USA Field Hockey celebrates the life and legacy of Joceleyn Emory Kaligis, who passed away earlier this month. Kaligis was an athlete, umpire and teacher of the game to all who met him.
Born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands in 1936, “Joce” lived through the devastation of World War II and the ruin of his birth city. In 1954, he immigrated to the United States during the Hungarian Revolution, ultimately settling in Illinois. Kaligis served in the military in 1965 as a Veterinary Corp food inspector. He pursued a degree in education from the University of Illinois before he became an educator who taught German, social studies and humanities for more than 30 years at Whitehall High School. He retired from teaching in 1991.
In addition to being Whitehall’s field hockey coach for many years, he was a member of the U.S. Men’s National Team from 1963-79. He was part of the squad that earned a bronze medal in the 1967 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada, the first time field hockey was played in the major event. Kaligis also represented the red, white and blue in the 1971 Pan American Games in Cali, Columbia.
Kaligis was a member of the PIAA officials chapter for more than 40 years and also served as chapter president. His contributions to the sport earned him an induction in to Whitehall’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005.
Kaligis had a unique point of view and always made time for anyone in need of mentoring. Whether it be a challenge on the field or a trial of the heart, he would provide enthusiastic motivation, guidance and support in order to put someone right into scoring position.
Kaligis leaves behind his beloved wife Pat, sons, Christopher and Jake, and a very large following of devoted field hockey players, students and friends.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Kaligis' memory to the Special Olympics organization.