Violet Bidwill Wolfner (1900-1962) was owner of the Chicago/St. Louis Cardinals of the National Football League from 1947 to 1962. She inherited the team when her husband, longtime Cardinals owner Charles Bidwill, died before the 1947 season. She was the first woman to become principal owner of an NFL team.
Violet's first season as owner saw the Cardinals, led by the "Dream Backfield" of Paul Christman, Pat Harder, Marshall Goldberg, and Charley Trippi, defeat the Philadelphia Eagles for the franchise's first undisputed league championship. They made it to the league title game again in 1948, but lost to the Eagles in a rematch of the previous year. As it turned out, they would have only four more .500 seasons under her ownership.
Violet married St. Louis businessman Walter Wolfner in 1949, becoming known as Violet Bidwill Wolfner. When it became apparent that Chicago wasn't big enough for both the Cardinals and the Bears, she moved the team to St. Louis after the 1959 season. She died on January 29, 1962 and is buried at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois. In her will, she split her interest in the Cardinals between her sons from her first marriage, Charles Bidwill, Jr. and Bill Bidwill.
|Chicago/St. Louis Cardinals principal owner
Charles Bidwill, Jr and Bill Bidwill
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