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Betty Sonnhalter Award

Cassidy Irwin

In memory of Betty Sonnhalter's many years of dedication to young skaters, the Southern California InterClub Association established a Memorial Grant Program in her name.  Every year, two skaters are selected by a committee. They each receive a monetary grant for their achievements both on and off the ice.

We continued to award these grants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Congratulations to the 2023 recipients, ELYCE LIN-GRACEY and KELSEY LEE.

(Photographed are the 2019 recipients.)

For past winners, click here

Download 2023 Application here:

Betty Sonnhalter

Betty Sonnhalter.png

In 1999 our skating community mourned the loss of one of our own in the passing of Mrs. Betty Sonnhalter. Her accomplishments were many: National Judge, National Referee, and the President of Arctic Blades Figure Skating Club. She devoted much of her life to the sport she loved. Betty dedicated over fifty years to her club, the USFS, but most of all to the skaters and judges she helped raise and educate. One honor of which she was particularly proud was being voted Honorary Life Member of the Board of Directors of the USFS.

Betty was the first woman elected to the Executive Board of the USFS, the first female Vice-President, and the first female National Referee in the country. She was president of her club for numerous years, Secretary of the Southern California Inter-Club Association for 35 years, served as Competitions Vice-Chair, Secretary of the USFS and many other positions too numerous to list. Betty was a skater, judge, referee, mentor, and friend.


Although a very private person, her life was filled with diverse activities. In her professional life Betty devoted 54 years to Dwyer Curllett, a mortgage banking firm as Senior Vice President. Betty was an accomplished horse woman and an avid tennis player in her early days, but her true passion was ice skating. She began first as an ice dancer, then went on to become a judge, referee, and a USFS officer.

Among the inner circle of local skating officials, Betty was lovingly referred to as “Mother Superior.” Her greatest joy was mothering her judges, many of whom she watched develop from young skaters themselves. She was always approachable. Everyone — from skaters, coaches, parents, and officials - never failed to get advice or clarification to some fine point in question from her. Betty’s special gift was always having the right answer.


She had no surviving relatives but her skating family numbered into the hundreds. The void Betty Sonnhalter left can never be filled.

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