Ron Park

As the first athletic director at Millard North, Ron Park led a coaching staff that in the school’s sixth year reached the top of the Class A all-sports standings.

Park, who retired in 1995, died Friday. The member of the national athletic directors and Nebraska High School Sports halls of fame was 84.

A funeral Mass will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church, 15353 Pacific St. in Omaha.

Park spent 32 years in the Millard schools before retirement. He was named Millard North’s athletic director after Lyle Buell, for whom the district’s football stadium is named, was killed in a 1980 auto accident.

Among Millard North’s coaches during his tenure were Fred Petito in football, Deb Grafentin in volleyball, Jeff Ritz in girls basketball, Gerald Johnette in boys basketball and Ron Johnette in baseball. When Park retired, five of the Mustangs’ original head coaches were still there.

“It’s been a neat experience,” he said in 1995. “We were able to start everything from scratch.”

Born in Lynch, Park graduated from Page High School and returned there in 1958 to start his teaching career. He came to Millard in 1963. He was the state’s athletic director of the year in 1987 and entered the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2007, the Millard North Hall of Fame as a charter inductee in 2013 and the national A.D. hall two years later.

Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Connie; daughter Kelly Aschwege; son Barry Park; and sister Genelle Trowbridge.

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