Family of four Division I athletes
Basement walls getting covered with sports photos and more at Lee and Jean Carver's home
By Ed DuBois
The basement at Lee and Jean Carver's house was full of Corvette memorabilia at one time, and now a transformation has been taking place. The walls are being covered with photos of their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Most couples their age are proud of their families and like to show pictures.
Most of Lee and Jean's photos, and other visuals, are sports-related. Three family members were Division I athletes, and a fourth has a verbal commitment to join the golf team at Duke University.
Four Division I athletes in one family? Lee and Jean are amazed.
It all began with their daughter, Stacy, who graduated from Buffalo High School in 1989 after stellar performances in volleyball and basketball. She was a five-year starter in basketball and for a while held the Minnesota large school scoring record with 1,857 points.
Stacy then played at the University of Minnesota, where she held the record for most three-pointers in a game (nine), until Rachel Banham broke the record in 2016.
Stacy (Carver) Furtney now lives in St. Charles, Ill. with her husband, Craig, and they have three children. Their daughter, Megan, will be a junior at St. Charles High School this fall, and she is the one who has a verbal commitment to play golf at Duke.
Megan's brother, Ben, a sophomore at St. Charles High, will likely start on the football team and also plays basketball. Another brother, sixth-grader Jake, enjoys football, basketball and baseball.
St. Thomas basketball
Stacy's sister, Angie (Carver) Neisen, graduated from Buffalo High School in 1985 and was a volleyball, basketball and track athlete. She now lives in New Prague with her husband, Chris.
"Angie was a tomboy, and she was at the gym a lot," Lee recalled. "After high school, she played basketball at the University of St. Thomas."
"Angie led Buffalo High School three years in scoring, and then Stacy did it the next four years," Lee added.
New Prague teacher
Chris and Angie's two daughters, Steffi and Kenzie, were both Division I golfers. Steffi was on five Missota Conference golf championship teams while at New Prague High School. She then joined the University of Nebraska golf team, and she still holds the school record for the lowest score, 66. Steffi was a 4.0 student at Nebraska and was a four-time Academic All-American.
Steffi now teaches in her hometown of New Prague and is also an assistant golf coach.
Kenzie will be a senior at Oklahoma State University this fall. Her team has won the Big 12 Conference championship twice. Kenzie holds the conference tournament record low score of 207 (9 under), and like Steffi, she is also a 4.0 student.
At New Prague High School, she was on four Missota Conference golf champion teams. The squad was a two-time Minnesota State High School League champion.
Lee added that Kenzie was the first female to win the State Open and State Amateur championships in the same year.
Two family members lost
Tragedy struck the family when brothers of Steffi and Kenzie, Sam and Tommy, died at age 16 and 15, respectively, from a rare genetic disorder, Hunter syndrome. They were sons of Chris and Angie Neisen. Sam died in March 2009, and Tom died in March 2015.
State Open Champ
On a happier note, Kenzie won the Minnesota State Open (Amateurs and Pros) at Deer Run in Victoria just a short time ago on Aug. 16. She set a record with a score of 63 on the first day.
Kenzie is interested in going into medicine. She is also thinking about whether or not to try pro golf for a while, Lee said.
Kenzie's golf achievements include: Minnesota state high school individual championship in both 2013 and 2014 (set record score, 135, 9 under, in 2014), Minnesota Women's Amateur Tournament Champion in 2015, Minnesota Women's Open Tournament Champion in 2015 (first time a women won both tournaments in the same year), 2015 Big 12 Conference Individual Champion, 2016 Big 12 Conference Individual Champion (set conference record of 207, 9 under), and 2017 Minnesota Women's Open Champion (set all-time record of 63 on the first day).
More in Delano
Other athletes in the Carver family include Lee and Jean's son, Kevin, who graduated from Buffalo in 1983. He was in basketball and track. He and his wife, Kathi, have three children. Ryan will be a junior at Delano High School and plays basketball and baseball. Grace will be a seventh grader and plays basketball and softball. Nate will be a fifth grader.
Asked about his own athletic activities, Lee said he and his brother, Eddie Carver, "played softball all the time" while growing up. Eddie was so involved with softball for so many years, a softball park in Montrose was named after him.
As for the Division I sports accomplishments of Lee and Jean's family, a desire to see the athletes in action has opened up opportunities to travel. For example, this is the fourth year they are going to Hawaii for a golf tournament.
Lee mentioned he has a claim to some Hollywood fame. Loni Anderson of the TV show "KKRP in Cincinnati" is a cousin.
Retired since 2006, Lee had started Sil-Pro, a medical manufacturing company in Delano. His son, Kevin, is now the company president.
Lee and some friends started the Route 55 Corvette Cruisers in about 2008. The club now has roughly 35 members (including several couples). A highlight for club members was driving their cars on the track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2015. Lee has a photo from that day on a wall in the basement.
Proud of the kids
While Lee was using most of the basement for a collection of Corvette club mementoes, Jean was using a room upstairs for an extensive stamp collection.
They still enjoy their hobbies, but now most of what you see in the basement are photos and other visuals related to the extraordinary athletic accomplishments of their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Like most couples their age, they are very proud of their family.
They have walls of pictures to prove it.
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