By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 93-year-old Paynesville man, who was killed earlier this spring, was honored Friday evening in a special way.

Police think Willie Scheel and his wife Gloria were murdered by their grandson. Their bodies were found in rural Kandiyohi County.

Last year, WCCO featured Scheel in a story about his ping-pong skills.

Friday night, the Minnesota Senior Sports Association inducted him into their Hall of Fame.

Willie Scheel (credit: CBS)

In his 90s. Scheel was not just dominant on the ping-pong table.

Some of the people he beat were 70 years younger than him. It was a sight to see, but it came as no surprise to his family.

“There was times that he could hit that ball, you wouldn’t even see it go by you,” said granddaughter Gretchen Jones. “He was great. He was awesome.”

Jones says her grandparents set an example by staying active. Married for 57 years, Willie and Gloria made friends with people of all ages. They even delivered more than 16,000 dinners for Meals on Wheels.

“We just smile and think of what Grandma and Grandpa would’ve done,” Jones said.

(credit: CBS)

Scheel’s big heart and athletic prowess eventually caught the attention of others. Before he died, he was set to be inducted into the MSSA.

“Willie especially was a classic example of an older person having fun, having a passion and getting his exercise,” said Lowell Thompson of the MSSA. “The whole town, you know, loved the guy.”

Scheel’s family believes it is a night he would have loved. Jones received the award on behalf of her grandfather.

Her only regret is that he was not there to receive it himself.

“Even at 92 years old, life is short,” Jones said. “He was one to put a smile on his face every day and get up and do it, and he had the energy to do it.”

The Hall of Fame induction took place at Jimmy’s Event Center in Vadnais Heights. Scheel was one of nine seniors inducted.

John Lauritsen

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