Written and submitted by Warren “Danny” Danner, son of Warren Danner.
David Tassinari—Pat Fogerty—Charlotte Owings—Lyndell Edgington—Dan Danner—Sheryl Ann Truman—Jack Courtney—Gary Callahan—Sherry Street—Rob Shaffer—Richard Horne—Jane Panky—Jim Stevens—Jane Purachio—Mark Howard—Cindy Smith—Richard Dalley—Carol Fox.
Other than Douglas Snyder roller skates* on their feet, what do all of these former national and international skating champions have in common. 13 went on to successful professional skating careers, 8 became World Roller skating champions, 7 had significant competitive careers not only in the world of artistic roller sports but also enjoyed significant success as competitive Ice skaters at a national, international, Olympic and professional levels. 7 were members of the first merged roller skating team in 1965.
Successful transition to the world of Ice skating.
Two years ago while attending a skating reunion, in Orlando FL, I found myself reading an article in skating magazine from 1971 or 1972. In that article there was a discussion of the success enjoyed by Richard Horne and Jane Panky (L) in roller dance skating as well as their being among the first to reaching the top of the podium in the FIRS world of artistic roller sports. Also discussed was their successful transition to the world of Ice skating. Although Richard and Jane were, in fact, not the first to reach the top of the podium. The article seemed to indicate some level of surprise that it was in roller dance skating that the USA broke through on the world stage of the FIRS.
As I recall, there was Barbara Jablonski, in ladies singles, Miami FL in 1961, Rita Smith and Donald Rudalawicz (R) in the dance event, in 1968, Jack Courtney and Sheryl Ann Truman, 1968 Pairs, and of course Jack Courtney in Men’s singles in 1968. Richard Horne and Jane Panky won the dance title in 1970 and 1971, Jane Purachio and Jim Stevens in 1973, and Jane with Kerry Cavazzi in 1975 and 1976. That being said, I noted in the article that, clearly, there was no mention as to where, or from whom Richard and Jane, and the skaters in the leading list, received their training! That, my friends in the skating world, would be the common denominator shared by all of the skaters listed above.
Charlotte Owings, Lyndell Edgington, GayaJo Nelson, Steve Courtney 1955, Marion Indiana.
David Tassinari & Lorna Jean Urban in 1951 about age 10. David paired with Lorna Jean about 1959 as RSROA 4's Champions both were started by Warren about 1950 as was Pat Fogerty
One man, who has spent over 6 decades contributing his heart and soul to the development of artistic roller sports; please understand, this commentary is no way meant to detract from the input of other coaches contributions and their input into the training and development of these athletes but, rather, to point out that he, Warren Danner, often without recognition, did contribute to the development and evolution of the sport in which we all share a common kinship.
Warren A. Danner, my father, imbued a love of the sport of roller skating to all of those mentioned above. It was he who tied the first pair of roller skates onto, not only my feet at age 18 months, in Mechanicsburg PA, but also to those of David Tassinari, Pat Fogerty, in Brocton MA, Sheryl Ann Truman, Jack Courtney, Gary Callahan, in Indiana, and Richard Dalley and Carol Fox, in Livonia MI. (National roller champions and, 1984 Olympic team and World Professional Ice dance champions 1986 and 1987)
Warren started skating in the streets of Boston in the late 1930’s During the 1940’s while stationed in Baltimore, MD he met and skated competitively with my mother, Phyllis.(pictured R) Following the war the Danner family moved to Mechanicsburg PA, ** to start their teaching careers, then in 1948 onto Boston and Uncle Charlie Santoro’s Roll-A-Rena in Norwood MA. In 1950 while teaching in Brocton’s Maple Arena he started David Tassinari and Pat Fogerty on a path in skating which would, not only serve them well as they grew into highly productive adults, but it also started them on a path which, in the end, would become part of the history of the world of roller skating, the merging together of two schools of thought in roller sports. The sport which they came to love and make a part of their lives had been split into two competing structures back in the mid 1940’s. It would be David Tassinari, Pat Fogerty, and in a sense Warren Danner that would become a bit of the glue which would contribute to the healing of a long standing schism in the world of Roller sports.
In 1953 the Danner family moved to Indiana, and the Idle-Wyld Roller Palace in Marion Indiana, there with the help of Kenny Truman (rink operator) Bob Craigen (Rhythm blues), and Jim Wall (rink operator) together they built an interclub structure which spread throughout the state of Indiana and became the forum for training of such skaters as Lyndell Edgington Charlotte Owings, Jackie Courtney, Sheryl Ann Truemen, Sherry Street, Gary Callahan and myself!
It was in 1965 that it starts to come back together in the world of U.S. roller sports, in the official photo of the parade of nations at the Madrid Spain world artistic roller skating championships, we see Jackie Courtney carrying the US flag with David Tassinari and myself Dan Danner bringing up the rear. Seven members of that team got their start in skating from Warren A. Danner. It was one of the few World championships in which he had skaters that he did not attend. Warren went on the continue to produce and develop outstanding roller dance teams such as Jane Panky and Richard Horne, Jane Purachio and Jim Stevens, Mark Howard and Cindy Smith all developing into world roller dance champions.
Warren is now in his 85th year and lives with his second wife Audrey, in Highland Heights KY. They and their daughter Kellie operate RECCA roller rink in Alexandria KY. They still hold many fond memories of building and developing generations of roller skating talent. His lifetime body of work and contributions to the sport of roller sports has provided a legacy which continues through the teaching voices of Jane, David, Pat, Cindy, and other roller skating professional around the country, just too numerous to list. I for one feel that, for far too long his legacy has gone unrecognized.
On July 25, 2008, Warren A. Danner was recognized for his great accomplishments in roller skating and was admitted to the USARSA Competitive Coaches Roller Skating Hall of Fame. This award was presented during the 2008 National Roller Skating Championships held in Lincoln, Nebraska. We congratulate Warren and thank him for a life time of contributions to our roller skating sport.