Coach Walter Westray (far right) with his under-16 basketball team in 1982.
Coach Walter Westray (far right) with his under-16 basketball team in 1982.

The Southwest community recently lost a gifted legend in Walter “BoRo” Westray. Bo, as he was known to friends and family, was a longtime Southwest resident who gave his time and dedicated service to our youth as the coach at the Police #4 Boys and Girls Club (located in Bowen Elementary School) during the late 1980s and 1990s. His 16 & under basketball teams were well known for their championships and production of future high school stars. Coach Bo won over five Boys/Girls club championships in the 14 & under and 16 & under age groups from 1994 to 2002. His teams produced such Southwest stars as David Carson (Wilson HS), Paul “Big South” Taylor (Wilson HS), Henry Willoughby (Wilson HS), George Richardson (Wilson HS) and countless others who lives were impacted by the leadership and mentoring of Coach Bo.

The strength of Coach Bo was his uncanny ability to teach the lessons of life to all whose paths he crossed. Basketball and baseball were the catches for his teachings. Just as one would absorb the skills and technique of his sports lessons, he could hold their interest as he explains the importance of becoming a productive person in society. Coach Bo always held such sessions after every practice with his teams. These lessons were displayed as a kid growing up on L street, as told by some who reminisce on the childhood friendship they had with Coach Bo. Longtime friend James Shaw stated, “I can remember as kids we all would gravitate to Bo’s front porch on a daily basis because he had knowledge about sports.” Joe Brawner, who played baseball with Coach Bo at Spingarn High School said “He was the kindest and most genuine person I have ever known.”

Walter Westray lived in the Southwest community for over forty years. He graduated from Spingarn in 1977 where he was a star football and baseball player. Those who knew him all would agree that he gave his all to the Southwest community he loved.

By Wallace Perry, Director Roving Leaders, DC Department of Parks and Recreation.

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