A few weeks ago I attended a memorial service at the Clarksville Methodist Church for Paul Schwamberger. Several of us who new Paul well were invited to speak.
Most of us were able to tell stories that many in attendance had not heard. But all who spoke were also able to talk about a man who left his mark on the Clarksville community, Clinton-Massie School District, and Clinton County that will remain for a long, long time.
Paul grew up in West Portsmouth, where he was a star athlete in high school. He went into the service in 1944, attended Wilmington College playing basketball, baseball and football, and graduated in 1948 with a degree in education.
Although he and his wife Virginia had several schools to choose from, they chose Clarksville where Paul was employed as a teacher, basketball coach and baseball coach. They eventually built a home next to the school. This might not sound so unusual but they never left that home.
That period from 1948 to 1963 was a very competitive basketball period in Clinton County history. Competing against coaches like Buck Carter, Vern Hooper, Tom Rudisill was a challenge. Paul’s Clarksville teams did very well. As Paul would say, “When we were good, so were several other teams.”
Paul could have signed a contract to play professional baseball. He was an outstanding pitcher and played semi-pro ball in the area for years. Virgil Patrick, one of his college teammates and catcher on his college and semi-pro teams, told me Paul was the best pitcher he ever caught, and he caught a lot of them including several major leaguers.
But this — professional baseball — was not the life Paul wanted.
In addition to his teaching and coaching, Paul went on to work with young people, starting a summer baseball program that gave the youth of Clarksville something to look forward to in the summer. He also became involved in the community in many other ways.
In 1963, Paul became the athletic director at the new consolidation called Clinton-Massie. Continuing to coach baseball, his teams won numerous Fort Ancient Valley Conference championships and his 1968 team reached the Ohio High School Athletic Association state baseball semi-finals. The Clinton-Massie baseball field bears his name today. He built it along with the football field.
Without leaving his residence in Clarksville, Paul took the superintendent’s job in the Waynesville School District. But when the same job opened in 1980 at Clinton-Massie, Paul came home and retired after 10 years.
I worked with Paul as a teacher, coach, and served on his school board for eight years. I never heard him raise his voice and never saw him frown. His smile made him your friend immediately.
He was very good at whatever he was involved in but, most of all, he loved Clarksville, was a devoted family man, and will be missed by all who knew and worked with him.
Tony Lamke is a former coach. He has researched the history of Clinton County sports and writes a periodic column for the News Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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