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Mary McKinstry - Super Skating Mom

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"Mrs. McKinstry's Girls"

Jo Ann Schneider Farris Personal Photo Collection

Mary McKinstry impacted the lives of many skaters:

Mary McKinstry passed away in July, 2006 and is missed by the skating community. She helped to mold many young skater's lives. She was "mother" to not only her own children, but to many others.

Mary McKinstry ran a house for skaters in Squaw Valley, California :

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, every skater who visited Squaw Valley envied the "McKinstry Kids." Mrs. McKinstry took in about ten girls each summer.

She fed the girls, did their laundry, entertained them, took them to the rink, and cheered each girl on as she skated.

Mrs. McKinstry made the skating summers an adventure :

Staying at the McKinstry House was almost like going away to skating camp.

Skaters slept on bunk beds and in sleeping bags. They woke up early, at about 6:00 AM.

Every morning Mrs. McKinstry would go into the girls' rooms, turn on the lights and announce, "Good Morning, Rise and Shine, Wake-up, Hustle Hustle Hustle!"

The girls would all dress quickly and rush upstairs to drink hot jello. She then drove the girls to the rink in time for an early morning patch session.

Mrs. McKinstry was a fantastic cook:

Every morning, after skating early, the girls would walk home after skating the early patch session and arrive back home to a wonderful breakfast. There were piles of bacon, eggs, and orange juice for the hungry skaters.

Mrs. McKinstry always made sure there were plently of snacks around. Her chocolate chip cookies were the best! She also made brownies. Bananas were always available too. She had plently of kool-aid and lemonade in the fridge.

The skaters took her great food for granted.

The McKinstry girls had a busy skating schedule:

After breakfast, the girls would all walk back to the rink for a freestyle, followed by another patch, and another freestyle.

Mrs. McKinstry would come to the rink during the last freestyle, with snacks and she'd watch all "her girls" skate. She would play their music, on records then, and clap when they skated well.

In the early evening, the girls would return to the rink for more skating and return home to a wonderful dinner. A friend, named Slim, would sing folk songs after dinner.

Mrs. McKinstry took "her girls" on field trips:

Once a week, Mrs. McKinstry took the girls somewhere to swim.

A popular place for afternoon relaxation was a place the girls called "Gilligan's Island," which was really a quiet place on the Truckee River. Everyone would sit on rock slabs for hours enjoying the sun. Mrs. McKinstry would swim hard right in the river. She was a great swimmer.

On many Sundays, Mrs. McKinstry took the girls to one of the Lake Tahoe beaches for swimming. She always made flank steak on those afternoons.

Mrs. McKinstry took "her girls" on many more adventures:

On some Sundays, on the skaters' day off, she would take the girls to a place that was called "The Falls" and the girls would wash their hair in the cold water that ran down the mountain.

Sometimes they would go to Tahoe City Beach, especially on the 4th of July.

Together, the girls saw the first man walk on the moon on T.V. when they spent that memorable day with the McMurry family who lived right on the lake in Lake Tahoe. It was a day with swimming, fun, and then experiencing history.

Mary McKinstry is the mother of U.S. World Team Member, Juli McKinstry :

Juli McKinstry won U.S. National Junior Ladies and was a member of the World Figure Skating Team in the early 1970s.

Mrs. McKinstry worked hard to help fund Juli's skating by running the "Squaw Valley McKinstry Skating Boarding House."

Mary McKinstry's son, Roy, was a competitive skier:

Juli's brother, Roy, is remembered by many of the young figure skaters that came to Squaw Valley. Roy became very involved with competitive skiing.

  • Roy McKinstry's Squaw Valley Memories
  • Mary McKinstry leaves many people with wonderful memories:

    So many people in skating remember Mary McKinstry.

    Here are comments from some of "her girls":

    Barbara Horton Linn writes:

    'I was so sorry to hear about Mrs. McKinstry passing away. I remember the hot jello drink she would give in the morning before patch. I have tried that drink in more recent years, and yes it does hit the spot. I remember she took us to raft on the Truckee in the afternoon when we had a break from skating. I also remember that she really watched out for us at the rink, making sure we had snacks and that people were being nice to "her" girls.'

    Faye Talkov Ghielmetti writes:

    'What a great time in my life. We didn't have a care in the world. Mary Mckinstry really had things in order from the wake up call, "the time is...the temp is..., are you going? rise and shine!" until the end of the day while we curled up by the fire listening to Slim sing folk songs. It seems like yesterday when we were all up there together.

    I don't know how she kept all of us on our schedules along with cooking, cleaning, and getting us out to "Gilligan's Island!"!

    I will always remember Mary McKinstry's and her amazing positive attitude. She really made some special memories for alot of us. I can still picture her swimming in the lake after getting us to and from the rink, then coming home to barbeque flank steaks! I'm hoping her energy will live on in all of us!'

  • A Letter From Mary McKinstry to Skaters Coming for Squaw Valley Summer Skate 1968
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