CASPER—Vinia Marie (Hobbs) Poe, age 98, was born in Ada, Oklahoma on October 28, 1920 to Carl Hobbs and Nora (Patterson) Hobbs. Vinia passed away on December 5, 2018 at Mountain Plaza Assisted Living.
Vinia grew up on a farm outside Ada. Vinia married her husband of 67 years, Bill Poe, on May 30, 1941. Vinia was a true Rosie the Riveter, working for Lockheed in California during World War II.
Vinia dedicated her life to raising her family in Casper, Wyoming but her true passion was playing basketball. This is the essence of our Mother: ...from an article written by Chuck Harkins of the Casper Star Tribune in 1974: UCLA won 83 consecutive games to establish an all time basketball winning streak-they thought. Pillow Academy of Greenwood, Miss. currently on an 89 game streak, relegated the Bruins to the men’s asterisk division when they beat East Holmes Academy. A new claimant, however, emerged on the scene. Under the coaching of the famed Bertha Teague, Byng High School of Oklahoma, located six miles north of Ada, had 98 consecutive wins.
A Casper woman Mrs. W. W. Poe can attest to that record. She was the starting center of the Byng teams in 1936-37-38 that reeled off 90 of those 98 consecutive wins. Mrs. Poe, then Vinia Hobbs never played in a losing game nor did she ever foul out of a game. Vinia was recently honored at the ‘All Time All Girl’ basketball banquet. Vinia was selected to the 1930’s All-Decade Team and entered the Oklahoma Athletic Hall of Fame in the All Time All Girls division of the Hall. For this honor Vinia received the Jim Thorpe Memorial Oklahoma award given in recognition as one of ‘The All Time Greats of Oklahoma’ girls basketball teams for the decade of 1930-1939. The Jim Thorpe Memorial Hall of Fame is served by some great names in sports. Vinia entered the Hall on February 4, 1974...
Vinia was recruited from Byng High School to play for the Ozark Hillbillies, the farm team for the All-American Redheads in 1939. They traveled the country playing men’s teams and men’s rules. Vinia played for the Redheads until her marriage to Bill Poe in 1941. They met while playing basketball against each other. These two women’s teams were the first to pay women to play basketball, helping pave the way for women in the WNBA. The All American Redheads were later inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame.
In Vinia’s own words: ‘I played for the love of the game. Basketball changed my life.’
Vinia is survived by her four children, Brenda (Roger) Uhlich, Sandra Poe, Chris (Cindy) Poe, and Kay (Juan) Freire. She is also survived by four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Vinia was preceded in death by her parents and her husband.
A Graveside Service will be held on Friday, December 14th at 2:00 p.m. at Highland Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Central Wyoming Rescue Mission or to the Casper Humane Society.
To leave a special message for her family, please visit www.NewcomerCasper.com.