Bibliophile: Lou’s Legacy of Local History

By Robin Van Auken
The Wholehearted Author

Louis E. Hunsinger, Jr. labors for posterityHe does this as a historian, preserving Lycoming County’s heritage as a writer for newspapers, magazines, programs, and books, working as the co-author of eight books on local history.

Lou Hunsinger JrHis publishing career began with his good friend,  Dr. James P. Quigel, and in 1999, the duo published the paperback, “Williamsport’s Baseball Heritage,” a photographic narrative about professional baseball, through Arcadia.

This book was soon followed up by, “Gateway to the Majors: Williamsport and Minor League Baseball,” published by Penn State University Press.

For the past 15 years, Lou has been a reporter with Webb Weekly, a free tabloid delivered to more than 58,000 households in Lycoming County. He’s earned quite a reputation while with the publication, writing feature articles about people and events. He also has a series, “Through the Years,” that reprints historic news from papers of record.

Locals also know Lou for his popular “History Shapers” series that ran in the Williamsport Sun-Gazette, nearly 18 years ago. It’s not often someone can remain popular for an activity nearly two decades in the past, but Lou’s writings have remained prominent in the community, regardless of where he works.

Lou also is a staple of local baseball fields, from the venerable Bowman Field, where he attends nearly every home game of the Crosscutters minor league team, or at the Little League Baseball World Series field, where he announces in the press box.

Lou’s amazing recall of historic facts, dates, and statistics has prompted his friends to rely upon him for answering general questions, setting disputes, bets and queries, resulting in the nickname “Loogle,” a play on the famous search engine, Google. His friends now say, “Let’s Loogle It” when they have a question instead of reaching for their mobile phones.

What makes Lou’s work even more noteworthy is that he accomplishes this despite a visual disability. A failed cornea transplant left him blind in his right eye, and with failing vision in his left. This left him unable to drive, yet the indomitable historian continues to make his rounds around town, catching a city bus to the local library, or to meet with a source for an upcoming article.

A widower, Lou’s staunchest fan was his wife, Mary, who not only supported his work as a writer, but also served as his proofreader and driver when he needed a lift to visit a interviewee.  Their marriage was too short, only five years, but they are the most important five years of Lou’s life, and he misses his companion every day.

He also praises the technology that makes his work possible, as a sight-impaired person. Without the use of a special computer and screen, he may not have been able to continue to labor for posterity.

 

 

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