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Catherine Athearn (nĂŠe Habershon)


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Habershons who died during World War I

 

HABERSHON FIELD
Meriden, Connecticut

Thank you, Don Knibbs of Hampshire, England, and Shirley Walter of Wolcott, Connecticut, for obtaining this article and photograph from the South Meriden Record, 31st May 1957. Don believes that Herbie may have been one of the Sheffield Habershons.


The caption under the photograph reads:

Field Named: Herbie Habershon, 85 year-old sports official is shown being congratulated by Mayor Henry Altobello at Habershon Field, South Meriden, yesterday at dedication ceremonies. Left is Frank Sprafke, chairman of the Park and Recreation Commission; and right is Mrs. Art Hills, widow of the man after whom the South Meriden Little League is named.

The article reads:

Habershon Field Named in Honor of Sport Figure - The dedication of the Little League park in South Meriden to a sprightly chap of 86 with an English tweed cap, Herbert Habershon of South Meriden, was conducted yesterday afternoon at the park.

During the dedication ceremonies to the man who has spent nine years spurring on Little League baseball, several speakers forecasted that someday the Habershon Park may be one of the finest recreation areas in the city.

To Herbie, the day was full of excitement as he stood before the crowd of over 300 and said with head bowed, and a hint of tears "I am very grateful to you one and all for taking your valuable time to come out to the ball park today. I feel happy being with these Little Leaguers.

This is the happiest day in my life. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart."

Mayor Henry Altobello, who made the official dedication, paid a tribute to the "unofficial mayor" of South Meriden, noting that Herbie was "a trooper who walked often from the village to Meriden to score sporting events."

James J. "Jimmy" Burns, former minor league infielder, who has taught many area youngsters the fundamentals of baseball recalled a favorite story about Herbie when he himself was playing in the old Connecticut Baseball League in New Britain in 1908.

"I tell you that guy is just everybody's friend." concluded the former sports figure.

Principal speaker for the ceremonies was Wilbur H. Stevens, former alderman, who conceived the idea of the city purchasing the large tract of land in the village and later seeing it developed from a swampy marsh into a recreation area.

Paying tribute to Herbie, Mr. Stevens said, "Herbie is a sports loving and wonderful man who has been admired by both young and old for his warm and genuine qualities."

He recalled "When Habershon was scoring ball games, he was the boss. He called 'em as he saw 'em. And that was good enough for me.

Commissioner Frank Sprafke heralded Herbie as one who had given so much of his time and efforts "not for the plaudits of the crowd nor the headlines of the paper but to make others happy and able to enjoy recreation."

Definite plans for the field were forecasted by Mr. Sprafke and Fred Mandeville, director of recreation. They said the Recreation Commission hope one day to include a tot lot, baseball diamond, picnic grounds and possibly a swimming area and beach if the redevelopment of the Quinniuiac is ever undertaken and river freed from pollution.

Joseph Buidwitt acted as master of ceremonies and announcer for the games of the day. The Rev. Alfred Jnenicke, of the Holy Angels' Church, gave the invocation.

Members of the LaCroix-Murdock Post, VFW, acted as color bearers. Little League players marched out with the post to raise the flag on the filed at the opening ceremonies.

A Double header game between the four regular teams ended the activities of the afternoon.

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