Plenty of progress has been made as far as the memorial marker for the late Sank Powe.
The memorial marker, which is a monument, arrived earlier this month and is currently positioned between the baseball and softball fields on the Cleveland Central High School campus. The baseball field is named Sank Powe Field.
Joe Davidson, Funeral Assistant at Cleveland Funeral Home and the one that started the fundraising drive for the memorial marker, said after talking with Powe’s family and school officials that he is hoping for the dedication of the monument to take place sometime during October.
“We’re talking about OctoberFest,” Davidson said. “Right now, it’s summertime and people are gone, and it’s hot as you know what. I haven’t said this is what we’re going to do but we’ve been discussing it and everybody thought that was a good idea. There would be alumni from out of town and that way people could see it.”
Davidson said there are still some finishing touches that have to be added to go with the monument.
“We still have a sidewalk that is going around it,” Davidson said. “We’re waiting on Jessie Palacious. We’ve got the funds and everything; we’re just waiting on him. He’s tied up with Delta State and that drive-thru they’re doing from the highway to the stadium. As soon as he gets through at Delta State, he’s going to do the sidewalk. We’ve decided we’re going to go over connect the sidewalk that goes into the dugout because we have the funds to do it now and then we have that landscaping between the sidewalk and the monument. That should be it as far as finishing it up.”
Powe, who died on Jan. 20, 2013 at the age of 70, was one of the great bridge builders of the local community. He was head baseball coach for 30 years at Cleveland High and East Side, posting a record of 517-183. Out of those 30 years, 25 were spent at Cleveland High. In 1972, he guided the Wildcats to the Class A State Baseball Championship. Also at Cleveland High, he was the first softball coach in the school. From 1990-97, his slow pitch teams advanced to the 4A Playoffs seven times with five division championships and two North State Championships. The Lady Wildcats finished state runner-ups in 1992, finished tied for third in the state in 1995 and finished third again in 1996. In his eight years as softball coach, Powe posted a record of 147-57.
More than his wins on the field, he worked hard to unite all people in the community. He was the coordinator for the Cleveland School District Mentor Program, worked at the Cleveland Park Commission and was a scout in the Cincinnati Reds organization.
Davidson said people have really been impressed with the monument.
“I’ve had an overwhelming response as far as that goes,” Davidson said. “Everyone is blown away by the size, the tribute and how Coach Powe is overlooking the baseball field in general because that’s his field. His name is on the scoreboard and it will remain Sank Powe Field, hopefully forever. Everyone has just been so supportive. It’s blown us all away. Lisa (Miller), JoDonna (Watson), Mark (Williams), Doug (Delap) and Kenny Williams have helped me with this as far as raising funds and everything. People are still asking about it and people are still wanting to give money and I figured we can keep it open as far as raising the money because we will need money for the dedication. Hopefully, we will have something planned to coincide with OctoberFest. As far as the dedication, we want it to be top notch.”
The fund was started to put a tombstone on Powe’s grave at Westlawn Cemetery and that goal was accomplished.
“We couldn’t have done it without all the support of the Cleveland High students and alumni,” Davidson said. “They’re the ones that generated the money, and I’ve just kind of pushed it and I’m very pleased with everything.”
Mark Williams, who played baseball at Cleveland High School under Powe, said the monument is a great tribute to him.
“Coach Powe had a large impact on everyone’s life that knew him,” Williams said. “As a player for him, he taught me so much, not just about baseball but about life. I played for him in the mid to late 70s and that time was pretty fresh after segregation and everything. In ’72, they won the state championship. He was bigger than life and everyone feels the same way whether they played for him or whether they were a student or at the park commission. They all loved him. He deserves it. I think it’s a great thing.”
Davidson said he plans to have something set up in the park commission in his honor.
For a person to give a donation to the fund they can mail it to the Cleveland Funeral Home at P.O. Box 1742 or they can send their donation to Regions Bank in Cleveland.