Mayor Joe Gibbons officially rededicated two baseball fields at Lenoir Optimist Park earlier this week in honor of two founders of the Lenoir Little League Program.
The baseball field farthest from Mulberry Street was rededicated in honor of W.D. "Dave" King. The other field was rededicated in honor of Harold Beach. Mayor Gibbons and City staff held the rededication ceremony at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019.
"We wouldn't have a program if it wasn't for [Mr. Beach and Mr. King]," Mayor Gibbons said. "We're very honored that we could rededicate these fields in their honor."
Dave King and Harold Beach started Little League in Lenoir in 1952, and both men served as officials. Mr. King also coached. The first four teams were the Optimist Club team, Kiwanis Club team, Lions Club team, and Rotary Club team. The teams played on the field at Optimist Park.
Several relatives of Mr. Beach and Mr. King and members of Lenoir's 1983 All-Star team attended the ceremony including Mr. Beach's daughter Carol, his granddaughters Amy and Anna, Mr. King's niece Leigh Burnette, and All-Star team members Tom Thuss, Chuck Crisp, Andy McGee, and Mike Willis.
"I appreciate this rededication," Austin said. "I know he [Mr. Beach] would've just been be so happy to know that a field was named in his honor."
Mayor Gibbons was involved in Little League for 30 years, playing and coaching. He coached the All-Star Team that won the league's first and only State Championship in 1983.
Mayor Gibbons said Mr. King called him after Lenoir won the State Championship in 1983.
"He called me from the nurse care facility he was in and said he was so proud," Gibbons said. "He said, "'I've been waiting for 30 years to win a state championship in Lenoir Little League.'"
The Lenoir Optimist Club donated Optimist Park to the City of Lenoir a few years ago. The City received a grant to make some improvements to the park including a new parking lot, restrooms, a playground, two picnic shelters, permanent cornhole boards, walking paths, and lights on the rear field. Those improvements should be finished in the next few months.
Click here to watch the rededication ceremony on YouTube.
Relatives of Mr. Harold Beach attended the rededication ceremony. From left: John and Amy Moore (Mr. Beach’s granddaughter), Carol Austin (Mr. Beach’s daughter), and Anna Roberts (Mr. Beach’s granddaughter.)
Mayor Joe Gibbons reminisces with members of the 1983 Lenoir All-Star Team. From left: Tom Thuss, Chuck Crisp, Mayor Gibbons, Andy McGee, and Mike Willis.
The original field at Lenoir Optimist Park was dedicated to W.D. "Dave" King.
Click here to view and download high resolution photos on Flickr.