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She made history as first female wrestling referee in Ohio

By Reflector Sports Staff • Jan 24, 2017 at 4:30 PM

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first installment of a five-part series featuring each of the five people who will be inducted into the Norwalk High School Hall of Fame this weekend.

 

One of the most influential people in the history of the Norwalk High School wrestling program never competed on the mat.

Peggy Corrigan married her husband, Denny, in 1962 — and the couple eventually made their home in Norwalk in 1965. When Denny became the head wrestling coach at Norwalk, Peggy proved to be instrumental in the success of the program during her husband’s 20-plus years as coach.

Peggy lost her battle with cancer on March 23, 2011, dying at the age of 67. This year, she joins husband Denny and son Tim as a member of the Norwalk High School Hall of Fame.

As a “distinguished citizen,” Peggy Corrigan is one of five people who will be inducted Saturday during a ceremony at the high school. The other four are Robert Factor (Class of 1962, academic),  Jim Bersche (coach), Tina (Linder) Davidson (class of 1987, volleyball) and T.J. (Horner) Thomas (class of 1988, volleyball).

Peggy Corrigan created and taught a six-week class called ‘Wrestling For Spectators.’ This led to many public speaking engagements at area schools, booster clubs and civic organizations — all to promote a better understanding of her favorite sport.

Peggy formed the Norwalk Mat Maids in 1971. One year later in 1972, she became the first female wrestling referee in the state of Ohio.

In the summer of 1974, she and Denny formed Blue Ribbon Wrestling, Inc. Able to put her self-taught sewing abilities to use for the team, Peggy was key in the designing and manufacturing of wrestling uniforms and apparel.

Peggy went on to receive the Ohio Wrestling Officials outstanding service award, Wrestling USA Magazine Coaches Wife of the Year. Peggy was also elected as President of the South Shores Wrestling Officials Association. She was later inducted into the Norwalk High School Wrestling Hall of Fame — and in 2005, she was inducted into the Ohio Wrestling Officials Hall of Fame.

Denny and Peggy raised four children together who grew up in the Norwalk school district: Barb, Kelly, Tim and Katie. During that time, Peggy was also actively involved in the Maple City Mother’s Club, the Pleasant Street Elementary PTA and the Norwalk High School Booster Club.

Continuing to find ways to serve the Norwalk community, Peggy served on the Norwalk City Board of Education from 1981 to 1993, which included a term as Board President. Along with the other board members during that time, Peggy spent countless hours on the original campaign for the new Norwalk High School. She was extremely proud when her efforts paid off and it became a reality in 2001.

It also never went unnoticed that Peggy and Denny mentored many young people while raising their own children. Many of the students made their home with the Corrigans and are considered a part of the family to this day.

Peggy’s knowledge of the sport of wrestling continues to influence the many student-athletes, fans and coaches who participate in the sport today. Her contributions to the community and school system can be seen each time one arrives at 350 Shady Lane.

The induction ceremony will be held Saturday at the high school. The event includes a catered dinner and banquet beginning at 5 p.m., and an induction ceremony before the start of the Norwalk boys’ basketball game against Port Clinton. Reservations are required. Tickets for the banquet, which cost $15 apiece, are available through Wednesday. Tickets will not be sold at the door.

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