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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

The Dahmer Connection

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tori Dahmer and Nevada Lady Tigers head coach Brent Bartlett.
By Richard Carpenter

Special to the Daily Mail

For nearly a hundred years, the Dahmer family, has been a big part of our local history and sports. This is my second article about past and present NHS athletes. It begins early in the last century, and ends with one of our local current Lady Tiger basketball stars, Tori Dahmer.

The Dahmer family was originally from Germany. Several branches of these relatives settled in Vernon County. In particular, they lived in and around the Milo vicinity.

I visited with several family members to obtain background information on this extensive family. Their numbers were best described by family descendent, Lori Dahmer Copeland. She stated, "There were so many Dahmers in the Milo area that they were divided into two groups, those living on either the east or west side of Highway 71."

Since my own family was originally from the same area, I grew up knowing many of the Dahmers personally. My eighth grade Social Studies teacher was Olga Dahmer. I am sure that many of you readers had Ms. Dahmer, too.

Olga had a son named Don Dahmer. During the 1949-'50 seasons, Don was a standout basketball player for NHS. He was a team captain, and was noted for his smooth baseline shot.

Jack Edmiston, a fellow team member from the '50 team, said, "Don had a certain spot on the baseline where he was virtually automatic."

The Dahmer basketball connection goes back even further than Don. Lori's grandfather was Floyd Dahmer. Floyd played basketball and was a member of the class of 1929.

Floyd's wife, Lena Roberts Dahmer, graduated in 1933. She played ball in both Milo and Nevada, which was common in those days.

Lori's father, Ron Dahmer, was the son of Floyd and Lena. Ron was a member of the 1952-'53 NHS teams. Like his cousin, Don, Ron played in the old high school gym, which was lost in the school fire on Nov. 29, 1956.

Girls' basketball and girls' athletics disappeared for some reason in the middle of the last century in Southwest Missouri. I have never heard why that happened, but sadly, many local girls missed the chance to play sports for NHS.

In the 1970's, Title IX brought back women's sports, all over the country. Ron Dahmer was a member of the R-5 School Board, that voted to re-establish the Lady Tigers basketball program.

Lori Dahmer Copeland was a member of the first Lady Tigers team to return to the court during the 1975-'76 season. One of her teammates was Ranea Brooks Shulze, who has been a teacher in Nevada for many years and is now the high school librarian. Lori told me how proud they were to be on those first teams, and the thrill of going to Verco Sporting Goods, to buy their letter jackets.

Lori and her husband, Brad, had two daughters, that kept the NHS-Dahmer sports connection alive. Alana played both basketball and volleyball for NHS in the 1999-2002 era. Her sister, Sara, was a member of the the Lady Tigers golf squad from 2000-2004.

One final note about Lori and her career at NHS. She is, to this day, an avid golfer.

She joined the boys' team her first year, but they were not allowed to play in matches. The next year, NHS began its first season for girls' golf.

As a kid, I remember another Dahmer athlete who played for NHS. Gerald Dahmer played both basketball and track during the 1957-'60 period. Gerald became a successful businessman, and was the former owner of Cable Dahmer Chevrolet in Independence, Mo.

Last fall, when our local high school hosted many of the past football alumni at the first district football game, we were lined according to our former jersey numbers. One of the former players that was close to me that night was a 1982 NHS graduate, Don Dahmer.

Don was the son of "Bub" Dahmer. Don played all four years in high school as a member of the football and track teams.

Don and his wife, Donna, are the proud parents of current Lady Tigers athlete, Tori Dahmer. Tori is an 18-year-old senior at NHS. She began playing both basketball and softball back in the third grade, as a member of Jim Novak's traveling teams.

Tori was a member of our State Championship girls' softball team in 2010. She was unable to play this past fall, as she was recovering from a foot injury.

Tori was selected to the All-District basketball team during both her sophomore and junior seasons. In 2012, she was also selected to the All-Tournament team at the Nevada Lady Tiger Classic basketball tournament.

In 2011, Tori received the "Hustle" award, and last year, she was voted team MVP. In the just completed 2013 Lady Tiger Classic, both Tori and her teammate, Morgan McNeley, were selected to the All-Tournament team.

Tori has had to up her game this season. Mikayla Bartlett, her teammate and the team's leading scorer from last year, has had to miss the entire season due to knee surgery.

Mikayla was not only the other half of the scoring duo with Tori, she was also one of the best ball-handling guards on the team.

Tori has shown that she is capable of a lot more than just her inside scoring. When teams try to press the Lady Tigers, head coach Brent Bartlett often looks to Tori to handle the ball and break the press.

In the first 15 games of the season, Tori has racked up the following stats. Out of 480 minutes, she has logged 401. She averages 47.2 percent for field goals, and 55 percent at the free-throw line. Tori averaged 15.3 points per game during this period.

Tori is, in every sense of the word, a student athlete. She plans to attend Pittsburg State University upon graduation, where she hopes to major in cellular and molecular biology.

Coach Bartlett told me that Tori has been one of his all-time favorite players. He said, "Her motor is always running at practice. She works hard all the time and that is also evidenced in her intelligence. She is just as much a success in the classroom as she is on the basketball court."

Tori Dahmer is just the latest in a long line of Dahmer family members, who have competed in athletics at NHS. That is one of the great things that life in our area offers: tradition.

Families like the Dahmers are part of our history and strength as a community. We weave a tapestry of past and present at NHS.

One final note, there is still time to come and watch Tori and our Lady Tigers this season. I promise you will not be disappointed.

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