Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, December 26, 2004, pg. 3
The Albion area lost a legend on December 14 with the passing of Ralph Locke, Sr. The sport of boxing was once a major attraction here, and Ralph had much to do with promoting that sport for 70 years of his lifetime. Each era of youth in Albion remember being trained as part of Ralph’s program when they were growing up here. There were several boxing “gymnasiums” on the second and third floors in downtown Albion, including Ralph’s which was located above the United Cigar Store on N. Superior St. in 1935. Ralph helped train over 2,300 amateur boxers through the Golden Gloves program during his career, mostly in the greater Jackson-Albion area. He himself won 70 fights during the 1930s, and another 40 while serving in World War II.
Several of my uncles boxed, one of them professionally. He was Joseph Pasic (1907-1994), who fought professionally under the name of Joe Sharkey. He was one of Ralph Locke’s original coach/trainers when Ralph began boxing competitively in the early 1930s.
Ralph was inducted into the Michigan Amateur Sports Hall of Fame in 1976, was named the Outstanding Coach of the Year in 1985 by the Michigan Golden Gloves organization, and in 1979 received a “Minuteman” award by Governor Milliken for his years of dedication to the sport. In 1993 there was a 70-page book published about this pugilist written by his son David. Entitled “The one Minute Diagnostician-A Lesson from a Boxing Legend,” this fine work gives not only biographical information about Locke, but his philosophy and systematic approach to the sport which guided his coaching career during his lifetime. He was a humble man with a big heart; he gave of himself to his family and to his boxing family as well. He truly touched the lives of hundreds of young persons in our area, and was one of those unique individuals who left a lasting legacy.
Ralph made his living at the Gale Manufacturing Company beginning at age 14 during the Great Depression, until the Gale closed its doors in 1968. In addition to boxing, some of our readers will remember the softball team he sponsored here in Albion.
From our Historical Notebook this week we present a 1937 photograph of Ralph Locke (1916-2004) who at the time was fighting as a welterweight. How many of our readers remember being part of the Golden Gloves program when they were growing up?
Ralph Locke (1916-2004)
All text copyright, 2016 © all rights reserved Frank Passic