Section Of Road To Be Renamed For Bluffton Grad Who Played In NFL

(From the Village of Bluffton)

Bluffton Village Council will designate a section of Bentley Road in Bluffton as “Honorary Elbert Dubenion Drive.”

The action that took place May 28 recognizes Elbert Dubenion, 1959 Bluffton College graduate, who played for nine seasons with the Buffalo Bills professional football team. He is the only Bluffton athlete to play professional football.

Honorary Elbert Dubenion Drive will extend on the portion of Bentley Road in front of the Bluffton University football stadium. The official street name will continue as Bentley Road.

Among the group who presented the idea to the Bluffton council are persons who played football with Dubenion and fans who watched him play during his college years from 1955 to 1958.

One of the alumni committee members is Jim “Spike” Berry,  a teammate who quarterbacked the Bluffton College Beaver football team during the Dubenion era at Bluffton.

This group has several additional ideas to recognize Dubenion. Among these is a statue, a scholarship, and a ”44” jersey retirement ceremony. 

In his first year at Bluffton, Dubenion worked on the Bluffton village street crew. As a town celebrity, downtown business owners were among his most loyal fans, making him the most recognized Bluffton student for a generation of those community leaders.

Among his college-era achievements was being named first team Small College All-American in 1958 and was among 33 players selected to play in the College All-Star game in 1959 against the Baltimore Colts. As a member of the Buffalo Bills, Dubenion played in the 1964 NFL Pro Bowl. He holds the record for the longest reception in AFL playoff history with a 93-yard TD. He is also a member of the Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame.

Dubenion died on Dec. 26, 2019, at his residence in Westerville, Ohio. His wife, Marilyn, is also a Bluffton College graduate.

Members of the committee involved in the various projects to recognize Elbert Dubenion are Tom Benroth, Jim “Spike” Berry, Jim Buffenbarger, Charles Buroker, Larry Copeland, Everett Collier, Don Hostetler, Gene Long,  Ronald Lora, Mary Ramseyer, Richard Ramseyer and Fred Steiner.