When Middletown native and Pulitzer Prize winner Clarence Page recently was honored by the National Press Foundation for a half century of journalistic achievement, it got us thinking about other famous Middletown residents.
Here are 12 other famous people you might not have known were Middletonians:
Todd Bell: After graduating from Middletown High School, Bell played football for Ohio State and then the Chicago Bears from 1981-84, earning a Pro Bowl nod in his fourth year. Bell sat out the entire 1985 season due to a contract dispute with the team. He later played for the Philadelphia Eagles.
He died on March 16, 2005 after suffering a heart attack while driving his car in Reynoldsburg, Ohio.
DEEP HISTORY: 5 Middletown athletes everyone should know
Cris Carter (right) and his brother Butch unveil a NFL Hall of Fame plaque during Carter’s visit Tuesday to Middletown High School.
Photo: Nick Daggy/z.www.middletownjournal.com
Butch Carter: Carter excelled in basketball and football at Middletown High School, where he graduated in 1976. He was Ohio’s basketball “Player of the Year” in 1976 and later was named “Coach of the Year” in the state, becoming the only person to be named both Player and Coach of the Year in the state of Ohio.
He played at Indiana University from 1976–80 and graduated with a degree in marketing. He was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the 1980 NBA Draft. He played six seasons in the NBA with the Lakers, Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers. He also served as assistant coach for the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors and was the Raptors’ head coach.
THE LIST: Middletown High School’s greatest basketball players
Cris Carter: After graduating from Middletown High School in 1983, Carter played at Ohio State, then in the NFL with the Eagles, Vikings and Dolphins. He played in eight consecutive Pro Bowls and was elected into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2013.
Since retiring from the NFL, he worked as an analyst on HBO’s Inside the NFL, ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown.
BECOMING CRIS CARTER: ‘I knew right then he was not an ordinary human being’
Kayla Harrison: After growing up in Middletown, Harrison moved to Boston to continue her judo training. She won gold medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and gold at the 2011 and 2015 Pan American Games. She was the first American to win an Olympic gold medal in judo.
THE EMOTIONAL STORY: Middletown’s Kayla Harrison overcomes years of torment to reach the Olympics
Patrick L. Kessler, 22, of Middletown, was killed in action on May 25, 1944, near Ponte Rotto, Italy. On Jan. 4, 1945, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor and is buried at Woodside Cemetery in Middletown. He has a school named for him at Ft. Stewart, Ga., dedicated in 2007.
Patrick Kessler: This U.S. Army soldier was a recipient of the United States military’s highest decoration — the Medal of Honor — for his actions in World War II. He joined the Army in September 1942, and by May 23, 1944 was serving as a private first class in Company K, 30th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division.
He charged two German positions, a machine gun nest and a strongpoint and captured 16 German soldiers, including two snipers. Kessler was killed in action two days later. He was 22. He’s buried at Woodside Cemetery, and the armory on South Main Street is named in his honor.
MORE OF THE STORY: A hero’s tale, featuring Patrick Kessler
Jerry Lucas: The 1958 Middletown High School graduate led the Middies to a 76-game winning streak and consecutive state basketball titles. He later won a gold medal in the 1960 Olympics, an NCAA championship at Ohio State and an NBA Championship with the New York Knicks.
The 1964 NBA Rookie of the Year, Lucas was an NBA All-Star seven times. He was inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980. At the All-Star Game in Cleveland in 1997, he was introduced as one of The 50 Greatest NBA Players.
ONE OF THE GREATS: Middies great Jerry Lucas shares memories of Wade E. Miller Gym
McGuire Sisters: The group was composed of three sisters: Christine McGuire, Dorothy McGuire, and Phyllis McGuire. Among their most popular songs are “Sincerely” and “Sugartime,” both No. 1 hits.
They were born in Middletown and were raised in Miamisburg. The McGuire Sisters signed with Coral Records in 1952. They performed for five U.S. presidents and for Queen Elizabeth II.
The sisters made frequent appearances on popular variety programs hosted by Ed Sullivan, Dean Martin, Danny Kaye, Milton Berle, Andy Williams, Perry Como and Red Skelton. They were inducted into the National Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 1994, and in 2001 they were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
Susan Perkins: This Middletown native, who attended Monroe schools, won the Miss America pageant in 1978. Now 63, she has been a professional singer, spokesperson, and television reporter.
DID YOU KNOW? 9 things you didn’t know about Kings Island history (hint: Perkins is involved)
Middletown senior catcher Kyle Schwarber has signed to continue his baseball career at Indiana University.Staff photo by Samantha Grier.
Photo: Samantha Grier/Samantha Grier
Kyle Schwarber: This 2011 Middletown High School graduate has made a splash in a short time in the big-league baseball. After an outstanding baseball career at Indiana University, Schwarber was drafted by the Chicago Cubs with the No. 4 overall pick, and he quickly rose through the minor leagues.
He played a key role in the Cubs’ 2016 World Series victory, when he collected seven hits in four games, hitting .412, the highest on the team. He reportedly has lost weight and is the best shape of his life as he enters his fourth year with the Cubs.
J.D. Vance: James David “J.D.” Vance is best known as the author of his memoir Hillbilly Elegy. The book is about the Appalachian values of his upbringing and their relation to the social problems of his hometown.
The book was on The New York Times Best Seller list in 2016 and 2017. The book attracted significant attention during the 2016 election from national media as a window into the white working class.