Mrs. McCullough steps up to plate
Barbara McCullough and Bob Bavasi pledged their ongoing support Friday for baseball in the Yuba-Sutter area and said they intend to establish a community foundation in Don McCullough's memory.
“I don't mean to minimize Don's contribution or the pain of his departure, but I want you to know that we are moving forward, with vigor, on both the dealership and the ball club fronts,” Barbara McCullough, Don's wife, said during a press conference at the Yuba-Sutter Chamber of Commerce in Marysville.
“I'm going to do my best to step into Don's shoes, but I know I can't fill them. But I don't have to. What I have to do is my best to offer help and assistance to the very people in both organizations who have allowed these enterprises to grow.”
Don McCullough - car dealer, civic leader and Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox co-owner - died April 13, stricken by a heart attack during a fund-raiser on behalf of efforts to keep Beale Air Force Base open. He was 69.
“Gold Sox baseball continues today just as surely as it did the day before Don passed,” said Bavasi, the team's other co-owner.
Bavasi called Barbara McCullough “the newest partner in Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox
The Gold Sox are a collegiate summer team that plays its home games at All Seasons RV Stadium at 14th and B streets in Marysville.
McCullough “clearly brings a different skill set to the equation than what Don offered, but that's what I love about baseball, different people getting to put a different gloss on it,” Bavasi said.
“Whatever Bob wants me to do, I will be more than happy to do and to continue Don's legacy and his belief in the game and the community,” she said.
McCullough said the charitable foundation will be called Gold Sox Care, whose “mission will be to continue community good works in Don's name.”
Bavasi said initial funding will be about $20,000.
Marysville City Administrator Steve Casey expressed satisfaction with the twin announcements.
“We're thrilled that baseball will still be in Marysville,” he said. “It's good to see they're forming a foundation, and the McCullough family will still be involved.”
During her appearance, McCullough offered some insights into her late husband.
“Don was the consummate salesperson,” she said. “I knew that from the day I met him. He convinced me to marry him.”
They were married in 1957, but stopped living together 15 years ago, she said. They never divorced.
“We loved each other, but found that we couldn't live together. Nonetheless, we could work together, and while we've always been partners in the dealership, I became more actively involved in its operation by working there for the past five years,” she said.
Don McCullough opened his Marysville dealership in the early 1980s.
“I didn't get what Don saw in this area when he came up here 22 years ago,” she said. “ I didn't get it when I was working with him, but after Don's passing the tributes that are still coming in to this day are overwhelming. What he saw in this community was heart.”
She was asked about the future of Don McCullough Dodge Chrysler Inc. and if it may eventually move to Yuba City.
“I don't know,” she said. “As of April 13, I learned anything is possible, even the unbelievable.”
Appeal-Democrat reporter Harold Kruger can be reached at 749-4717. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.