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In a league of her own: wife, mother and baseball Hall of Famer Millie McAuley was proudest of Edmonton's 1951 victory over Toronto.

DIED: Former athlete and homemaker Mildred M. (Millie) McAuley, 84; after a brief illness, in Edmonton, on Dec. 9. Born into the famous Warwick family of Saskatchewan, McAuley began her athletic career in Regina, playing a variety of sports with her nine siblings (five brothers and four sisters). But she excelled at baseball, developing as a consistent power hitter and graced with an accurate and forceful throwing arm. McAuley first played for Regina's all-women Army and Navy Bombers team, then tried out for the All-American Girls' Professional Baseball League, the organization immortalized in the 1992 film A League of Their Own. In 1943, McAuley signed a contract with the league-leading Rockford Peaches in Illinois. Several of her teammates were from Canadian small towns and villages. She played for the Peaches for two years, becoming the team's most versatile star. The back of her baseball card reads, "... she gobbled up 914 fielding chances that came her way. Once on base, this speedster really showed her stuff, swiping 103 bases in her two-year career." During this period, she met husband-to-be Ken McAuley, a goaltender for the New York Rangers. They married in 1945, settling first in Saskatoon and later in Edmonton, where she played third base for the Edmonton Mortons, a team coached by her husband. Meanwhile, he played hockey for the junior Edmonton Oil Kings, while operating his own insurance agency. Millie's son, Ken Jr., said his mother's biggest achievement was when the Mortons went east to play against the Toronto Queens for the 1951 national title--"The league officials in Toronto were so confident in Toronto winning, they had already put Toronto's name on the winning rings to be awarded, only to [see the team] wiped out pretty good by the Mortons, who won the Dominion title." McAuley has been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., Canada's Baseball Hall of Fame, and the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame.

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DIED: Former teacher, administrator and cabinet minister Ray Gillis Williston, 92; from the complications of a fall in his home, in Sechelt, B.C., on Dec. 7. Williston was born in Victoria and educated in Salmon Arm, B.C. He became a schoolteacher, working for 16 years as a principal and school superintendent before entering politics in 1953. Elected as Socred MLA for Fort George, he served in several portfolios--as education minister (1954-1956) and minister of lands and forests (1956-1962), with water resources added to his ministry in 1962--until his defeat at the polls in 1972. After retiring from politics, Williston was appointed general manager of the New Brunswick Forest Authority, where he worked until 1976, when he returned to B.C. as president of the B.C. Cellulose Company.

DIED: Calgary environmental activist and professor Dixon Thompson, 64; of flesh-eating disease (necrotizing fasciitis), in Victoria, on Nov. 28. Thompson was born in Pincher Creek, Alta., where he developed his love of the outdoors and enthusiasm for conservation of our wilderness playground. His passion for climbing took him on treks to peaks around the world, including a Mount Everest expedition in the late 1980s. For 33 years Thompson was a professor in the faculty of environmental design at the University of Calgary, and also an honorary professor at the Universidad Nacional Santiago Antunez de Mayolo in Peru. He also served as a consultant to governments and industry, both in Canada and abroad. He had planned to retire next year and move to Victoria, but while visiting there he succumbed to flesh-eating disease, from a scrape on the shin suffered while moving into a Calgary townhouse a few weeks earlier.

DIED: Co-founder of Edmonton's Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society Shauna Seneca, 49; from the complications of knee surgery, in Edmonton, on Dec. 14. Born and raised in Edmonton, Seneca graduated from the University of Calgary with a bachelor's degree in social work. After more than a decade working for Alberta's social services, she and her husband founded the Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society, a non-profit charitable organization helping young children and their families lead healthier lives. The society today runs 14 programs with a staff of 83 people. In 2005, Seneca received Edmonton's Women of Vision award. She also sat on the board of the Edmonton Police Commission between 1998 and 2002.
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Title Annotation:THE RECORD
Author:Olivier, Victor
Publication:Western Standard
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jan 29, 2007
Words:716
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