Marjorie “Marge” Garinger, a highly-accomplished and well-respected women’s lacrosse official and a member of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, passed away peacefully on December 11 at the age of 84. 

Garinger's 45-year involvement with lacrosse began as a student at Ursinus (Pa.) College, where she was a three-sport athlete. After graduating in 1957 with a degree in physical education, she introduced lacrosse at Conestoga (Pa.) High School in her first year of teaching. Soon thereafter, her primary interest in the game turned to umpiring, where she served for nearly five decades. 

Garinger umpired for 12 years at the high school level, beginning in 1957. In 1959, she also began umpiring at the collegiate level. Garinger eventually progressed into an internationally rated official, and she officiated at both the 1986 and 1989 World Cup tournaments. Her umpiring career included many other international matches, the NCAA women’s championships, and the European championships. 

As a horse lover and owner, she often joked that an afternoon spent blowing the whistle on the lacrosse field paid for hay and grain for a week.

Garinger was actively involved in the sport beyond the field, serving as the IFWLA's vice president for rules and umpiring, as well as on the USWLA’s national umpiring committee. 

“I was fortunate to meet and work with Marge early in my career and have her serve as a mentor for me, as she did for so many others as well,” said Liz Brush, an internationally rated official and manager of the women’s officials program at US Lacrosse. “Marge never stopped being a student of the game, and more importantly, she never stopped passing along her knowledge to the rest of us.”

As an international ambassador for the sport, Garinger conducted umpiring clinics in six countries, and developed close friendships around the globe.

“A mentor to many and a friend to all, I had such respect and high regard for Marge throughout my umpiring career,” said Hall of Famer Susan Ford. “At National Tournaments and international championships, she was always there, quietly doing any job that needed doing with a good word and a smile. Marge showed us what giving back looked like, in ways that turned it into a tradition instead of a trial.”

Australian Fiona Clark, who serves as the World Lacrosse Board’s Competition Director, became a close friend of Marge’s through many shared lacrosse experiences. 

“One of her greatest surprises was me being present for her 80th birthday in 2015 in Harveys Lake, Pennsylvania, after being ‘hidden’ for several days with Amy (Marge’s daughter) and family as we prepared for the celebrations,” Clark said. “I feel so blessed to have become a life-long friend of Marge and her family since we first connected in the 1980s. Over the years we shared many wonderful experiences together, both in her lacrosse life and family life.”

In addition to her lacrosse career, Garinger was also an outstanding field hockey player and a member of the 1956 U.S. Field Hockey team at the World Cup in Sydney, Australia. Later, she served as manager of the 1984 U.S. Olympic Field Hockey team that won the bronze medal at the Summer Games in Los Angeles. 

“I have travelled the world with Marge and she always had a smile no matter what time or day we crossed paths,” said life-long friend and fellow Hall of Famer Feffie Barnhill. “In her last written communication to me, she wrote in her own hand ‘My life wouldn’t be the same without you.’”

Garinger was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1999 and is a past recipient of US Lacrosse’s prestigious Nancy Chance Service Award. Additionally, she was inducted to the Ursinus Hall of Fame in 1973, the Pennsylvania Chapter of US Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1999, and the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.  She was also named Lacrosse Umpiring Legend of the Game in Perth, Australia in 1999.

“Marge was always generous with her time and service to advancing the training and development needs of women’s game officials,” said Ann Kitt Carpenetti, vice president of lacrosse operations at US Lacrosse. “She was absolutely beloved and respected by her lacrosse peers in United States and abroad and had a joy for the game that was evidenced by the big smile she wore when surrounded by her friends in stripes.” 

Garinger was preceded in death by her husband, Arnie, who passed away in 2004. She is survived by four children, Tracy Magda and husband David; Wendy Kellam and husband Dan, and grandsons Jack and Steven; Amy Brozena and husband Fran, and grandchildren Ryan, Ursula and Alex; Robert Garinger and wife Grace, and granddaughter Erin and grandson Ian. 

The celebration of Marjorie's life will take place in late May 2020, near Harveys Lake. Her family will announce the details at a later date.
 

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