Skip to main content

The Journal Gazette

  • Swikar Patel/The Journal Gazette: Marg Wall, seen here in a 2012 file photo, has died at age 92 after running Roller Dome on Coliseum Boulevard since 1950.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 9:00 am

Longtime Roller Dome operator Marg Wall dies at 92

By Frank Gray The Journal Gazette

Marg Wall, who had run the Roller Dome on Coliseum Boulevard since 1950 and who wrote rules of behavior that were adopted by roller rinks all over the country, died Tuesday morning. She was 92.

Wall managed the Roller Dome on a daily basis during the course of four generations up until the time of her death.

During an open skate held in 2012 to mark her 90th birthday, Wall noted that her dress code and code of conduct were virtually unchanged since she wrote them 62 years before, and that people obeyed them because "they know the mean old lady is still there" to enforce them.

Wall was born in Churubusco and was valedictorian of her high school class. Her father died when she was 16, and she and her mother supported her family by frying chickens at the Barr Street Market.

She met her future husband, James, at a roller rink and they were married in 1940, eventually having 12 children. 

After James Wall returned from the military after World War II, he started a home building company. The couple decided to start a business that she could be active in while raising her family, so they bought land two miles outside the city limits and built the Roller Dome. 

It took two years to built the facility. Wall ran the business and the family lived in living quarters built in the back.

In 1969 Wall and her husband opened a skate supply business and in following years bought or built seven more roller rinks. Later her husband started a roller rink consulting company and Wall trained owners in rink operations. The two also developed special floor coatings used exclusively in roller rinks.

After her husband's death in 1993, she continued to manage the business. She also developed the all-day skate format, in which parents dropped their children off at 9 a.m. and they skated until 5 p.m.

She joined her husband in the Roller Skating Hall of Fame in 2000 and was named a Sagamore of the Wabash in 2002.

She was also involved in numerous charitable works, including fundraisers, collections for food banks, clothing drives and literacy programs.

Wall is survived by 12 children, 32 grandchildren, 36 great-grandchildren and 14 great-great-grandchildren.

fgray@jg.net