Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-09-16
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Lesbian couple talk relationship, softball, bone-marrow search
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

During the summer of 1989, Betty Kollar and Julie Iverson met through a mutual friend and began hanging out at the now-defunct lesbian club, Paris Dance, after their 16-inch softball games. Soon after, on May 5, 1990, they went on their first date and have been together ever since. They had a civil union Oct. 6, 2012 and, two years later, Cook County classified it as a marriage, retroactively.

Both Kollar and Iverson were born in Chicago and lived on opposite sides of the city—Kollar in Hermosa Park and Iverson in South Shore. Kollar graduated from Lane Tech High School and received her BA in liberal arts from Chicago State University. Iverson went to Aquinas High School and got her BA and MA in physical education from Chicago State University and MA in educational leadership from Governors State University.

After working numerous jobs, including at a health club, Kollar spent 30 years as a FedEx Express courier and recently retired. Iverson spent 38 years in education, with the last 15 years as an administrator until she retired in 2014.

Not only does the couple love softball, but they also have favorite baseball teams: Kollar's is the Cubs and Iverson's is the White Sox.

Due to their excellence on the softball field over 20-plus years, they were both inducted into Chicago's 16-inch Softball Hall of Fame—Iverson in 2019 and Kollar in 2012.

For most of their softball careers, they played on different teams and were very competitive even when they played against each other.

"The Beverly and Mt. Greenwood neighborhoods were big on 16-inch softball," said Kollar. "When the local [now former] Alderwoman Ginger Rugai was diagnosed with Breast cancer, a 16-inch 'Y-Me' women's softball tournament was born. We played at St. Christina's Fields. Since then it has grown into the largest tournament in Chicago and has raised thousands of dollars."

"It was a powerful day," said Iverson. "Survivors playing, teams whose name was a family member who had lost the battle. It was an all day and all night dancing party of women supporting women."

"We loved softball so much that we even played outside in the winter," said Kollar. "Lincoln Park was the site of an annual snowball tournament. Looking back, how crazy was that."

"Playing 16-inch softball brings you a unique Chicago connection that you will not find anywhere else in the city," said Iverson.

"It has brought us lasting relationships with teammates, coaches and sponsors," said Kollar. "The 16-inch Softball Hall of Fame exemplifies this fact. The founders have included everyone and continue to promote the game in the city. Go check out the museum located at the corner of Harrison Street and Desplaines Avenue in Forest Park to see memorabilia from our games and tournaments."

Now the couple calls Fort Myers, Florida, home, having moved there five years ago. For Iverson, the move was necessary for health reasons.

"FedEx offers job transfers and when a position was posted there I joined Julie five months after we sold our Beverly home," said Kollar.

"We like South Florida because of the warm winter weather," said Iverson. "We love the wildlife and beautiful flowers. The gay community may be small in comparison to Chicago but they have pride fest and some businesses we try to frequent. Also, there is always Key West."

"We miss some of our favorite Chicago foods,—pizza, Italian beefs and gyros," Kollar added. "When we come visit here, those are the foods we gravitate to."

Over the years the couple has celebrated Pride month, supported human-rights causes and the ACLU. Recently, they attended the 2017 Women's March in Washington, D.C. and worked on Dem. House candidate David Holden's campaign ( who lost to incumbent Rep. Francis Rooney ) in what they call "a very red district."

They also love spending time with their 60 nieces and nephews—of which there are more than 60 of them. Of the many things they did with their nieces and nephews, the couple cited trips to baseball and football games, skating rinks, state parks, Disney World, the District of Columbia and Cancun, Mexico, along with celebrating weddings and graduations as the most memorable over the years.

However, one of their relatives is involved in a critical battle. Their youngest nephew—18-year-old Kyle Kollar, whom they took to music lessons and on camping trips—recently graduated from Taft High School and is currently battling leukemia which was discovered when he was admitted to Lutheran General Hospital with headaches and a low blood count. The family is looking for a bone-marrow donor match, but have been unsuccessful thus far.

They are working with Vitaliant's Be The Match program and have asked anyone willing to take the test to fill out the registration form at

For those who are ineligible to donate bone marrow, visit

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Chicago releases outdoor dining guidelines for fall, winter 2020-09-22 - Keeping the COVID-19 pandemic in mind, the City of Chicago released guidelines for safe outdoor dining this fall and winter. All outdoor spaces ...

Gay News

HRC Pres. Alphonso David reacts to U.S. approaching 200,000 COVID deaths 2020-09-21 - WASHINGTON, DC - Today, as the United States approaches the grim milestone of surpassing 200,000 deaths caused by COVID-19, Human Rights Campaign Foundation ...

Gay News

COVID-19 Report: Latinx LGBTQ people suffer more from economic fallout 2020-09-18 - The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) Foundation released new data outlining the economic impact of COVID-19 on Latinx LGBTQ people. The new ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Gay philanthropist Henry van Ameringen dies 2020-09-16 - Henry van Ameringen, a major donor to LGBTQ+ and HIV organizations, died Sept. 9. He was 90, according to a Plus magazine item. ...

Gay News

Midwest LGBTQ Health Symposium going virtual Sept. 16-17 2020-09-16 - The Midwest LGBTQ Health Symposium 2020—with its theme, "Being Healthy is a Radical Act"—will be going virtual Sept. 16-17. The symposium ( presented ...

Gay News

SciLine hosts intersectional briefing regarding LGBTQ+, Black communities 2020-09-16 - Recently, SciLine held a media briefing discussing mental health in LGBTQ+ and Black communities. Yale School of Medicine's Dr. John Pachankis and ...

Gay News

Quigley, Demings introduce blood-donation bias measure 2020-09-16 - U.S. Reps. Mike Quigley (IL-05), who serves as Vice Chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus, and Val Demings (FL-10) introduced the Science in ...

Gay News

SOCIAL MEDIA Sam Cushing talks COVID-19, creating meaningful content 2020-09-15 - Sam Cushing is a multihyphenate talent—musician, fitness consultant, digital content creator and mental-health advocate—with a focus on building his social media presence to ...

Gay News

Pritzker aims to connect unemployed with COVID-19 response jobs 2020-09-10 - Illinois Gov. Pritzker announced a new $16.6-million investment to expand job opportunities for Illinoisans who have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. ...

Gay News

TAWANI Foundation's donations reach $1.8M 2020-09-09 - In response to the current health crisis, the TAWANI Foundation, TAWANI Enterprises' philanthropic organization, has donated $1.8 million so far to various organizations ...


Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.