USFS President (1995-98) Morry Stillwell has passed away at 93

Sylvia

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Press release today: https://www.usfigureskating.org/news/article/past-president-morry-stillwell-passes-away

Excerpt from the beginning:

Morry Stillwell, president of U.S. Figure Skating from 1995 to 1998, passed away on Dec. 25, 2020. He was 93 years old.

Stillwell, of Fallbrook, California, was a national singles/pairs and national showcase judge, a national singles/pairs and national showcase referee, and a nonqualifying singles technical controller. He served as an official for U.S. Figure Skating since 1951.

As president of U.S. Figure Skating, Stillwell helped the organization sign its most lucrative television contract — a 10-year, $100 million extension with ABC in 1997. Under the contract, ABC purchased U.S. Figure Skating’s television and marketing rights to broadcast the U.S. Championships, Skate America, one fall event and one spring event every season from 1998 to 2007.

Also during his tenure as president, U.S. Figure Skating joined Canada, France, Germany and Japan to form the nucleus of the Grand Prix organizing group. The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series is now in its 26th year.


ETA: Just checked the Archives and his final post here on FSU was dated January 26, 2016.
 
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barbk

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Wow. I remember seeing him at every international competition I attended in that era. My memory is that he was an early supporter of Michelle Kwan and helped her family find supporters who could help fund her training expenses. He seemed to love the politics of hashing out international agreements and plans.

He was a tremendous volunteer for USFSA and supporter of skating.

RIP, Mr. Stillwell.
 

tony

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I vividly remember when I was 18, he posted something about the Russian ladies getting 3 spots to 2005 Worlds because of a :sekret: loophole that clearly didn’t exist, after the Russians said they were looking into a wildcard entry. I took him to task like the punky teenager that I was, and then he claimed afterwards he accidentally had typed that. :lol: And then we had some good conversations in the years following! RIP to him.
 

Lutzcy

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I appreciated his posts and his knowledge and history. There was one FSU gathering several years back that he attended and I was honored to sit beside him and converse. He was a valued FSU member and his posts were always interesting. He is missed.
 

Sylvia

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My memory is that he was an early supporter of Michelle Kwan and helped her family find supporters who could help fund her training expenses. He seemed to love the politics of hashing out international agreements and plans.
Posted in the archived "Shep Goldberg Passes Away" thread on Nov. 13, 2014:
Shep's dedication to the skaters he represented was second to none. I was involved in many negotiations with Shep and his ethics made it a joy to work with him. His mark will remain with the sport.

Final sentence of USFS press release:
"He worked alongside his wife, Elda, at many events over the years."

Condolences to Elda Stillwell, a national accountant for USFS, and their daughter, Lisa.

This Los Angeles FSC tribute (Stillwill served as LAFSC president from 1980-82) says he "was instrumental in creating both the LAFSC Showcase For Skaters and the National Showcase competitions":
 

crzesk8dad

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Posted in the archived "Shep Goldberg Passes Away" thread on Nov. 13, 2014:


Final sentence of USFS press release:
"He worked alongside his wife, Elda, at many events over the years."

Condolences to Elda Stillwell, a national accountant for USFS, and their daughter, Lisa.

This Los Angeles FSC tribute (Stillwill served as LAFSC president from 1980-82) says he "was instrumental in creating both the LAFSC Showcase For Skaters and the National Showcase competitions":
Morry will be missed at our local competitions here in SoCal. He and Edna are part of the "San Diego Team" that would come to competitions anywhere from the Tehachapi's to the Mexican border, as well as Las Vegas and Phoenix. If there was a competition, you would almost always find the two of them there.

Morry was generally in charge and you knew it (especially when I was a new announcer!). But once he had confidence in you, you had his support. I remember years ago announcing at a competition in the early morning, Morry was on the first event at 7:30 AM. I believe it was pre-pre girls, or something like that (which, of course, had 24 kids entered). Morry appeared to be a bit tired. When he sat at his Referee's position, he turned and said to me "bring 'em out and keep them coming, you know what to do". I did as I was told and the event went off without a hitch. Morry was pleased.

Morry always had a good story about someone in figure skating, both famous, not so famous and yes, infamous (I believe he and Tanya Harding had a few discussions, at least per what Morry once said). At competitions, big and small, he was always holding court in the officials' lounge as well as in the rink lobby. He had an opinion about everything, but he was always willing to listen to you (if you dared offer). He was an institution and the authority on everything skating (whether you agreed or not). First and foremost, he cared about all the skaters from "learn to skate" to Olympic Champion. He would always remember that the sport is about the athletes, not the other way around. A good man, a solid person and someone who will always be remembered.

Well done, Boss. RIP Mr. Stillwell.
 
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bardtoob

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Rest in peace, my friend.

I interacted via PM quite a bit with Morry.

We didn't always agree, but Morry was always a wealth of insight. He did have a real life relationship with Tonya Harding where they traveled internationally together, and I am relatively certain they mutually got on each other's nerves, but, as an official, his judgements were actually fair towards her despite his frustration with her frequent excuses.

Morry did a good job as USFSA President, particularly making sure the organization got it's fair share of commercial funding.
 
