One of the country’s oldest sports collecting clubs has lost one of his founders, but his legacy is a model for the rest of us.
He was in his 20s when he and a group of southeastern Wisconsin sports collectors realized there were enough of them to put a club together. Baseball cards were still kids stuff to most people back in those days, but it didn’t take long for the Wisconsin Sports Collectors Association to realize there were plenty of other adults who also never quite grew up.
The group began running shows in Milwaukee not long after, and LeRoy Kilps quickly became one of its ‘go-to-guys’. The postal carrier spent hours helping to organize the club’s regular shows at a local hotel, then at Gonzaga Hall. They also put on some larger events in the late 1970s and early 80s. Later, he opened his own card shop in Milwaukee.
Kilps died last week of a heart attack at age 63, leaving behind a legacy of helping kids and charities through some of his work with the club. Fundraising efforts eventually passed the $100,000 mark according to this tribute in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
Related: Kilps Will be Missed (Editor’s Blog-11/29)