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As It Was: Ben and Helen Fagone Become Sports Advocates

The Medford, Ore., softball complex at Jackson Park is named after Ben and Helen Fagone.

Fagone was born in New York City in 1918.  After joining the army in 1942, he was assigned to Southern Oregon, where he met and married Helen Smedley, who was born and raised in Medford.  Fagone was shipped overseas in 1943 right after their marriage in the Medford City Hall.

They settled down in Medford after the war, raised three children, and served the community. 

Mrs. Fagone worked with handicapped children, was a scout leader, room mother, PTA president, Red Cross volunteer and donor, and worked on the election board.  She was named Medford’s Mother of the Year in 1960 and Grandmother of the Year in 1998.  Fagone worked for the postal service, was a PTO president, a member of the school board, a softball coach, and a mayor of Medford.  When he became the Softball Association president, Helen got involved, too, as the only female official scorekeeper for the Men’s Regional Softball of 1972.

Both Ben and Helen Fagone are listed in the Medford and Oregon sports halls of fame.

"Ben Fagone - Southern Oregon History." Southern Oregon Historical Society, edited by Ben Truwe, SOHS, 25 July 2018, truwe.sohs.org/files/fagone.html; "Helen Fagone/ Obituary." Mail Tribune, 11 Feb. 2007 [Medford], mailtribune.com/news/obituaries/helen-fagone.

Luana (Loffer) Corbin graduated from Southern Oregon College, majoring in Elementary Education.  The summer after graduation she was hired to teach at Ruch Elementary, where she taught for 32 years. After retiring, Corbin worked for Lifetouch School Photography and then returned to Ruch as an aide helping with reading instruction and at the library.  More recently, she has volunteered at South Medford High.