2014-2015 Hall of Fame

Katharin Dewey
November 22, 1917-December 18, 1997

Katharin Dewey was a pioneer of women’s bobsledding and was considered one of the top drivers in her era. She piloted her team to a historic victory in the 1940 U.S. Championships when mixed teams were allowed. Dewey paved the way for women in the sport, proving they were not only capable of racing at the elite level, but also capable of winning against even the men.

“Bobsledding, since its inception a stronghold of male sport, bowed Monday to femininity,” started the AP article following Dewey’s win. At just 24-years-old, the graduate nurse “won her spurs as a driver, winning a two and four man novice race and the Lithgow Osborne trophy, which was her first major victory,” according to a Lake Placid News article from Feb. 16, 1940. Women were banned later from championship bobsled races “on the grounds that the sport is too hazardous for them,” reported The Au Sable Forks Record-Post. “Women bobbers then claimed the men were jealous.” After the ban, Dewey served in the Army Nurse Corps, where she was promoted to captain.

Dewey can be thanked for paving the way for women to compete in the sport. Women’s bobsled became an official discipline in 1998 with 2000 being the first year that women’s bobsled was featured in the World Championships, and it made its Olympic debut at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.

Dewey was the daughter of 1932 Olympic Winter Games President Godfrey Dewey. Godfrey was the only child of Melville Dewey, who created the Dewey Decimal System.

Howard B. Siler, Jr.
June 18, 1945- July 8, 2014

Howard B. Siler, Jr. was American bobsledder who competed from the late 1960s to the early 1980s. He won a bronze medal in the four-man event at the 1969 World Championships in Lake Placid, N.Y., and competed at the 1972 and 1980 Winter Olympics. Siler’s best Olympic finish was on his home track in the 1980 Lake Placid Games, where he finished fifth in the two-man race. He was also a five-time U.S. champion and a nine-time member of the U.S. World Championship team.

Siler also served as the U.S. bobsled team coach in 1985 before he coached the Jamaican bobsled team that competed in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, and he was the inspiration for John Candy’s role as Irving “Irv” Blitzer in the 1993 film Cool Runnings.

Philip M. “Brown Bear” Duprey
February 6, 1944

Philip M. “Brown Bear” Duprey was from Saranac Lake, N.Y. and attended Saranac Lake High School, where he was captain of the football and baseball teams. In 1992, he was inducted into the Saranac Lake High School Athletic Hall of Fame for his accomplishments in football, baseball, basketball, track, golf and hockey.

After high school, Duprey became a competitive bobsled brakeman and was named to three Winter Olympic teams (1968, 1972 and 1976) and five World Championship teams (1967, 1969, 1970, 1971, and 1973). He won the two-man bobsled Deterding Cup in St. Moritz, Switzerland in 1967, and he was a member of the winning four-man sled at the 1967 North American Championships.

Duprey volunteered during the 1980 Winter Olympics, and was a member of the Lake Placid Track Officials Association for multiple World Championships and World Cup races. He was a consultant in the 1980s to NASCAR driver Geoff Bodine, who founded the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc. in 1992.

The Duprey family owned the Brown Bear Bar in Ray Brook, N.Y., which is how Duprey got the nickname “Bear.”