Dick Read, owner of Read's Sporting Goods who died Saturday, was a friend to local and area athletes, coaches and administrators. (Photo courtesy Read family)
By Bryan Bloodworth
BLOOMINGTON – Bloomington-Normal lost one of its longest-standing business owners Saturday with the passing of Dick Read – the owner of Read’s Sporting Goods.
Read, who turned 91 two weeks ago, took the family business – then W.B. Read & Company, which was founded in 1884 – from his father, Howard, shortly after returning from World War II.
There wasn’t an athlete or coach, who didn’t know the mild-mannered Read whose heart was bigger than his pocketbook, according to son, Peter, who now runs the business with his brother, Bill.
“He was the kind of guy, who would go to the bank and borrow money then give it away to somebody who didn’t have enough to pay for a pair of tennis shoes,” said Peter Read.
Dodie Dunson, the director of the Lawrence Irvin Western Avenue Community Center in Bloomington, can attest to Read’s generosity.
“When I was in junior high playing on the basketball team; me and my brother, Dana, didn’t have the money to pay for our shoes so we could play,” said Dunson. “He used to let us have our shoes and then whenever my mom could afford to pay, get them.”
His funeral will be at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at Second Presbyterian Church with visitation from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Carmody-Flynn Williamsburg Funeral Home in Bloomington.
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Bryan Bloodworth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org