BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — It’s safe to say that Thomas “Randy” Richards was a good friend.
The 1971 MHS graduate, who played football and tennis and ran cross country, was loved by his three sisters and two close friends and fellow classmates, Gary Marck and Mike Whitescarver.
“Randy was a great friend. We have a lot of good memories,” said Marck.
While the memories remain, Randy’s life was cut short when he passed away in 1972 of a brain tumor. He was only 20 years old and had just graduated from MHS. Although it’s been 46 years since he passed, his friends still think about him regularly.
“I was just talking about him yesterday,” Marck said.
In Randy’s honor, Marck and Whitescarver donated $50,000 to the Panther Pride Foundation to pay costs associated with relocating the original school bell from Union Elementary to Maumee High School’s newly renovated Kazmaier Stadium. The bell has been placed on a special cement pad under the scoreboard along with a plaque dedicated to him.
Beginning this season, after every touchdown and after every game win, players will ring the bell.
On August 10, Marck and Whitescarver joined Randy’s sisters, Sandy Marshall, Cindy Borucki and Nancy Colvin, to see the bell in its new location.
“This is just so touching. He meant so much to people,” said Colvin, who was in the fourth grade when Randy died.
Her sisters agreed. “Randy was an all-around great guy – he really was,” said Borucki.
Union Elementary was built in 1870 and served thousands of students. It was commonly believed to be one of the oldest operating schools in Ohio and once served as the district’s high school.
The bell, which is original to the school, was removed from its place in the building cupola after a third-floor fire. It was later stored in the basement and then eventually on the outside grounds. This past July, school district crews moved it to the stadium.
“This is a wonderful rededication,” said Sarah Otis, development and alumni relations director for the Maumee City Schools’ Panther Pride Foundation. “Mark and Gary stepped up and made a significant gift to make this happen. And we are just tickled that it looks great, it made it safely and it will be (a tribute) in perpetuity to a friend.”
The sisters joined Randy’s friends to ring the bell for the first time in its new location. Both men are grateful to give back to a school district that they say gave so much to them, and to remember their dear friend who remains forever in their hearts.
“Randy was a big part of our life back then,” said Whitescarver. “Unfortunately, he left us too soon and we have never forgotten him, and this is an opportunity to remember him.”