Recently retired, Jamestown native Jim Bender and his wife, Barbara, were cleaning out their Ashburnham, Mass., home when they came upon a unique find.
And, as a result, the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame is now the beneficiary of a donation that will enhance an exhibit commemorating the boxing career of 1936 Olympian Jimmy Clark, who lived in Jamestown from 1935 until his death in 1994.
Jim's father acquired Clark's 16-ounce sparring gloves in the 1950s and they have been part of the Bender family ever since.
Jim and Barbara Bender share a light moment at the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame after they donated the sparring gloves of the late Jimmy Clark, a former Olympic boxer and Jamestown resident.
P-J photo by Scott Kindberg
''We've used those our entire life,'' Jim said. ''Even our kids used them. We've had them in the family for years and years and we've carried them with us.''
But upon uncovering them yet again not long ago, Jim decided to contact CSHOF president Randy Anderson to make arrangements to donate them to the Hall. The donation was made Friday.
Anderson was thrilled with the Benders' generosity.
''Jimmy Clark has been gone for a number of years and he had no family,'' Anderson said, ''so to have something turn up after all these years that we can add to our collection of Jimmy Clark memorabilia is just stunning.''
Anderson said the timing is perfect, too.
''When the Olympics roll around, I think about Jimmy Clark and the 1936 Olympics,'' he said. ''For those gloves to show up literally on the eve of the Olympics, it's serendipitous.''
Anderson said the gloves will be part of an exhibit that includes Clark's Olympic robe.
''If I can fit (the gloves) in the cabinet, that's where they'll go,'' Anderson said.