WILLIAMS - If you have the opportunity to visit Williams, you are invited to have a seat on the "Lovin" bench.
Located on the south side of the Williams Public Library is the Lorraine and Chuck Lovin memorial bench, dedicated to two beloved Williams High School educators.
Sweethearts through college and all the while Lovin was serving in the Pacific Theatre during World War II, the couple married in July of 1946. That fall, the two educators began teaching at Williams High School when Chuck Lovin was only a few years older than his senior high students.
The Lorraine and Chuck Lovin memorial bench was dedicated earlier this month in Williams. Early in their teaching careers, the Lovins taught five years at Williams High School. Lovin taught Social Studies but is fondly remembered as 'Coach' by many of his former students. The bench was one of three installed as a memorial for Lorraine, who passed away in July 2013. Pictured are Williams Public Library Head Librarian Diane Sinclair, Coach Chuck Lovin and his son, Chuck Jr.
Lorraine Lovin also taught English at Williams High School until her daughter Shelly was born in 1950.
Lovin taught Social Studies, but he is most fondly remembered as "Coach." It was a position he never interviewed for.
"I had finished my interview and as I was leaving, the superintendent said, 'By the way, you'll be coaching girls basketball,'" said the 94-year-old Lovin.
He ended up also coaching boys basketball and the baseball team.
"I coached everything," he said.
During those years, there were only two divisions of schools - Class B for schools with 100 students or less and Class A for schools over 100, he explained. But there was only one state championship game.
In only his second year as coach, Lovin took the Williams girls up to Class A sub-state play with a win against the number one team in the state, Franklin Consolidated of Latimer in three overtime periods.
"We should have gone to state, but we lost in the subdistricts," explained Lovin of the team's defeat in the following game.
In 1951, Lovin was set to coach at Hubbard when he was recruited by the larger Boone Community Schools. He taught there for five more years before becoming the school's administrative assistant, a position he held until his retirement in 1983. Throughout his tenure at Boone Public Schools, he coached boys baseball. After his retirement, he coached the Boone Boys Golf
team until 1986.
But even though he left the Williams district after only five years, the bond that was forged between coach and students has endured throughout the past 62 years.
Over the years, Lovin has attended many of the Williams community's annual events. He returns often for the class reunions and he has kept track of all his former Williams students - their successes, their families and sadly, their passing.
He noted that at 94, he has outlived many of his former students and most of his peers.
"Most the people I knew aren't here anymore," he said. "People ask me why am I playing golf by myself. Well, I've outlived three foursomes, already."
Lovin credits his strong disciplinary tactics for his success as a teacher and coach. But he concedes that his Williams students were so well behaved, he seldom had to use discipline in his classroom.
"I used discipline, but those kids did it themselves," he said. "They were very well behaved. We just never dreamed that we would have such feelings for one another throughout the years."
When Lorraine passed away earlier this summer, the family wanted to establish a lasting memorial to both Lorraine and Chuck in the communities they called home, said Shelly Dannatt, Lovin's daughter.
"We wanted to use the memorial money where Mom and Dad have kept in touch with their students and friends," said Dannatt.
Earlier this month, Chuck Lovin and his son Chuck Jr. dedicated one of the benches at the Williams Public Library with the help of librarian Diane Sinclair. Several former local students where in attendance.
Another "Lovin" bench was installed at the West Haven Community in Boone where the couple lived for many years. The third "Lovin" bench and picnic fire grill has been installed in the couple's honor at the Ledges State Park near Boone, said Dannatt.