Times Past: Softball on Ice Skates

  • In February of 1992, the 25 Sportsmen’s Club gathered players from the Athol-Orange areas to make up five teams for a benefit one-pitch tournament played on ice skates at Silver Lake in Athol. Most players were recruited from the Sunday Morning Fun League. John Mundell and Dick Reed were chairmen of the event. Regulation softball rules were used, as well as the Fun League safety rules against sliding, bunting or stealing bases. There was no admission charge, but the hat was passed for donations, with proceeds going to the Headstart class conducted in the Disabled American Veterans Home on Pine Street, Athol. The club was granted a one-day beer and wine permit for the event, and hotdogs and hamburgers were sold. Richard Chaisson

Published: 12/5/2018 10:00:22 PM

The Lee Wildcats completed an undefeated season with a 42-8 thrashing of Athol in the Western Mass. Division II Super Bowl game at Springfield College.

Five year old Eric Price can see colors once again and is rapidly learning to read thanks to experimental eye surgery that the Athol Lions Club helped to provide. Eric was born with congenital cataracts. The surgery was performed by Doctor Jose Peczon at the Greenfield Medical Center. Dr. Peczon was one of the pioneers in this type of surgery. Eric was the youngest patient that he had operated on, and one of the youngest to receive the operation in the country. When the family’s health insurance would not pay for the surgery — it was experimental because of his age — the Prices turned to the Lions Club for help. The case was presented to the District 33A Sight and Hearing Conservation Treatment Fund which serves the 52 Lions clubs in central Massachusetts. The Lions agreed to back the Prices for the $10,000 cost of the surgery. In addition to Dr. Peczon donating his efforts, the hospital and anesthesiologist provided services at a reduced rate, making the actual cost to the Lions small.

Firefighter James Wright, 28, of town, is not your average firefighter. Wright is a deputy fire chief of the Air National Guard’s 104th Fighter Group at Barnes Air Force Base in Westfield and a call firefighter with the Athol Fire Department. He recently flew to Dallas, Texas to compete in the National Firefighters Combat Challenge, where he took first place in the Chief Officer’s division while setting a new record in that division. He competed against 17 others from across the country.

The Athol and Orange Santa Fund appeals are off to a spirited start. In Athol, initial contributions total $484.50 on a goal of $10,000. In Orange, contributions so far total $219 on a goal of $6,500.

 “Boy,” the new canine purchased by the Pioneer Junior Women’s Club recently for the Orange Police Department’s K-9 program, is an 18-month-old Belgian Malinois, brought to the United States from Holland when he was 13 months. Until he was brought to Orange a couple of weeks ago, he was in a canine training kennel in Lafayette, La. Boy is getting used to the area — and the climate — and is doing his homework so he can pass the police dog test and become certified by the Department of Corrections. Clay Rushford will continue as dog handler.


Santa Fund boxes are being prominently displayed in 16 stores and business locations now through Christmas in the 22nd annual Athol Kiwanis Club-Athol Daily News Christmas campaign to provide presents for deserving children.

A holiday sign cautioning motorists to drive safely, “Will YOU be home for Christmas? 53,000 Motor Fatalities in 1967, Safety Program, Athol Woman’s Club”, is displayed on the lawn of the YMCA.

Several boys of Troop 18, Boy Scouts, were busy along with committeeman Donald Cullen in setting up and decorating a Christmas tree for the people of Morton Meadows. This is the fourth year that a similar venture has been undertaken. Peter A. Gerry donated the tree as he has in past years. According to Cullen, it is the hope of the group that a permanent tree may be planted and decorated in the future.

Bruce Clark, chairman of the Christmas lighting fund campaign of the mercantile division of the Chamber of Commerce, said $1,047 has been contributed to date toward the goal of $2,500.

Mrs. Charlotte Adams, the Athol Quota Club’s top volunteer “mitten maker” was honored at the club Christmas party. Mrs. Adams has made and donated 85 pairs of mittens and 35 pairs of slippers for the Quota mitten trees this year, in the lobbies of the uptown and downtown branches of the First National Bank of Athol. The items are distributed to needy children at Christmas.

A 40-foot blue spruce at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Russell Dexter of Orange, will be lifted from its 28 year location and moved to the Northeaster University campus in Boston. The transplant will be in time for Christmas decoration and subsequent permanent campus adornment. Dexter, treasurer of Chase Machinery and Supply Inc., concluded this year that the time had come when the spruce had grown too close to the house and was ruining the terrace. He wrote a letter to the Boston Globe headed with the query “Want A Tree?” Immediately Northeastern called, followed by the City of Boston with the same idea.

The Boston Red Sox refuse to turn over Fenway Park to the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority unless the team becomes owner of the land on which the Authority wants to build a $91 million sports stadium. 


On Christmas morning, after Santa Claus’ annual visit, millions of American boys and girls will be overjoyed to find toys made in Athol under the Christmas trees. For one of Santa’s busiest workshops, turning out two freight car loads daily, is the Cass Toy Factory on Canal Street. In fact, according to Kenneth E. Haselton, superintendent and designer, the nation-wide demand for toys is so great that they cannot keep up with the orders, and the two warehouses on South Street, which normally contain many carloads of finished products, are empty. The entire output of the 235 employees is shipped out as fast as it can be loaded into the boxcars.

Through the kindness of an Athol landlord, a mother with her newborn baby and six other children, the oldest 12, will be together within a few days as soon as the tenement, which he has provided for the underprivileged family, is papered and painted. The family had been living in a small two-room shack, so small that chairs could not be placed in the rooms because mattresses had to be laid on the available floor space for the family.

Second Lt. Phillip J. (Pinky) Dower, 25, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ira J. Dower of Athol, received his baptism of fire as the member of a crew of an American Flying Fortress in a recent assault on Wilhelmshaven. The Athol airman had his battle inauguration in the war’s toughest aerial ring — the skies over Europe — in the attack on the key German North Sea base. Lt. Dower was at Pearl Harbor at the time of the Japanese sneak attack. He was stationed there two years as an air mechanic. He graduated from Athol High School in 1935 and was employed in the order department of Union Twist Drill Co. until enlisting in the Army.

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