SPORTS – He drove them to it
CLARKSTOWN – There was hugging, back slapping and handshakes aplenty as Don Baylor greeted guests at his retirement party Saturday, August 5 at the firehall in Clarkstown.
Stories were retold and events revisited with the more than 175 persons who signed the guest book. Later, several cards arrived at the Baylor home from well-wishers unable to attend.
Nearly 80 years young, Baylor is a former Muncy High School wrestler. Sizing up the smiling guy inside the double glass doors on celebration day, one would guess he may be no more than the 185-pound weight he wrestled until his graduation in 1955.
“Don was a big star at Muncy,” said Sally Banzaph LaRue, currently residing in Loyalsock. “We students went and cheered on Don and other team members at the games.”
According to Steve Budman, former Hughesville High School student wrestler and later coach, “I had hoped he would wear my favorite tee-shirt here today. On the front was printed, ‘Get on, sit down, Shut up.’ And on the back, a picture of a bus on two of its four wheels was accompanied by the wording, ‘Hold on.’ “
Budman also said, “We wrestlers knew Don’s rules for riding. So, when others in the class started acting up on a trip to Hershey, we asked what they were doing. We informed them that he’d stop the bus.”
Hughesville’s retired phys ed instructor, Dan Smith of Unityville, said, “I’ve known Don for 35 years. Since 1972, he’s hauled players and coaches for football, wrestling and track. People underestimate Don; he can be reading a book but he knows what’s going on. My wife and I have box seats at the Crosscutter games. When we got there, the Baylor’s were seated in front of us.”
Kevin Steele, approaching his ninth year as athletic director at Hughesville High School, said, “We’ll miss him tremendously. It’s been nice to work with Don and talk to his wife Janet on the phone at least once a week. They’re good people,” he concluded.
Baylor complimented wife Janet by saying, “For the past 38 years, she’s manned the phone at home. Often, I took teams and wouldn’t be home any night for a week. She’s been very understanding,” he said.
A citation noting Baylor’s 55-years in bussing students and sports teams for the East Lycoming School District was delivered by State Representative Garth Everett.
In part, the citation read: “Throughout the years, he drove sports teams to various events and, in addition to driving to these events, he was the scorekeeper for wrestling matches at Hughesville High School. Throughout his career, Mr. Baylor demonstrated remarkable knowledge, ability and integrity in carrying out his many responsibilities, thus earning the respect and gratitude of all those who received the benefit of his tireless devotion to duty.'”
In continuing, it said, “Now therefore, the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania congratulates Donald A. Baylor upon his well-deserved retirement; heartily recognizes his exemplary record of service, in keeping with the highest ideals and traditions of this Commonwealth; offers best wishes for a happy and fulfilling future.”
The reading of the citation was met with roaring applause sending Baylor into retirement. He’ll still be around and involved in the games, he’ll just not be driving them.