Dick Daron - Inductee - 2017
Dick Daron used a standout track and field career at Ludington High School to earn a scholarship at Central Michigan University shortly before World War II. His high school career included earning the 1939 state championship during his junior year of high school in the 440-yard run with a time of 53.0 seconds. His quarter-mile record for the school stood for 20 years. He captained the Orioles for a season and he earned a pair of varsity letters in track. Daron was a standout football player, too, earning All-Northern Conference honors twice as a left end, while he also played basketball for the Orioles. On the Ludington football team, he and his Orioles teammates were the Big 7 champions in 1938 with a 7-0 record, and they allowed just 13 points all season, and that was in a 33-point rout of Hart. The year before, in Daron's junior season, Ludington was 6-2 with the only losses being on the road at Muskegon and at Traverse City. He and his teammates won the Big 7 Conference basketball championship in 1938 with a 7-1 mark in league play for coach Mitch Read and a 10-1 mark overall. In 1939, the Orioles were 10-2 overall and owned a 7-1 mark again in the Big 7 Conference. Even with a track scholarship, Daron competed with the Chippewas' junior varsity football team also. After his freshman year at CMU, Daron enlisted with the U.S. Coast Guard in September 1941, and served aboard the USS Joseph T. Dickman as the nation went to war. His service took him across the equator and nearly around the world. While serving, he married Helen (Mueckler) Daron, and eventually was stationed in Cheboygan with the icebreaker USS Mackinaw. Following his stint with the Coast Guard, he returned to his hometown, and he supported athletics. And he played some, too. He worked as a carpenter and with the U.S. Postal Service while playing hockey until a serious injury put a stop to his playing days. His support of athletics and the community as a whole showed through his life. Daron made significant financial donations to the track at Oriole Field as well as the Schoenherr Tennis Center in Ludington. Daron volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, weeded petunias, helped the post office's food drive and spent many hours volunteering at the hospital.