The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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May 25, 2013

A Don McCormack column: A leap of faith

Seventy-four years ago tomorrow, Bob Garvey won a state championship. But that didn't define his life


Home fires

Bob and Helen Garvey remained in the area, living on Holden Drive in Ashtabula Township until the time of his death, on June 1, 1990 at age 69 at Ashtabula County Medical Center.

Almost fittingly, it was a Friday... of the state track and field meet.

“I did not realize it at the time, but many of these men served our country and they were instilling a very important value to us — respect for the flag and pride in the greatest country of all,” Giannell said.

I didn’t become aware of Garvey’s state-championship performance until several years after his passing... and that saddens me.

It would have made for a wonderful story to listen to him describe his amazing leap, magnified by the equipment he had to work with back then.

Check out the taped-up track shoes he’s wearing in the photograph that accompanies this column. Check out the partially constructed bleachers behind him, most likely at wherever he and his Harbor teammates practiced back in the day.

Then, check out the state-championship medal around his neck. It appears to be about the size of a quarter.

But I get the feeling I would have been just as interested in hearing about the rest of his life... about growing up in the Harbor back in the 1930s... about going off to Notre Dame... about defending our freedoms in World War II... about overcoming the loss of a leg to live a happy and productive life... about the pride he must have felt for his son...

Mr. Garvey was a true hero... and one year short of three-quarters of a century after he set it, his Ashtabula County record still stands.

As does his legacy.

The Legend of Bob Garvey casts a long shadow.

A very long shadow.

McCormack is the sports editor of the Star Beacon. Reach him at

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