Mary Lou Bartram was born
in Baltimore County, Maryland where she was raised by her parents, graduated
from Sparrows Point High School and Washington College in Chestertown,
Maryland. She moved to Harford County, Maryland in 1974 and resided
in that county on the date of her induction as a charter member into the National Jousting Hall Of Fame. The passing of Mary Lou Bartram on February 21, 2016 left the jousting community very saddened and with heavy hearts. The 2016 Maryland State Tournament was dedicated to her memory and the significant contributions she made to our sport.
Mary Lou started jousting at the age of four following in the footsteps of her brother, George, and under the tutelage of Mr. Paul A. Fleury of Kingsville, Md. She first jousted on her pony in the back yard, using a pool cue for a lance.
When she was eight years old she rode in her first official joust on a
full sized horse, and when she was twelve she won her first Amateur Class
Championship. Since that time she had gone on to win many jousting
competitions. She was the first and only woman, until 2016, to win the
Maryland State Championship title which she did in 1953, 1956 and 1960. Likewise she is the first and only woman to date who has ever won the National
Jousting Championship which she did in 1971 and 1982.
Aside from her accomplishments as a rider, Mary Lou, with her brother George, co-founded the Maryland Jousting Tournament Association in 1950. She served for many years
as secretary-treasurer of the organization, as well as being a member of
the Board of Directors. She also served as president. She wrote
the bill, and was instrumental in lobbing for it in Annapolis when Jousting
was given recognition by the state legislature and Governor Tawes as Maryland's
Official State Sport.
Mary Lou helped to organize
the National Jousting Association, and for several years held the office
of secretary. She promoted the sport of jousting by making appearances
on national television (as a contestant on the "To Tell The Truth" program
in 1972), local television and radio. She wrote newspaper and
magazine articles that were published. She taught jousting
to many young people, spoke to school assemblies, scout groups, clubs
and adult citizen groups about the sport of jousting.
As a final tribute to her
long and outstanding career in jousting, Mary Lou was the first jouster,
man or woman, to be enshrined in the Maryland Athletic Hall of Fame.
Although jousting had been
a way of life for Mary Lou, as a single woman she also enjoyed a successful
and constructive career in the field of corrections. She was the
first woman in the United States named as a warden of an all male, maximum
security prison - a post she held for six years before moving on to become
the first woman in Maryland named as an Assistant Commissioner of Corrections
in 1979. Mary Lou retired in 1981 after 33 years in service to the State.