Mystery Photo No. 24

  • By Park Burroughs December 9, 2012
Image description
Mystery photo 24, one of two
Image description
Mystery photo 24, two of two

Our readers were quick to respond to last week’s Mystery Photos. Although three of the four young people have been positively identified, the puzzle is far from solved. Why, for instance, did professional photographer Dan Harbaugh save these rather crude snapshots, which eventually landed in the Observer-Reporter archives?

Frances Cimino called last Monday morning to report that the girl on the right was a member of her Washington High School Class of 1946 and fellow cheerleader, Lois Ann Shunk. Joanne Andrews said she was absolutely sure she recognized Shunk, her friend, and recalled that she lived on Hallam Avenue. City directories from 1945 and 1947 list the home at 249 W. Hallam Ave. as the William Shunk residence, and it’s possible the photo was taken in that neighborhood. Shunk married Dr. Ed Salko, and the couple later moved to Florida. Both are deceased.

Many callers were quick to identify the boy on the right as John “Hump” Nicolella and his companion as Dick Wilson. The two were photographed right across North Main Street from Harbaugh’s photography studio in about 1950. The two are shown in front of Brown’s Boot Shop, just up the street from J.C. Penney’s, Marshall’s Dry Goods and the Washington Theatre.

Both the boys were in Wash High’s Class of 1952, and both wrestled for the school, but Wilson eventually graduated from Trinity High School. Nicolella went on to wrestle at Ohio State University and later formed a construction company. He died about 20 years ago. The following information about Wilson comes from the University of Toledo:

Dick Wilson is one of the all-time greats in wrestling at the University of Toledo. He came to Toledo from Washington, Pa., and compiled one of the best wrestling records, not only at Toledo but also in the country. He won Mid-American Conference championships three straight years – at 123 pounds in 1959, at 130 pounds in 1960 when his dual meet record was 10-0 with eight pins, and again as a 123-pounder in 1961. In each of those seasons, Dick won All-American honors at the NCAA Championship Tournament. Wilson won three national AAU championships. He was the Pan American Games champion in 1959 and was a member of the United States Olympic Team three times, in 1956, 1960 and again in 1964. He was captain of the 1960 and 1964 Olympic teams and finished in the top six wrestlers in the world at his weight. Dick was also captain of the United States World Cup wrestling team in 1961 and 1962. Wilson earned his bachelor’s, master’s and education specialist degrees from the University of Toledo. He returned to his alma mater as head wrestling coach in 1967 and coached the Rockets to one Mid-American championship, three second-place finishes and one third. He left UT in 1974 to become a high school principal and pursue a career in high school administration.

Wilson retired from the Toldedo public school system in 1993. He died Dec. 31, 2008.

Park Burroughs has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1972. He is the winner of numerous state and regional awards for feature, column and editorial writing. He is the author of two books, “Enter, With Torches: Recollections of a Grumpy Old Editor,” and "Washington County Murder and Mayhem." He retired in September 2012 but continues to contribute to the O-R’s news pages.


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