GRAFTON – One week from Saturday, the Midview Athletic Hall of Fame will induct its class of 2013.
It’s an annual event that brings out proud Midview High School alumni, but this year the graduate known by many as “Mr. Midview” will not be in attendance.
Don Binnie, 75, of Grafton, the man behind the moniker, died Saturday at EMH Elyria Medical Center after a brief illness. His absence will undoubtedly be felt in the room, but those who knew him best said he would not want to steal the spotlight from the deserving alumni.
“Don will surely be missed. He touched so many lives, and I can’t think of a person who will be in the room that does not know him,” said friend and neighbor Dick Bickel, also a hall of fame member.
Bickel said Binnie will be honored in the event program with a list of his many accomplishments.
His affinity for all things Midview began as part of the first graduating class in 1956. While at Midview, he participated in athletics, band, choir and theatre. He was a charter member and officer of the Athletic Booster Club.
In 1980, he helped organize the Midview Athletic Hall of Fame and was its president for seven years.
“It was actually his idea from the ground up,” said Tim Alcorn, a 1981 graduate and MAHOF board member. “He really wanted it to happen. He was a Midview guy through and through. He knew Lorain and Elyria had halls of fame and there were so many great athletes that also came out of Midview.”
Binnie was not just interested in the athletic endeavors of students, he served several terms on the Midview school board.
“If there was a sports game, he was there, but if there was a levy campaign that needed community support, he was also there,” Alcorn said. “He was interested in just about all aspects of the school.”
Bickel said Binnie’s home office looked like a Midview locker room with a place for every picture or plaque of appreciation that was bestowed upon him.
Even those who did not know Binnie’s name may have known his voice. He was a longtime sports announcer for both football and basketball broadcasts.
Alcorn said many were hoping their friend would be able to attend this year’s festivities. He last had lunch with Binnie in early August and he was in good spirits.
Beyond Midview, Binnie was a very successful businessman who loved living and working in Grafton.
He started his insurance career in 1961 and was a partner in Meyers, Homestead Binnie agency from 1979 to 1991. He had an office in Grafton since 1991 and remained active as a financial adviser.
Binnie was also a longtime member of the North Eaton Christian Church.
“He was one of the most honest men I have ever known,” said Bickel. “He always cared about the other person and wanted to makes sure they knew how important they were.”
Bickel said the simplest way Binnie showed his true nature was in returning phone calls.
“He made sure he returned every call. He was somewhat of a stickler about it, too,” he said. “I know it’s a simple thing, but he was that kind of guy.”
Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.