It’s easy to drive past, go to, or even play at a park without thinking or caring about the person for whom it is named after. Many lifelong residents of communities across the country don’t bother to learn about the people that their local parks are named after. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but we wanted shine a small spotlight on some people here in Jeffersonville, that have had public pieces of ground named after them for their contributions to our community.
Kenneth Leon Ellis was born on 14th Street in Jeffersonville, Indiana in 1920. He graduated from Jeffersonville High School and then served in the military for four years during World War II. After the war, Ellis worked for the General Service Administration for 37 years, 18 of which, he served as a Commissioner for the Jeffersonville Housing and Redevelopment Committee.
Ken Ellis coached and umpired in the Jeffersonville Little League, and he was accepted in North Star Lodge #3 where he became Past Master, Treasurer, and a member of the Jurisprudence Committee of the Grand Lodge for the State of Indiana.
John C. Wilcoxson, Sr. was a lifelong Southern Indiana resident and his legacy lives on throughout Jeffersonville. After serving as a tank driver for the 749th Tank Battalion during World War II, Wilcoxson worked at Colgate Palmolive Company for more than 40 years.
John Wilcoxson was instrumental in building the Jeffersonville Little League, that used to be located on Ewing Lane, and was one of six volunteers that built the Gazebo at Warder Park. Upon his retirement in the late 1970s, he began taking care of the Jeffersonville High School baseball and football fields, while also cutting grass at various parks around Jeffersonville with Donnie Poole and his crew at the Parks Department.
In 1986, John Wilcoxson was honored by President Reagan at the White House as Volunteer of the Year.
Ted was born in Jeffersonville, Indiana in 1928. He graduated from Jeffersonville High School in 1946 and from Indiana University in 1950. After his college graduation, Ted joined the United States Army and served during the Korean War.
Ted was the owner and operator of Clark County Beverage Company for 53 years, but was most notably the voice of Jeffersonville High School athletics, broadcasting football and basketball games for 52 years. Throckmorton was inducted into the Indiana Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2011.
All of Kentuckiana has felt the effect of Ted Throckmorton’s service to the community. He served on the Jeffersonville Parks & Recreation Board, Jeffersonville Library Board, the Perrin Park Foundation, and Jeffersonville City Pride.
Ted Throckmorton was one of only three volunteers who had been involved with every WHAS Crusade for Children telethon since 1954. Ted organized and recruited phone operators who have answered calls, taking pledges from thousands of listeners and viewers for more than 60 years.
These three men have many things in common: dedicated service to Jeffersonville, military service to our country, charitable giving and volunteerism to their community, and so much more. Each namesake to a public park in Jeffersonville isn’t required to have anything specific, but it is important to recognize, every once in a while, the people that shaped our community.