea to a point near the Manchu border. It was at this time that the Chinese army deployed several hundred thousand troops in support of its North Korean allies. Outnumbered (15-45), the Marines are surrounded at the Chosin tank. So for the next two weeks, with temperatures 45 degrees below zero, the Marines made their way to the port of Hungnam, where they were loaded onto ships and sent to Pusan.
Ed was proud of the role he had played in Korea to stop the Communist aggression. The end of hostilities ended in the 38e Parallel where it all began. All was not lost, however, as in the end a very prosperous South Korea developed.
At one point, Ed was reassigned to state duties. For the remaining months of his military engagement, he was sent to school to become a Marine Corps recruiter.
After his release, he spent the following months working for Ford Motor Co. in Buffalo and General Motors Co. in Cleveland. While in Cleveland, one of the most important events in his life came when the GI Bill of Rights became available, which allowed Ed to go to college.
He attended Slippery Rock University from 1953 to 1957 where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Physical Education. He then attended the University of Illinois in 1957-58 where he obtained his Masters in Health Sciences and Physical Education.
He then taught at Penn Hills High School from 1958 to 1962. The school at that time was ranked number one in the state. In addition to his teaching duties, he developed and coached the gymnastics team. There were few gymnastics teams at the time, however, he and other coaches developed a strong statewide men’s gymnastics program.
In 1962 he returned to the University of Illinois where he obtained his doctorate. in exercise physiology.
It was around this time that he met Mary Elizabeth Kostelnik and later married. She was the love of his life and his lifelong companion.
A “very” important part of his professional training was the five-year apprenticeship of Dr Thomas Cureton, who was the world’s foremost fitness expert. Dr Cureton was considered the “father of modern fitness”.
Dr Cureton felt that this group administered the very first stress test. This was not a “stress test,” but the subject performed a series of increasing controlled stress levels while being monitored to determine how the subject was adjusting to each workload. A valuable use of this procedure was to administer the test to subjects with cardiac risk factors. This later prompted him and others at Indiana University in Pennsylvania (IUP) to develop a cardiac rehabilitation program. Then he was employed at Norfolk State College from 1966 to 1968.
In 1968, the IUP was authorized to offer a major program of physical and health education that prepared students to teach these subjects in public schools. Ed was employed, along with others, to develop the curriculum for this program. Over the next 30 years, Ed’s responsibilities were to teach and mentor students and help develop the program so that graduates could meet the needs of society. He retired in 1998 as professor emeritus.
During his tenure at IUP, he served the University in several ways such as:
- Member of several departmental and university committees;
- As a member of the Senate
- Member of the programs committee, both university and departmental
- Student advisor, especially those preparing to be accepted into physiotherapy school
- Led the faculty’s fitness program for 12 years.
- Development assistance for the Human Performance Lab.
- Creation of a major physical education club and launch of the exceptional major prize.
- Creation of the Heart Center which was the first center in the history of the IUP.
- He suggested establishing a cardiac rehabilitation program, with Dr Moore, Dr Browe and Dr McDowell, and excellent nurses. This program offered students the opportunity to gain work experience in this field. The program was then transferred to Indiana Hospital.
- Established the Noon Hour Basketball program in 1968, which provided exercise opportunities and is still going strong.
- Initiated gymnastics programs that provided students with classes that needed help. It later became a club and then a university sport.
- He and Dr. Moore developed the athletic program, which provided students with a more in-depth understanding of exercise that better prepared them for employment opportunities involving exercise. This program has become an important aspect of the major study program.
- Published an article “Shoveling the Dangers Discussed”.
- Publication of an article “Scientific basis of variable resistance”.
Another aspect of his service was that of a golf coach. He was appointed a golf coach in 1970 and served for 17 years. He was considered by many to be the most successful coach of all time, in all sports, for men or women, considering the level of competition, the number of victories in district, state and national competitions. . The following is a summary of the program’s record during his tenure as a coach. IUP golfers had to be academically strong; they never received a scholarship, faced an estimated forty percent of Division 1 players, and almost entirely faced fully funded competitors. The first two years the program was Division 1. During this time, IUP was ranked number one in the East. Chris Adams won the National Long Drive competition. Ron Milanovich and Ben Witter later won similar championships.
- He has been named NAIA District 18 top coach five times in eight years.
- Named NCAA Division II Coach of the Year fifteen times.
- He became the only Division II coach to see his team qualify for the national tournament for seventeen consecutive years.
- He amassed a double-meet record of 113-10-1. He later campaigned for coaches to host invitational tournaments and end double encounters.
- IUP has finished in the NCAA’s top ten nine times, finishing third on two occasions.
- Finished in the NAIA top ten five times in eight years, including final placement of 2sd, 3e, 4e, and 5e.
- The IUP has won the PSAC title 10 times in 15 years.
- The IUP has won the ECAC tournaments twice. This competition involved teams from all divisions from Maine to Alabama.
- Won the IUP Invitational multiple times.
During his tenure as a golf coach, the team competed in tournaments consisting of 10 to 30 teams. The IUP has won 52, placed second 40 times and third 15 times for a total of 107 tournaments. The team was ranked among the top 40 teams from all divisions and, as a result, was invited to participate in the St. Andrew’s Intercollegiate Tournament in Scotland. The team has also been invited to participate in the all expenses paid tournament in Cape Coral, Florida. Regarding his coaching tenure, Ed was very proud to have been able to provide his golfers with an excellent golf experience. He enjoyed the long-standing friendships he developed with many of his golfers and their families so much.
Above all, Ed loved the Lord, his family and his friends. He cherished any opportunity to reunite with his loved ones and was often the one who initiated those opportunities. He enjoyed traveling with his wife and organizing golf outings with family and friends. In recent years he had taken great pleasure in spending time with his grandsons. In turn, his grandsons loved their Pap Pap. Ed has had a great influence on countless lives. He was very interested in maintaining his relationships with his family, friends, students and golfers. We will always remember and admire a strong, kind, supportive and fun loving man. He will be sadly missed by those who knew and loved him.
Ed is survived by his wife of 57 years, Mary Beth, a son, Mark and his wife Stephanie Sloniger as well as his grandsons Graham and Benjamin. Also surviving is a sister, Betty Lou Sloniger, her brother Kenneth Sloniger, many siblings, nieces and nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, and wonderful friends.
He was predeceased by his parents, three brothers, Gene, Carl and Barry Sloniger, three sisters, Golda Adaire Jamison, Lois Coleman and Margaret Van Horn, and his granddaughter Kara Elise Sloniger.
The family would like to thank the doctors, nurses and staff at the VNA Family Hospice for their kindness and the excellent care provided to Ed during his illness.
At the request of Ed’s family, all services will be private and in the care of Bowser-Minich Funeral Home. To send condolences online to the family, please visit www.bowserminich.com.