MICHIGAN CITY — Local legend Charles R. Westcott passed away more than 15 years ago, but that won’t stop the community from gathering to celebrate what would have been his 100th birthday on Saturday.
From 1-3 p.m., the public is invited to attend the free, all-ages celebration at the Boys & Girls Club of Michigan City at 321 Detroit St. The club was named after Westcott in 2005, a year after his death.
“The influence that Mr. Westcott has had within our community, primarily with our youth but with all citizens, has been extremely galvanizing and positive,” said Allen Williams, who chaired the committee that organized the event.
“ … His monumental impact on the lives of so many people needs to be remembered. The ideals he represented need to be sustained and carried forward by the rest of us.”
And that’s what Saturday’s celebration will be all about, said Williams, who will the master of ceremonies.
Westcott gave nearly four decades of service to the children at the Elite Youth Center, which used to stand in the Patch-Harborside neighborhood, where Westcott Park is located now.
Any of “Charlie’s kids” who would like to publicly remember Westcott are invited to comment during the open-mic portion of Saturday’s event, or to contribute to the memorabilia table.
Rev. Kevin Huber from Queen of All Saints Church and School, where Westcott coached basketball for several years, will say the invocation before guests enjoy cake and light refreshments.
Mayor Duane Parry will present an official proclamation in Westcott’s honor; and Councilwoman Angie Nelson-Deuitch will present a special resolution signed by all nine Common Council members.
Children from the Boys & Girls Club will provide a short history lesson on Westcott and his impact on Michigan City; and the Rev. Thomas Payne will provide musical entertainment, including an original song he wrote in honor of Westcott.
“We don’t want his legacy to be lost,” Williams said. “Last year was my dad’s 100th birthday, and I wondered, who remembers my dad’s birthday besides me? All of his friends are gone and he wasn’t a great man.
“But you can’t say that about Charlie Westcott. The influence he had – he touched people’s lives. And kids today need to know why there are scholarships and buildings and a park named after him,” Williams said.
“He was extremely special in the lives of so many people, and his reach was intergenerational.”