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AROUND TOWN: Lucky To Have A Man Like Lavin

December 23, 2018

The week leading up to Christmas is usually one filled with joy. But there’s a lot of sadness going around with so many deaths hitting home in the sports world. First and foremost, condolences go out to the family of Frank Lavin, who, unless you have or had a child with a disability, might not know the name. Lavin surely was never going to earn notoriety for his golfing skills, but what he did in his time was nothing short of miraculous to children who’ve participated in the Area P Special Olympics. For 37 years, Lavin built the program from square one, eventually engaging thousands of young men and women who doubtlessly benefitted from the program. And he gave them a place, and chance, to shine. And while the ski program may be the benchmark of his work, Lavin also gave those kids a chance to participate in many other events, the track and field program coming to mind right away, as well as a dozen others. For his work, Lavin was inducted into the Special Olympics Hall of Fame in 1996, and 10 years later, was so honored by the Pennsylvania Ski Hall of Fame. Lavin was 75 when he died last Saturday, and his loss is a loss not only for his family, but for the families of those whose lives he improved through his charity. We’re lucky to have had a man like that in our lives, and will always remember his kindness and service. Also this week, West Scranton boys basketball coach Jack Lyons said his final farewell to his mother, Catherine, as did her grandson, former Scranton High School standout John Lyons. It’s never easy losing a family member, even a woman like Catherine who lived a full life of 98 years. Condolences, Coach, and John, from all of us here at The Times-Tribune. The father of former Wallenpaupack girls basketball, tennis and track coach Bob Donovan died this week also, and our best to him and his family. And finally, Gary Mesko has been a friend for as long as I can remember in my 35-year professional career. His brother, Robert, was 60 when he lost his battle with ALS this week. To all of the Mesko clan, hoping your memories help you find comfort. Brighter note Congratulations to former Scranton High School football and baseball standout Ryan Gilhooley and his wife, the former Molly Moran. They welcomed their first child, Grace Ella, on Dec. 12 in Ashburn, Virginia. Ryan was a Lackawanna League football all-star in 2006, his senior season, and went on to play football at the University of Rochester. In their blood Basketball is clearly in the family’s DNA. Tommy Dempsey, the oldest of four children of Dunmore native and Binghamton University men’s basketball coach Tommy Dempsey and his wife Amy, will not be playing his college basketball for his dad. Instead, the Seton Catholic Central High School standout announced on Twitter this week that he is going to be a preferred walk-on at Providence College, a member of the Big East. Nicely done Finally, kudos to former Dunmore football 1,500-yard rusher Kyle Lasher, who made the Dean’s List at Gallaudet College. According to Lasher’s Facebook page, it’s the first time he’s made the honor roll — ever. Good things come to those who work hard. Contact the writer: mmyers@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9100, ext. 5437; @mmyersTT on Twitter

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