LESTERVILLE — Don Pavel’s memory lives on in vibrant colors at a place where he spent many summer nights.
The family of the Tyndall man, who passed away in January, commissioned a large mural of the Lesterville Broncs — the local amateur baseball team — on the facing of the press box at the park in Pavel’s honor.
“It’s a good way to honor grandpa,” grandson Mike Pavel said before Lesterville’s South Central League home game Friday night against Tabor.
The mural, painted by noted airbrush artist Mickey Harris, was first displayed this spring and was officially dedicated during a ceremony last month.
“I was out there mowing the Saturday they put it up, and a couple of us just sat there and looked at it for quite some time,” Lesterville amateur manager Kevin Bloch said Friday.
“It was very well done; a great gesture on the family’s part.”
Don, who passed away at age 83, spent his married life farming west of Lesterville and became a fixture at Broncs home games.
“He didn’t miss a game if he didn’t have to,” Mike said. “Unfortunately his health the last few years didn’t allow him to come out all the time.”
When he did, though, Don was a familiar face for Lesterville players.
“He would always sit close to the dugout,” Bloch said. “He was very interested in what was going on.”
Even after his grandchildren stopped playing baseball, Don was still a regular attendee of Lesterville home games, Bloch added.
And his love of the Broncs was partly where the idea for some kind of memorial at the local ballpark began for members of Don’s family, according to Mike. They used money that was donated at Don’s funeral to help for the mural, Mike added.
Eventually the family chose a mural.
“It’s cool for me, as a former player, to have something that shows our mascot,” said Mike, who last played for the Broncs in 2016.
“We have the ‘White Monster’ (wall around scoreboard in right field), but now we have this, too.”
The mural features a large, black bronco horse, with the baseball diamond behind it — along with the distinctive tree line and scoreboard.
“It’s definitely the Lesterville ballpark,” Bloch said. “It turned out wonderful.”
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