From his work in the Oak Lawn Lions Club to his support of Richards High School, George “Skip” Pearson is a man you want in your corner. Although he resides in New Lenox, Oak Lawn is still near and dear to Skip’s heart. He’s in town almost every day visiting his parents who still reside in the home he grew up in. When the whistle blows tonight at Korhonen Field, Skip will be in the top row of the stands with the other old Bulldogs, or helping out on the field. Here are some little known facts about Richards’ number one fan.
How he got the name "Skip": “My dad is George L. Pearson Jr. His dad is George L. Pearson Sr. When I was born my dad was in the Merchant Marine and Navy reserve. He started calling me ‘Skipper.’”
Skip never attended Richards High School; he’s a 1965 graduate of Eisenhower High School in Blue Island: “I grew up in Oak Lawn a half block from the district border. My parents are still there. The dividing line in Oak Lawn is the south side of 99th Street. My freshman and sophomore years the building was at 115th Street and Ridgeland Avenue, which is now the IBEW building. My junior and senior year the bus took us to Eisenhower High School at 127th Street and Sacramento in Blue Island. There was no Richards and no Shepherd High Schools.
He’s on a planning committee for his 50th reunion: “I still keep in touch with Dist. 218 graduates. Thee were 962 students in my graduating class. The day we graduated it was 95 degrees in the gym. It was hotter than hell.”
How Skip got involved with Richards: "My dad formed the Leo Club, which is the youth arm of the Lions Club, at Richards, in 1969. He was the liaison between the Lions Club. My brother, Bob, was the first student president of the Leo Club, and the first four-year class to graduate from Richards (1969). My father had me going to the football games in 1984 and 1985. My father and I were at both state football championships when Richards won in 1988 and 1989."
He’s seen all the greats: “I became friends with Hall of Fame coach Gary Korhonen, the winningest coach at the time of his retirement and for whom the stadium is named. I saw Rick Pratl and (current head coach) Tony Sheehan when he was quarterback on the 1995 [Richards] team that went 12 and 1 in 1995, Adam Ziemba, who’s our defensive line coach; and Jim Moore, the offensive line coach.”
Skip’s role with the Bulldogs: “I help out with public relations for the team and the p.r. for our 7-on-7 scrimmage. If I can’t make a practice, [the coaching staff] emails me the practice film [video]. Sometimes I give the coaches my insights. They’re an excellent staff. They know what they’re doing.”
Why he does it: “I believe in the public school system. I love interacting with the coaches, the staff and the players, helping point these young men not only in the direction of sports, but academics and the game of life so they go on to become good citizens.”
Personal data: Skip comes from a Navy family, and served as a quartermaster on a destroyer during the Vietnam War. After he was discharged he earned a bachelor’s degree at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale “before it got crazy.” He’s married to second wife, Maureen, has two children, George L. Pearson IV, who they call “Chip”; and daughter, Jane Turner, a guidance counselor at Dist. 218’s Delta Learning Center. Has five grandchildren and several step-grandchildren. As for the rest, “don’t put that in the story.”
Skip’s ‘Academy Award’ acceptance speech: “I’m grateful to the coaches, staff and administration for allowing me to be involved with the team. I love visiting the players’ families throughout the district.”
What does he think of the Bulldogs’ chances this season: “This team is loaded with talent. 2013 is the year. It’s a great day to be a Bulldog. God bless, America.”