The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

January 26, 2014

A Don McCormack column: A letter of just the right type

Sports Editor

— One of the AC/DC aspects of this job are the many forms of correspondence I receive, pretty much on a daily basis.

The AC/DC part is while some of the emails, voicemails, etc. are positive or inquisitive in nature, most are of the opposite variety, negative in nature, if you will.

And then, a few are electrifying in that they are typed or hand-written and come from the heart.

Every time I see regular white  envelope with my name and title type-written on it waiting for me on my desk when I arrive at the office, I get a charge out of it.

Because I know it’s from Bill Corbitt.

Bill, a 1941 Ashtabula High School graduate, is in his ninth decade on this planet and his letters, perfectly type-written — much like his contributions to these pages through the years — are always welcomed.

After graduation from Ashtabula, he Bill immediately took over as sports editor of the Conneaut News-Herald.

Which brings us to the reason behind his most recent correspondence, sent from his Columbus residence and dated Jan. 17, 2014.

He wrote:


I enjoyed reading your recent feature on Bob Best, the Amboy Rifle Club and Conneaut’s weather in the old days.

But let me add a little to the tale ...

Perhaps the Amboy Rifle Club was reorganized in 1954, but was not founded in that year as the article stated.

My late grandfather-in-law, Robert Parker (a Nickel Plate engineer and purportedly a running back fro the old Canton Bulldogs), spent many hours at the rifle club in the heart of Amboy in the 1930s. He not only was a shooter but also a collector of antique guns.

In the 1941-42 during my stint as a teenage sports editor of the Conneaut News-Herald, like you, I had the job of collecting the weekly reports of the club’s various rifle meets. Unlike you, who takes the calls via telephone from Bob Best, mine arrived via the newspaper’s mail slot, dropped off late at night by any one of a number of volunteers, then recorded in the next day’s sports page.

A number of the many club members whose names come to mind would have to include Bob Goldsmith. He was a marksman who more often than not had the highest score in the weekly team competition.

Another member with high marks backs in the 1940s was Bob McLaughlin, retired Conneaut businessman (jeweler) — a good source of information on the Amboy Rifle Club, both before and after 1954.

Just having fun at almost 91!

Bill Corbitt

So, Loyal Readers, there you have it. As the immortal Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story... about the Amboy Rifle Club.

More importantly, I am the possessor of a letter from a gentleman, who like me three and a half decades ago, was a teenage sports editor, though he did so as part of a different generation.

America’s greatest generation.

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