By Clinton Dick
An angel with cowboy boots overlooks the western skies from the mass of limestone that is Stewart Field House. He sits on his throne made from the letters SC in the west window of the building, only slightly standing out to those who pass by who otherwise notice the massive black Jinx cat at his feet.
The window was donated by the Durbin family in 1990 in memory of their son, Grant, who was killed in an accident when the family moved to Senaca that same year.
Grant was four years old when he was killed by a hydraulic lift during his family’s transition into their new home. His mother, Nancy, was the athletic secretary in 1989 and said that Grant was very active with the basketball team in Stewart during her job.
“It was a very enjoyable job being athletic secretary,” said Durbin. “Grant and his brother, Nathan, would grab a ball and play out in the gym while the team was practicing.”
Grant’s father, Randy, said that he loved to play ball, but he and his older brother did his best to not get in the way.
“The team gave him attention and included them whenever they could in something,” said Durbin. “He was always active and liked to play ball a lot. We had a little miniature basketball goal that he would play with.”
Randy, Nancy and their two sons were close to the basketball team off the court as well. The team had a foster parent program where players would spend time with families from the community, eat dinner with them on a regular basis and build relationships. The Durbins were foster parents to Scott Bugby, who the Bugby Addition on the south end of the field house is named after.
“Nancy and Randy had Scott over for dinner and other activities,” said Jim Wheatcroft, head men’s basketball coach from 1988 to 1996. “Scott and the Durbins were pretty close in the foster parent program.”
After Grant’s death, the family decided to commemorate him with the stained glass window. The Durbins had the window made in Wichita and sent to Southwestern College for Stewart Field House.
“We wanted something so our child was not forgotten,” said Nancy. “With the little angel up there, people know that it is up there, but it is not too showy.”
The window was installed at the same time as the building was being renovated and all of the windows were being replaced. “All of the windows were in bad shape before the renovation and the whole thing was really ugly,” said Bill Stephens, former athletic director. “When they were replacing the windows is when the family offered the window to remember him by. We fixed it so there was an interior spotlight that you can turn on so that the window lights up at night.”
A plaque with Grant’s picture, a letter and a poem dedicated to him hangs in the Bugby Addition of Stewart. The plaque includes photographs of him and Nathan playing basketball during one of the basketball team’s practices.
The Durbin family now lives in Overwood near Topeka and come down to see the window whenever they have the chance.
Wheatcroft says that the window has done its purpose in commemorating Grant and is a unique part of Stewart Field House. “When you see the jinx cat up on the window, it makes you think of Grant.”
Clinton Dick is a sophomore majoring in convergent journalism. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.
Edited by Paige Carswell.