PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Trail Blazers fans will have the chance to remember and honor longtime announcer Bill Schonely. A public celebration of life is scheduled for Monday, March 13.
Schonely died on Jan. 21 at the age of 93. He served as the Blazers' play-by-play broadcaster for almost three decades and coined the catchphrase "Rip City."
Monday's memorial is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum on North Ramsay Way. Former Blazers play-by-play announcer Kevin Calabro will lead the celebration, which is expected to feature speeches from both current and former team players.
Trail Blazers founder Harry Glickman hired Schonely in 1970 for the team's inaugural season. Schonely went on to call more than 2,500 games including the team's championship run in 1977. He was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame for broadcasting in 2012 and retired from the team at the end of the 2021-2022 NBA season.
Schonely's wife of more than 30 years, Dottie, died in late February — nearly one month after Schonely's death. This week, Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden paid tribute to her during a speech on the Senate floor. He said Dottie "radiated smarts and kindness to everyone she met in Oregon."
"Bill and Dottie were the ultimate teammates as the 'First Couple of Rip City' so perhaps it’s fitting they could not be separated for long," Wyden said.
Wyden added that he is grateful for the memories and the legacies that the pair leaves behind.
"Oregon is said to have 'Seven Wonders,' including Mount Hood and Crater Lake. In my scorebook and in the scorebooks of Blazers fans everywhere, The Schonz and Dottie are our state’s 'Eighth Wonder,'" Wyden said.