Bio: Vollrath, Darwin (19 April 2005)

Contact: Crystal Wendt

----Sources: Marshfield News Herald (Marshfield, Wood County, Wis.)Tue, Apr 19, 2005 Local cyclists mourn loss of their leader

By Matt Ollwerther --Marshfield News-Herald

GREENWOOD - A 53-year-old Greenwood man who sported a huge mustache and was known for community involvement and bicycling was remembered by his friends and family Saturday in a "memorial ride" in his honor.

Darwin "Dar" Vollrath died of a heart attack around 10:20 a.m. on April 3 in Pesaro, Italy, doing what he loved: biking. He was cremated three days later. "He never thought he was as good as he was," said his wife Deb. "I was proud to be his wife." In 1993, Dar took over the director position at Wisport, a series of races by amateur cyclists, just one year after he had a massive heart attack. Doctors told him to begin exercising for his health, and he began cycling.

The hobby consumed him, and eventually he was riding on an indoor stationary bike while watching Tour de France footage. He owned four road bikes and a tandem for himself and Deb.

Since he took over as Wisport director, membership has nearly doubled, up to 300 in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin, Deb said.

With the beautiful weather Monday, temperatures pushing 80 degrees and moderate winds from the southwest, Dar's 18-year-old son Sam said, "Oh yeah, he'd probably be out there (riding) today." A picture of Dar leading a group of nearly two dozen riders sat above the family's television.

Dar also was active in his community, serving in childrens' sports and as a volunteer firefighter, business owner and snowshoe race director.

In a tribute to Dar, Deb asked Wisport members to participate in a "memorial ride" rather than cancel the organization's opening race, also scheduled Saturday.

Nearly 50 riders rode single file through the city then traveled onto county roads, Sam estimated.

The 6-foot, 4-inch Dar had an athletic build and was an outdoor enthusiast. He was called the "Great White Hunter" by his family, since he went into the woods, regardless of freezing weather or rain, and always brought home a deer.

To remember Dar, one of his sons made a DVD with videos and picture set to music. It shows Dar's head - helmet, mustache, smile and all - popping through a field of sunflowers when he toured France by bike.

"He wasn't afraid to have a good time," said Jared Faciszewski, 17, of Marshfield, who began racing two years ago because of Dar. "He wasn't afraid to do the work, either."

Matt Ollwerther can be reached at 384-3131, at 800-967-2087, ext. 358, or at mollwerther@marshfieldnewsherald.com.

On the Web

For more information about Wisport, log on to http:wisport.org

To see pictures of Dar and to read a journal entry from a fellow teammate of Dar, visit cyclingnews.com.

 

 


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