Audrey L. Overholt, who along with her beloved husband, Roy, were household Brookfield names and presided for more than a half century over an annual youth baseball tournament featuring top teams from neighboring communities, died Feb. 25, 2023 at the age of 95.
Born Audrey Lavenau on Sept. 26, 1927, she was raised in Riverside and attended Hauser Junior High in that village. It was when she was a freshman at Riverside-Brookfield High School in 1941 that she would meet her future husband, Roy, a native of Brookfield’s Hollywood section, who was a senior at the time.
While Roy was serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, said their daughter Nancy Nobile, Audrey lied about her age to volunteer as a Red Cross “candy striper” at MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn.
The couple married on Jan. 24, 1948 at Concordia Lutheran Church in Berwyn and were wed for 65 years until Roy’s death in 2013 at the age of 89. The couple moved back to Brookfield in 1961, and two years later started their eponymous season-ending baseball tournament, held at Kiwanis Park, directly across the street from the family home on Arden Avenue.
Roy Overholt’s passion for baseball was perhaps matched only by his passion for manicuring the baseball field, later named in his honor, at Kiwanis Park. Sitting atop a green tractor called “Little Audrey,” he’d maintain the field daily.
“He was there a lot, but she loved the game as much as he did,” Nobile told the Landmark. “They loved any ballpark, but especially that one.”
While Roy was the face of the Overholt Tournament, Audrey worked behind the scenes, creating signs, making out the schedule – “the stuff no one ever sees,’ Nobile said — and arranging for the inevitable victory parties at Buresh’s Lobster House.
“They’d travel for baseball games,” Nobile said. “They didn’t have to have kids playing in them.”
Mrs. Overholt worked for 16 years as the secretary and Sunday School teacher at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Brookfield. She was a member of the church’s Altar Guild for 45 years, was a member of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League and served as an election day poll worker.
After Roy Overholt retired in 1986, the couple spent six months of the year at their home in Florida, but they would return promptly each spring in time for Brookfield Little League’s opening day.
“[Roy] would have to be out there for the first pitch,” Nobile said.
He’d also throw the first pitch at his own tournament, a job Audrey assumed after his death. She continued to attend every Overholt Tournament, throwing out the first pitch until 2021. She attended the 2022 tournament last fall but did not throw out the first pitch.
“They used to call my dad Mr. Baseball in Brookfield,” Nobile said. “When people would call her Mrs. Baseball, she would answer to it.”
Mrs. Overholt was the wife of the late Roy A. Overholt; the mother of Ray (Pam) Overholt, Thomas (Julie) Overholt, David (Dale) Overholt, Nancy (David) Nobile and the late Gary Overholt; the grandmother of Kristen, Meggen, Samuel, Joseph, Andrew, Scott, Kimberly, Nicole, Jack and Natalie; and the sister of the late Arthur Lavenau.
She will lie in state on Wednesday, March 1 from 10:30 a.m. until the time of a funeral service at 11:30 a.m. at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, 9035 Grant Ave., Brookfield. Interment is at Woodlawn Cemetery, Forest Park.
Johnson-Nosek Funeral Home, Brookfield, handled arrangements.
Online condolences, memories and photographs may be shared at JohnsonNosek.com.