By DAVID GREEN
Who is the most famous person to come out of Morenci?
Old timers might point toward E.D. Stair—as in Stair Public Library, Stair Auditorium and Stair Gymnasium. After growing up in Morenci, Stair became the owner of the Detroit Free Press and served as publisher throughout the 1920s and 1930s.
The auditorium and gymnasium have both faded into memory here, just like the man behind the name of the library.
Today, the name Tony Scheffler is the one some residents are citing as Morenci’s claim to fame. After all, it’s right there on Wikipedia and various sports profiles. Tony Scheffler: home town, Morenci, Mich.
Every now and then someone will stop in the Observer office to point out this fact. Last week Ron Eller came in with Scheffler’s profile printed from Yahoo Sports.
First of all, who is this Scheffler guy? If you’re not a professional football fan, you’ve probably never encountered the name.
Scheffler was an All-State football and baseball player at Chelsea High School, graduating in 2001. He earned a marketing degree at Western Michigan University (3.63 GPA) and was a three-year letter-winner in baseball. He set records at WMU as a tight end on the football team and ranked third nationally in receptions per game.
He was a second-round draft choice of the Denver Broncos in 2006. Now in his second season with the NFL, his career continues to blossom.
But back to this Morenci connection. Is Tony Scheffler really from Morenci or is that just an error?
Profiles list his birth date as Feb. 15, 1983. That was back in the days when the name of anyone entering and leaving Morenci Area Hospital was printed in the paper as news.
A look through the Observer archives shows that Mrs. Anthony Scheffler was admitted as a patient Feb. 15, 1983. She was discharged three days later with her son.
So Morenci really is Scheffler’s birth place, but is “home town” an accurate description?
What does the Observer’s telephone book archive indicate? In 1983, Anthony Scheffler lived at 10636 Ingall Hwy. If any Scheffler fans want to see his childhood home, now you know where to go.
The 1979 phonebook shows no Schefflers. The 1980 book is missing. The 1981 book shows them living on Ingall. They’re still listed in the 1984 book but they’ve moved on by 1985. This means Tony Scheffler was about two years old when the family moved—a big loss for the future Morenci sports teams 15 years down the road.
So it’s true, Morenci is where Tony Scheffler came from, but claiming him as our own only goes so far.
In a 2006 story in the Chelsea Standard, Scheffler talks about how nervous he was concerning the upcoming draft, but he also mentions his roots in Chelsea.
“You’ll see me around,” he said. “I’ll never forget where I came from.”
Scheffler was probably too young to remember much about where he came from, but he does know where he was born: Morenci, Mich.