Jane O. Emich

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Jane O. Emich, an outstanding Maryland golfer who during her more than 60-year career won numerous state and regional titles, died May 20 of respiratory failure at her home in the Brightwood retirement community. She was 95.

"Jane Emich was not only a great golfer, one of the best ever in Maryland, she was a gracious lady who by her kind and selfless demeanor enriched the game of golf in Maryland and widely beyond," said Jack R. Palmer, former president of the Baltimore Country Club and chairman of the PGA Players Championship held at the club in 2007 and 2009.

The daughter of George Frederick Obrecht, a Baltimore businessman and developer, and Fanny Oates Obrecht, Jane Obrecht and her twin, Doris, were born in Baltimore. They were raised in Roland Park and later on a farm in Glen Arm.

They attended Roland Park Country School, where the sisters were accomplished athletes in several sports.

"Roland Park Country School became the epicenter of the twins' childhood. Jane and Doris loved everything about it, especially the sports they loved to watch," said John Voneiff, a nephew who lives in Roland Park.

"On the day she was inducted into Roland Parks' Athletic Hall of Fame, Jane said, 'Doris and I wanted to be where we could score.'"

The sisters played right and left infield in field hockey, forward in basketball, midfielder in lacrosse, and were first and second on the tennis team.

During their high school careers, the sisters each won 14 varsity letters.

"The Obrecht twins have been the stars of every varsity team all four years at Roland Park Country School; they will be difficult to replace," reported The Baltimore Sun at the time of their graduation in 1937.

Because of their athletic achievements, Roland Park Country School's Athletic Hall of Fame is named in their honor and the school's highest athletic accolade, a white blazer, is awarded to inductees in their memory.

While attending the old Penn Hall Junior College and Preparatory School in Chambersburg, Pa., Mrs. Emich was an outstanding lacrosse and tennis player.

In 1942, she married John A. "Jack" Emich, who was serving in Virginia Beach, Va., as an Army supply officer.

During World War II, Mrs. Emich, who was living in Norfolk, Va., volunteered as a military freight dispatcher directing war materiel that arrived in Norfolk by train that was then loaded aboard waiting ships. When she was off duty, she concentrated on learning to play golf.

After the war ended, the couple returned to Baltimore and settled in a house on Club Road, where she lived next door to her sister for more than 30 years. Doris Obrecht Voneiff also became a champion state golfer. She died in 1998.

In 1946, the women's golf team at the Baltimore Country Club, of which Mrs. Emich and her sister were members, won for the first time the Hutzler Cup, which had been donated by the department store family in 1936. The twins won the Hutzler championship for the next 19 years.

Jim Wild, who covered golf for The Sun, wrote in 1965 that "women's golf has never seen the likes of such a team."

Mrs. Emich won 16 state and regional titles and the Baltimore Country Club women's championship an unequaled 10 times. Her prowess on the links earned her a berth on the Philadelphia, Baltimore, Delaware Mid-Atlantic team for six consecutive years as one of the region's best golfers.

In 1981, when she was 63, Mrs. Emich won the first of four Ocean City Golf Club women's championships.

"We probably played together more than 100 times and she was very, very competitive. She was also focused," said Mr. Palmer.

"One day, at a mixed event, when she was 92, a woman who was probably 38 said to Jane, 'It's nice seeing you come out and try to play.' Jane replied, 'I didn't come out here to try and play. I'm here to win.' She was just a remarkable woman," he said.

Last year, when she was 94, she shot a nine-hole score of 42.

"Because of her age, she only played nine holes," said her nephew.

In addition to the Baltimore Country Club, Mrs. Emich was a member of the Ocean City Golf Club and had been a member for 50 years of the Woman's Club of Roland Park.

She was also an inveterate bridge player.

Mrs. Emich's husband, who was also an accomplished golfer and was known as "Mr. Golf" of Maryland, died in 2002.

"She was a special gift to her family and everyone she touched," said a niece, Patricia V. Finney of Baltimore.

Mrs. Emich was a lifetime member of Grace United Methodist Church, 5407 N. Charles St., where a memorial service will be held at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

In addition to her nephew and niece, Mrs. Emich is survived by a brother, Charles F. Obrecht of Roland Park; a sister, Nancy Obrecht Victor of Chicago; and 14 other nieces and nephews.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com