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Witt’s biggest football fan, Sortman, dies at 64

It’s unlikely anyone in history saw more Wittenberg football games than Ron Sortman. In 2011, he missed his first game since the 1978 Stagg Bowl, ending a streak of 342 consecutive games, home and away.

Sortman was more than a fan, however. He dropped off loads of chips and pop for the football coaches for years, and for a long time, before coaches started using computers themselves to prepare scouting reports, he used his own computer program to show the Wittenberg coaches their play-calling tendencies.

Sortman, 64, passed away March 6 of natural causes, and there’s no doubt his presence will be missed in the fall. He is believed to be the only person to see the program’s 400th, 500th, 600th and 700th victories.

“One thing I can say about him, and the term around here is the most endearing term, is, ‘That guy’s a Tiger,’” Wittenberg football coach Joe Fincham said. “There’s precious few that did more or gave more than Ron Sortman. He really was a Tiger.”

Sortman’s life will be celebrated Saturday at a memorial service at Grace Lutheran Church in West Carrollton. The family will receive friends from 1:30 p.m. until the service at 2 and and again following the service. It’s fitting his obituary tells people who plan to attend to “please show your Wittenberg colors and dress casually.”

Sortman is survived by sisters Pat Stafford, of Hillsboro, and Paula (Al) Haley, of Springfield; nieces Erin Stafford, Valerie (Brian) Bruski, Tiffany (Brian) Grieashamer; andgreat-nieces Isabella, Kayleigh, Michaela and Caitlyn.

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