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Yuri

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R.I.P. Morry! As a former skating official who wasn't a stranger to accounting rooms, I definitely came across him and his family when I was still active in the sport. Loved him for his honesty and his willingness to mix it up with us at FSU.

I had my share of run-ins with him under my alter ego here at FSU, mostly concerning Russian skaters and Tonya Harding if I remember correctly. Love hearing the stories from other FSUers about their intimate conversations with him.
 

ChiquitaBanana

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I vividly remember when I was 18, he posted something about the Russian ladies getting 3 spots to 2005 Worlds because of a :sekret: loophole that clearly didn’t exist, after the Russians said they were looking into a wildcard entry. I took him to task like the punky teenager that I was, and then he claimed afterwards he accidentally had typed that. :lol: And then we had some good conversations in the years following! RIP to him.
I do remember you going after him in these years. You have become a well poised insightful man. Kudos to you!
 

Cachoo

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Years ago at a different site I saw a hateful post about Michelle Kwan that went beyond the pale—-it seemed obsessive. He assured me that they were well aware of this person and they had taken protective measures. I did not know of him yet he took the time to respond to me. RIP
 

VGThuy

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He claimed he witnessed Harding unhook the back of her her dress at 93 Nationals, but when the video of the event was uploaded to you tube and showed she didn't unhook it, he doubled down on it, and then just kind of disappeared.

RIP.
That’s what I remember about him. That, his ban of Christine Brennan, and his posts in PI.
 

UGG

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Years ago at a different site I saw a hateful post about Michelle Kwan that went beyond the pale—-it seemed obsessive. He assured me that they were well aware of this person and they had taken protective measures. I did not know of him yet he took the time to respond to me. RIP
I always thought it was weird how grown @$$ adults HATED teenage girls. Was it that dude David55? He was so creepy!
 

bardtoob

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He claimed he witnessed Harding unhook the back of her her dress at 93 Nationals, but when the video of the event was uploaded to you tube and showed she didn't unhook it, he doubled down on it, and then just kind of disappeared.

RIP.

Yes, Morry firmly believed this from his live perspective at ice level, yet he let her restart from the beginning, which means he gave her the best possible opportunity, the same opportunity as anybody who would get the benefit of the doubt, despite his personal belief and she got a fair 2nd in that phase of the competition. This says a lot about Morry's good character and sense of fairness.

 
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Cachoo

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I always thought it was weird how grown @$$ adults HATED teenage girls. Was it that dude David55? He was so creepy!
You know I can't even remember his name at this point. I saw some of his posts on a RSS feed and (I think) AOL too. ITA about the weirdness of it....these are kids after all is said and done.
 

Sylvia

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He claimed he witnessed Harding unhook the back of her her dress at 93 Nationals, but when the video of the event was uploaded to you tube and showed she didn't unhook it, he doubled down on it, and then just kind of disappeared.

RIP.
Yes, Morry firmly believed this from his live perspective at ice level, yet he let her restart from the beginning, which means he gave her the best possible opportunity, the same opportunity as anybody who would get the benefit of the doubt, despite his personal belief and she got a fair 2nd in that phase of the competition. This says a lot about Morry's good character and sense of fairness.
Came across this 2014 article that was republished before the 2018 Olympics: https://www.azcentral.com/story/spo...ncident-had-seeds-planted-phoenix/1077459001/
Relevant excerpts:
"It always seems that there's something happening to her," Teachman later said of Harding, and the 1993 nationals short program is near the top of that lengthy list.
Less than 25 seconds into a routine that opened with the song "Never" from the movie "Footloose," Harding's dress came undone in the back. "This should be an interesting triple lutz," Rawlinson remembered thinking. Harding singled the first part of what was supposed to be a combination jump and skated over to explain her predicament to chief referee Morry Stillwell.
"She wanted me to fix her dress," said Stillwell, later U.S. Figure Skating Association president from 1995 to 1998. "I told her go fix the damn thing yourself. My assistant referee (Nancy Bizzano) was laughing so hard she couldn't talk. Both Nancy and I were convinced she opened the back of the dress" although it does not appear that way on video.
"We could have either made her start from the point where the problem happened or allow her to skate again from the beginning. At nationals, it's best to let her start over again even though both of us thought it was a funny deal. You've got to give the break to the skater regardless of what you think."
Harding had yet another equipment failure in Lillehammer and was allowed to restart her free skate after missing the opening jump because of a broken lace.
"It wasn't phony, just stupidity on her and her team," said Stillwell, U.S. figure-skating team leader in Lillehammer.
 
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SHARPIE

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I have dealt with a personal loss at this time, so only just seen this.

Thank you for your service Mr Stillwell and our friendship we had that let FSU be one of the best sources of breaking news stories on skating in the early 2000s.


FSU’s original :sekret:


I will never forget you ❤️
 

Sylvia

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Services for former U.S. Figure Skating president Morry Stillwell will be held on Thursday, Jan. 14, at 11 a.m. at Miramar National Cemetery, 5695 Nobel Drive, San Diego, California.
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Donations may be made to the Los Angeles FSC Morry Stillwell Memorial Fund on the LAFSC donation page here or the U.S. Figure Skating Memorial Fund, 20 First Street, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80906
 

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