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Jim Thorpe inducts Thear, Rabenold

Published May 07. 2011 09:00AM

The Carbon County Area Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame will induct its 2011 class at a banquet on Sunday, May 29 at Memorial Hall in Jim Thorpe.

This will be the 18th class to be inducted by the Carbob County Chapter.

Doors open at 1 p.m.. Tickets are $35 for adults and $15 for children between the ages of 6-12.

Tickets can be purchased from any of the following people: Art George 610-826-2830; Jake Boyer 610-751-6634; Danny McGinley 570-325-3550; Tom Wehr 570-366-2694; Trevor Lawrence 570-645-4722; Ted Bortnick 570-645-9575; Emmett McCall 570-645-2093; Bob Gelatko 570-645-8652; John Harkins 570-645-2627; Tom McGrath 570-668-2237; Gary Clemson 570-668-1066; Tom Pilla 570-669-6666; Bill Gardiner 570-669-6564.

The TIMES NEWS will run brief biographies of all the inductees during the next several Saturdays. Today's featured class is from Jim Thorpe.


Joseph Thear graduated from Nesquehoning High School in 1954. He earned eight varsity letter during his athletic career which spanned between baseball, track, basketball and gymnastics/tumbling. Although a lover of football, he only played his senior year.

During the summer months, Thear played for the American Legion Baseball team first for Nesquehoning and then moving on to play for East Mauch Chunk/Jim Thorpe and his future father-in-law and fellow Carbon County Hall of Famer Michael "Mickey" Hodor. It was during these summer months that he got to know his future wife Mickey's oldest daughter Louise.

After high school, Thear turned to the links to curb his athletic competitiveness. As a member of Blue Ridge Country Club, he won many tournaments, including Monday Night League Champion, Country Club 1st Flight Champion as well as Senior Club Champion. He also won many tournaments during his career throughout the Lehigh Valle.. His continual drive to improve earned his a one/two handicap during the prime of his career. Thear and his younger brother Michael "Babe" Thear often paired up to compete in many tournaments. Thear also enjoyed throwing darts and was very active in bowling playing for both the Hungarian and Sokol Clubs' bowling teams in Palmerton.

Thear worked as a mechanic and everntual dealership manager for 20 years at Martin S. Kowich Buick in Nesquehoning before going to college to become a vocational technical teacher. After completing his college education, he began his career with Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit as the Automotive Instructor at the Youth Forestry Camp No. 2 in Hickory Run and retired from there after 25 years of service. Thear was honored in 1988 when he was named Pennsylvania's "Outstanding Voctaional/Technical Teacher of the Year."

Thear was among the founding members of the Carbon County Sports Hall of Fame in 1990. He was passionate about perpetuating the memory of our areas finest athletes in his 19 years of committee work on the Hall of Fame and spent endless hours working with Hall inductees, as well as their families and friends to insure their achievements were preserved and honored.

Thear and his wife Louise were together for over 50 years and hadtwo daughters, Lisa and Karen, and one son Joseph, Jr, seven grandchildren and one great grandson. Thear passed away on June 23, 2009.


Rabenold graduated from Lehighton High School in 1948, where he lettered in football, basketball and track and field. He was class historian, and feature writer and cartoonist for the "Leni Lenapian" school newspaper. In high school,

Rabenold married the former Ruth Haas. They were married 53 years until her passing in 2008.

Rabenold then enrolled at Kutztown State Teachers College under the G.I. Bill of Rights and started teaching art in Jim Thorpe in 1957 where he remained until 1993, teaching all grades. He started coaching basketball in 1963 at the junior high and freshmen level. He carried 20 junior high and freshman. He created uniforms out of tee shirts for the overflow of kids, whom which Joe Boyle dubbed "Randy's Raiders." In the 1970's and early 1980's, Rabenold would transport a team of Lehighton basketball players, including his son, to scrimmage against his junior high team each Wednesday over the summer.

Rabenold coached junior varsity for another 20 years and retired from coaching in 1991. He was inducted into the Jim Thorpe Area Sports Hall of Fame in 1993 and remains on the Induction Committee 38 years of teaching and 28 years of coaching.

Rabenold was the Supervisor of the Kemmerer and Memoria Park summer playground programs during the 1960's and early 1970's. He is the Commissioner of the Jim Thorpe Adults Mens' Summer Basketball League at Memorial Park for 53 years. In 2009, the court was named the Randolph "Double R' Rabenold court in his honor.

Rabenold was "Educator of the Year" by the Lehighton Chamber of Commerce in 1993 and Carbon County's 'Veteran of the Year' in 1997 by the Marine Corps League.

Rabenold also did area sports cartoons for the TIMES NEWS during the 1970's. He was also a tutor for the Carbon County Volunteers for Literacy for six years in the 1990's. His "Almuni Art Show" drew over 500 people during the three-day event in 1993. He also remains active in Carbon County Senior Games.

He and his late wife "Ruthie" raised six children - Rebecca, a writer and an author, Randall, a former U.S. Secret Service agent and owns his own private investigation company in Charlotte, North Carolina, Rhonda of Allentown, Richard, an accountant for Redner's Market, Ronald, a teacher and cross country coach in Lehighton, and Zach, a counselor with Behavioral Health Associates. They also have eight grandchildren and one great granddaughter.

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