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Sally Deaver Murray

Hall of Fame Class of 1978

Bio Content

Information submitted in a nomination letter to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame by H. Pflieger.

Competition played an important part in Sally Deaver’s short life. Armed with her love of speed, she won some of the top races across the country. An outstanding skier, she qualified as a member of the F.I.S. team and was an F.I.S. medalist in 1958.

Sally Deaver was born in Philadelphia on December 14, 1933. She attended Chestnut Hill School. At the age of 10, she went to Lake Placid, New York where she attended the North Country School.

While at North Country School Sally was taught skiing. Her first instructor was Hannes Schneider from whom she took lessons during holidays up at North Conway, New Hampshire. She spent three years at North Country School after which she returned to Philadelphia.

Sally did not ski again until she enrolled at Vasser in 1951. Up to his time, skiing was one of the sports that she enjoyed along with tennis, golf, skating and riding.
During the summer of her sophomore year at Vasser,, Sally vacationed at a resort in the Andes. While there, she caught the “Ski Bug”. It was this ski trip to South America that converted Sally into a serious skier.

When the fall session began at school, Sally was still skiing in South America. She never returned to school and spent three more summers in Chile; two skiing with the great Emile Allais and another being coached by Stein Ericksen, Buddy Werner and Tom Corcoran. Sally won several South American alpine championships in 1953 and 1955.

Perhaps her most outstanding showing here in the U.S. was during the 1956 season when she won the National Women’s Giant Slalom Championship and the National Women’s Slalom Championship, both held at Squaw Valley. In 1957, she won the National Women’s Giant Slalom Championship at Aspen.

Following the National Alpine Combined competition at Squaw Valley, Burt Simms of the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner wrote the following concerning Sally’s 1956 accomplishments, “pretty Sally Deaver, 22, whose triumphs earlier this year in the Alta Cup, Roch Cup and Harriman Cup – the country’s top three invitational meets – were unparalleled, won the Women’s Giant Slalom Title. Sally, daughter of a leading Philadelphia surgeon, has been racing for only four years.”

The 1958 F.I.S. World Alpine Championships were held at Badgastein, Austria. Sally was named to the team that would represent the U.S. in the competition. During the team tryouts, she was seeded number two after Nonie Foley.

Sally led the American team during the pre-championship races in Europe. The fact that the 1958 F.I.S. was to be the first top international competition did not disturb her in the least. She concentrated on winning. She went all out to win and make a showing that surprised the world of skiing.

Roland Palmedo wrote, “Sally Deaver’s second place in the giant slalom elated the American group here. It was a happy finish – the best U.S. showing since Andrea Lawrence’s triumphs in Norway in 1952.”

Because of her fine showing in the 1958 F.I.S. meet, Sally was invited to join the 1960 U.S. Olympic Team Training Squad. However, she decided to forgo further ski competition to marry Benjamin H. Murray.

Although she never had a serious skiing accident, it was her great love of competition in another sport which resulted in her early death. While training a horse for an upcoming show in 1963, she was thrown and fatally injured. Sally was a great all-around athlete, particularly a great skier. Her death was a great loss to her family, her friends and to American skiing.

Sally Deaver Murray was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1978.

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