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Organ, Joe (1891-1966)

Submitted by Lois Werner, Brookfield Historical Society

At the age of 29, Joseph LeRoy Organ qualified for the Olympics when he finished second in the 1920 New York marathon. He then ran the marathon in the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium.  It was a cold and rainy day and he came in seventh, the first of the American team to finish. He was cut, bruised and soaking wet but otherwise in good condition.  His interest in sports began at an early age which led him to join the Pittsburgh Athletic Association as a marathon runner.  By 1916 the Pittsburgh Daily Post marveled that he had already run 40 marathons, a world record for the time.   

He was born July 12, 1891 in the West Hill area of Brookfield Township, the son of William and Servilla Organ.  He went to school until the eighth grade, a common education in the early 1900’s when a high school was not yet available locally.  He later worked at the Sharon Steel mill and lived all his life on Lucy Street in the same area where he grew up, with his wife Minnie and their son William.  

He was an excellent basketball and baseball player and coach and directed the golf team for the high school.  Joe worked for many years as the golf pro for the Yankee Run Golf Course. In recognition of his service to high school sports, the Joe Organ Touchdown Club was organized in 1967 and still exists today. They have nominated him for the Sports Hall of Fame for 2020.

Always interested in education, he served on the Brookfield Township Board of Education from 1940 to 1943 and held the office of Vice President. 

At the age of 75, he died July 23, 1966, after suffering a heart attack.