CINCINNATI -- The Springs family is planning a reunion. Why is that newsworthy?
The family's patriarch is Luther Springs, who moved here from South Carolina in 1929. Luther and his wife Geneva raised 15 children, who raised their own children here in Cincinnati.
Today, the Springs family is 1,000 strong -- and that's just the family members living in Cincinnati.
“We have traced our roots all the way back to back to the North Carolina planation of Luther Springs’ grandparents and forward to five generations,” said Rochelle Thompson, one of the family members working on the reunion. “So we have our history and now we have to continue to keep our family connected.”
This year’s reunion is June 23-25. In addition to family fun and getting reacquainted, the Springs family plans to honor the athletes in the family, including two professional boxers and an NFL player.
“We want to celebrate that three of our members attained professional sports status,” Thompson said. “It is sort of a 'Springs Hall of Fame.'”
In the 1960s, boxer Norman Springs of Forest Park represented Cincinnati as a Golden Gloves champion. Thompson said that it was during this same time that Muhammad Ali represented Louisville.
Norman, now 79, boxed professionally for 10 years in the Lightweight division.
Years later, Norman’s nephew, Ravea Springs, became the 1990 National Golden Gloves Light Middleweight champion with a record of 22 knockouts in 28 bouts. Ravea, now 47, started boxing at the age of 8.
“It is in my blood,” he said. “I loved to box at an early age and I continue to train kids today.”
Ravea said his father encouraged him to box, but his mother hated the sport.
“When I was little, I would tell my mom I was going to watch a fight, but I was actually in the fight,” he said. “I had to sneak to the fight and then hide the trophies under my bed.”
Although his mother never did like boxing, Ravea said it saved his life. His boxing career took him all over the world and kept him out of trouble. He was selected for the All-American Team and the Pan-Am Games.
“Through my career my parents always told me to accept the wins and accept the loses, but always be thankful,” Ravea said. “And I have always been thankful.”
Kirk Springs, 58, of Sharonville played for the National Football League from 1981 to 1986 with the New York Jets and the Indianapolis Colts. After graduating from Woodward High School, where he played football, basketball and baseball, he went on to Miami University and played football.
“I didn’t really aspire to be a professional football player,” he said. “I just wanted to go to college and get a degree and I thought I might get a chance to play.”
Kirk said his father was an athlete himself but did not push his children to play. But both his parents encouraged him to do his best and try hard.
“My mom used to say ‘if you’re not losing, you’re not learning,' and she was right,” he said.
Kirk earned a degree in education from Miami. After his NFL career he taught school for a few years but then went on to become a firefighter for the city of Cincinnati. He retired after a 25-year career.
“We have a giant family and it was our grandma who kept us all together,” Ravea said. “But since she passed in the early 2000s, we don’t get together like we used to. This reunion will fix that.”
If you are a member of the Springs family and would like more information on the reunion, contact Rochelle Thompson at 513-587-9391.