When Don “Woody” Withrow checks the obituaries in the Journal-News, he recognizes another name, another face from his past.
He remembers some of his friends because they played basketball on local playground courts in Middletown’s glory days and became hardwood heroes.
So Withrow, 80, a 1953 Middletown High School graduate and huge Middie fan, is organizing the second Sunset Park Reunion and he hopes anyone who played basketball at Sunset and Douglas Park attends the event and shares their stories.
The event is set for noon to 5 p.m. Aug. 20 at Sunset Park near Jerry Lucas Court.
In 2009, Withrow organized a similar event that drew more than 140 former players and fans. He’s hoping 200 attend this year, he said. He wants to hold another reunion before more players pass away, he said.
Lucas, 76, who led the Middies to back-to-back state titles and 76 consecutive victories, has committed to attend along with A.C. Mitchell, John Fraley, Owen Lawson, Paul Walker Jr., Tim Walker and Jimmy Nein, among others, according to Withrow.
After rattling off the names, Withrow said: “Everybody is coming.”
In the 1950s, Withrow said Sunset Park court was a hotbed for promising high school and proven college players. He said there were times when hundreds of people watched games there, surrounding the court two- and three-people deep.
Lunch will be provided by Combs BBQ, and Withrow is accepting donations to cover the food, drinks, tent, tables and chairs.
For more information, call Withrow at 513-320-1862.
Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to exclusive deals and newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.