Sonny Fulks
Sonny Fulks
Managing Editor

Sonny Fulks is a graduate of Ohio State University where he pitched four varsity seasons for the Buckeyes from 1971 through 1974. He furthered his baseball experience as a minor league umpire for seven seasons, working for the Florida State League (A), the Southern League (AA), and the American Association (AAA). He has written for numerous websites, and for the past fourteen years has served as columnist and photo editor for The Gettysburg Magazine, published by the University of Nebraska Press, in Lincoln Nebraska. His interests include history, support for amateur baseball, the outdoors, and he has a music degree from Ohio State University.


It’s hard to think of any sports activity at Newton High School without thinking of him…not a coach, and hardly a mover and shaker.  But to many Larry Powell represented the welcoming personality of Indians sports, and an entire community.

Pleasant Hill – From Pleasant Hill, and Newton High School…where Press Pros will cover this weekend’s Newton Invite tourney of area high school baseball teams.  And you cannot be here without recognition and appreciation for a favorite son who would beam ear-to-ear over people getting together in the midst of turbulent times like these…for the sake of something so easy to enjoy as baseball.

When Larry Powell passed away in December of 2018 after a five-year-long fight with cancer, the community of Pleasant Hill and Newton Schools lost something far more valuable than bricks and mortar and the community tax dollars to pay for it.

They lost a personality, and a perspective on living that appreciated differences in race, gender, opinion, and financial standing like few others.  Larry Powell was that live-and-let live guy from Pleasant Hill, Ohio…who really believed that life, schools, and sports should strive to be a reflection of the name – a pleasant experience!

He was born here, grew up here, worked here, had a family here, and died here…all with a patience and appreciation for others that most who knew him still find rare.  Hardly a mover or shaker, he just lived as an example of appreciating each single day and the people who made it fun and interesting.

He enjoyed sports and served in various capacities as an athletic director, sharing that duty with veteran coach and administrator Bob Huelsman after Huelsman left Covington to take a position with Newton in 2010.

“Larry was one of the kindest people I ever met,”  says Huelsman.  “I don’t know if he was a Boy Scout, but he lived like one – trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, thrifty…and brave.  He was like an Eagle Scout.  I was so happy to call him a friend.”

Modest to a fault, one of his achievements was to open and direct The Barn Youth Center in Pleasant Hill, for 23 years.  And through that, many of the children in town grew up remembering him as a man of faith…and a friend.  People who knew him well remember him as “something to everyone he met.”

When they built the new community field house behind the high school last year, somehow that building absorbed a kind of presence that Powell would have represented and appreciated.  A full-sized gym, a weight room, hitting area for baseball and softball, locker rooms, and space for community gatherings…it’s all designed to bring people together, like Larry.  This weekend it’s area high schools playing baseball, and he would have been all over that.

Not surprising, his photo with that ever-present grin, the crew cut, and wearing a Newton shirt, hangs in the lobby as a reminder to all that being pleasant still matters.

That being here is something very, very pleasant!

Park National/Unity National Bank is proud to support area sports on Press Pros