By Rebecca Price Janney, Jun 26 2018 12:27PM
I write about a lot of famous Easton people in my novels, but they’re mainly 18th century folks. There’s Colonel Peter Kichline, of course, who’s one of two main characters in the stories, as well as George Taylor, signer of the Declaration of Independence. There are others claiming local fame, among them Lewis Gordon, Robert Traill, Robert Levers, Nicholas Tatamy.
Easton’s most famous “famous son” in the contemporary era, however, is legendary boxer Larry Holmes. I want to give him a shout out on this 40th anniversary of his World Boxing Championship fight against Ken Norton in June 1978. The “Easton Assassin” had a wicked left jab which propelled him to global fame, but he also Holmes won the hearts of his fellow Eastonians. I remember the vibrant victory parade downtown after he won the title, the jubilation and pride. Later, Riverside Drive was renamed Larry Holmes Drive, and in 2015, the City of Easton dedicated a bronze statue of him at Scott Park overlooking the Forks of the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers.
Holmes held the heavyweight title for seven-and-half years, second-longest only to Joe Louis.
Last year during Easton Heritage Day, “Peter Kichline” and his “son” bumped into Holmes, who seemed delighted at meeting the 18th century Easton icon. All three of them struck a fighting pose—the Kichlines, ready to face down the British, and Holmes for having pummeled the likes of Ali, Norton, Spinks, and Shavers.