Oldtimers Association honors athletes during meeting

The honorees: Pictured are (from left) Louis Russo, Charlotte Russo, Rich Kohler and Donald Williford. TOM WARING / TIMES PHOTO

The Oldtimers Bats and Balls Association last week honored two people with the William “Pickles” Kennedy Award and memorialized a former Man of the Year selection.

One of the award winners was Rich Kohler, a Germantown native who attended North Catholic High School as a freshman before going on to star in soccer and basketball at Penn Charter and Lafayette.

The other winner was Donald “Ducky” Williford, a Holmesburg native who attended J.H. Brown Elementary School, Wilson Middle School and Frankford High School. He was a track and field star at Temple, then spent 30 years in the U.S. Army.

The Oldtimers also welcomed family members of Frank Russo, who was named the group’s Man of the Year in February. Russo died in May at age 81.

In 2014, the Russo family received the Pickles Kennedy Award. DeVal Corp., once a Russo family-owned defense contracting firm at 7341 Tulip St., sponsored numerous athletic teams.

Frank Russo was a running back in football and catcher in baseball at Frankford and Drexel, and later became a golfer.

Among those attending the Aug. 10 luncheon were Bobby Shantz, a former American League Most Valuable Player; Joe Scarpati, a former pro football player best known as the holder for Tom Dempsey’s then-NFL-record 63-yard field goal in 1970; and Skip Wilson, the retired longtime baseball coach at Temple.

The Oldtimers group consists of former athletes and officials. Members meet four times a year at Randi’s Restaurant & Bar, 1619 Grant Ave. in Grant Plaza II in Bustleton.

The Pickles Kennedy Award is named in memory of a former star basketball player at Abraham Lincoln High School and Temple University. Kennedy spent a year with the NBA’s Philadelphia Warriors, then played minor league baseball for several years in the Pirates organization.

Meanwhile, the Oldtimers are planning a cruise on the Spirit of Philadelphia on Monday, Sept. 12, from 1:30 to 6 p.m. Spouses and family members are welcome. The cost is $60, and will include buffet, music, dancing, beer and wine. Dress is casual.

For an extra $10, there will be round-trip bus transportation from Parx Casino. The bus will leave at noon. Contact Lee Cobleigh at 215–953–0998 or lee@eorders.com

The Oldtimers will meet again on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at noon. Lunch costs $11. For in-form-a-tion on the group, call Jack Purdy (215–968–0404) or Ron March (609–209–0849), or vis-it www.bat-sand-balls.org ••