Families of Tim Kratochvil and Ray Ramsey enjoy a special day

Both Tim Kratochvil and Ray Ramsey were honored in separate ceremonies on Saturday. This is how they have left an indelible mark on the region:

Tim Kratochvil

Tim Kratochvil forged a legacy not only as superintendent of Pawnee schools, but also in athletics that extended to other communities in Taylorville and Carbondale.

That prompted the Pawnee and Taylorville baseball teams to circle his family for a heartfelt pregame ceremony before their nonconference game on Saturday.

Kratochvil was Taylorville’s baseball coach for 10 years before leaving for Pawnee. He eventually became the superintendent in 2020. He died in September 2023.

“Tim meant a lot to a lot of us,” Taylorville coach Brian Sample said during the tribute.

Kratochvil’s father, Roger, and son, Jack, threw out the first pitch. Both teams then came out to shake hands and offer hugs with the entire family at the mound. Other family members on the field included Kratochvil’s youngest son, Luke; daughter Olivia; and mom, Maria.

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“It’s quite surreal,” Jack said. “I remember being a little kid in that Taylorville dugout. I was the bat boy, so I was always there on the field. The coming together of two communities is truly a beautiful thing. It’s great to be able to honor my father for the legacy he had in both places. I know as a family we really appreciate it. It was a wonderful tribute today.”

The SIU baseball team also remembered Kratochvil the weekend before and presented the family with a signed jersey. He was inducted into the SIU hall of fame in 2019 as one of the school’s all-time great catchers.

The Sangamon County Basketball Tournament also posthumously recognized Kratochvil as a Friend of the County in January.

“He couldn’t go anywhere without finding a friend,” says Jack, who is currently a student at SIU himself. “He knew how to talk to people and I think people really enjoyed him. He could certainly struggle here and there, but I think the legacy he’s had in education and sports, all the stories I’ve heard, is quite difficult to live up to, but the only thing you can to do is to try. ”

Ray Ramsey

The late Ray Ramsey never boasted about his achievements.

But the new track installed in the renovated Memorial Stadium will evoke them for generations to come.

Springfield School District 186 and Lanphier High School dedicated the track area to the iconic 1940 Lanphier alum on a crisp Saturday morning with family in attendance.

“I just knew his name had to be on it,” said Ramsey’s daughter, Chris Broeker.

Ramsey was inducted into the inaugural Springfield Sports Hall of Fame in 1991 with a resume that includes a professional career in the NFL with the Chicago Cardinals from 1950-153 and the NBA for two seasons with the Tri-City Blackhawks and the Baltimore Bullets.

“He said he only played two years (in the NBA) because playing two professional sports was a bit much,” Broeker joked during the ceremony.

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Ramsey’s name can be found in other hall of fames including Bradley University, Greater Peoria and the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association.

Ramsey died in 2009.

“I really enjoyed talking about my dad today so that future athletes will know that there is that type of person who comes from here, in their own town and their own high school,” Broeker said. “There aren’t many people who have been two professional athletes and accomplished what he did.

“I think it gives athletes some hope that if they work hard and put in the time and effort, they can do whatever they want.”

Indeed, Broeker listed a litany of achievements in basketball, football and athletics – almost all of which she had to discover on her own.

“He didn’t talk about himself or his achievements,” Broeker said. “Every time I read something I always thought, ‘What did he do? Why didn’t we know this?’”

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Ramsey eventually returned to the North Side and served as a coach and teacher for 30 years.

Broeker said Ramsey was a kind, humble person. Anita Wieties Hayes, a 1939 Lanphier alum, also testified to Ramsey’s kind spirit at the unveiling.

“He was such a great kid,” said Hayes, now 102. “He was so caring for everyone and so humble. It’s fantastic.”