The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

August 22, 2013

A Don McCormack column: Two shining stars watching over us

Sports Editor

— Two years ago yesterday, I found my colleague, a mentor and a dear friend, Karl Pearson, when I broke his door down and could not revive him.

Karl was 58.

As I sit here, immersed in my annual biggest project of the year, wondering where I’m going to find the strength, the hours and the ability to finish it, I think of Karl, remembering the 25 or so times we went through this very thing, though we did so then as a team.

The final thing we did together was the very same project, finishing it together.

I’ll never forget, as he walked out the door and headed for home, I told him, “Thanks, Karl. I appreciate everything you do, I love you, buddy.”

He paused at the door, looked back at me, and said, “I love you, too, Don. This football section is the best thing we’ve ever done during my time here at the Star Beacon.”

With that, he shut the door and headed to his car. For some reason, I stared at the door for a few seconds, pondering what the man who hired me on Nov. 9, 1986, the man who covered me during my high schools as a basketball player at Jefferson, said.

Just now, I find myself staring at that very same door, thinking about not only the 27 years ago we spent together here on the Star Beacon sports desk, but how yours truly, and in full disclosure, these pages, have never been the same.

God Bless you, Karl...

P.S. The photo that appears at the end of this column is Karl with Olympic swimming gold medalist Diana Munz, taken at the Spire Institute by the great Bill West.

It was the last photo ever taken of Karl... and, boy, would he love it!

Great company

It’s more than appropriate that Aug. 21 not only marks the death of Karl, but that of another area legend.

Harry Church, one of the most beloved people in not only his hometown of Conneaut, but also across the region, was 86 when he finally lost a long, courageous battle against cancer one year ago.

Harry was known for his decades of tireless efforts in support of pretty much every group that needed it, but none more so than the Conneaut Local Youth Organization sports complex.

Having served his country in the Pacific Theatre in World War II, he spent more than half a century maintaining and caring for the 13-acre Skippon Park sports complex, located on Center Street.

Now, the road leading to the park is named in Harry’s honor.

Karl Pearson... Harry Church.

Brothers in service while they were with us.

Brothers in heaven while they are watching over us.

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