TLC logo TLC #104:  September 27, 2007


Dear Hearts and Gentle People:
Yes, thanks to you, he won!
August Cat of the Month: Alfred
After an unfortunate false start in this month's poll, Alfred surged ahead almost from the beginning. Each cat in the poll had his or her own special charm, and I know it was a difficult choice for me as it was for those who voted. In the final count, with 488 votes in at the time of this posting, Alfred won with 218 votes - a whopping 44%.

(The above was the announcement which ran on the website last week. And the handsome fellow pictured at right is Sir Alfred of Worthington. Thank you to all who
voted. And to the 76 !!! of you who wrote notes!)
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It began with a simple request from Joe Anton: Susan, you might want to mention that Bobby Price died playing football for Lexington against Excelsior Springs at the Wentworth stadium in 1946 (I believe).  Bobby Gadt may have been in that game also but my memory isn't sure.
Thanks to some of you, and particularly Meredith Stephenson who supplied newspaper clippings, the following is what really happened. So many of you remember Bobby Price that I'm going to print all the notes that came in. As usual, time has altered our memories, and many recollections are not accurate, but that doesn't seem important. I am including letters from everyone who wrote - even the misremembered parts. Please understand that I do this not to embarrass anyone, but to show the depth of emotion that caused people to keep this memory close to heart for 60 years.....60 years nearly to the date. Here goes.
It was Saturday, December 6, 1947, the beginning of heartbreak for the entire Lexington community. Apparently the game was more lopsided than the final score, 32-14, showed. Only 2,000 spectators turned out on a cold and drizzly, miserable day for the Papoose Bowl in Oklahoma City, OK. The combatants were Wentworth Military Academy against the much stronger Northeastern A&M of Miami (OK).
The score was tied at 7-7 until just before the end of the first half when the Northeastern team scored again. The overpowered Wentworth fought a terrific game, although one wonders just how much their hearts were in it. "Hit viciously on the opening kickoff after a 46-yard return, spunky little Bobby Price of Lexington, MO, youngster in the Cadet backfield, was hurt but went back for another play in the same period and was taken to St. Anthony's hospital, apparently badly injured after the play," an Oklahoma newspaper reported.
Lest the reader think the mis-match a biased opinion, Jimmy Gadt suffered a broken collarbone in the same quarter, and his brother Bobby Gadt lost two teeth to the "well-conditioned hard-hitting Oklahomans." Among the WMA players that day are names familiar in Lexington today: Meredith Stephenson, Kenny Maib, Swede Roskan, Bob Beard, Olds, Ellis, Easter.
But the misery had just begun. Reports from the Oklahoma hospital were grave. Cadets kept watch on the flagpole in front of the WMA administration building. They knew it might be flown at half-staff soon. And it was.
The Lexington Daily Advertiser-News headline read "BOBBY PRICE DIES; DEATH COMES AT 2 THIS AFTERNOON; Turn for worse at 11 last night; Lexington is stunned by tragedy." The story read:
"Bobby Price died at 2 o'clock this afternoon.
"The Lexington boy who looked too frail for football, but climaxed a spectacular gridiron career with three first-half touchdowns against Kemper here on Thanksgiving Day, succumbed at St. Anthony's Hospital in Oklahoma City.
"He had never regained consciousness after an injury Saturday afternoon in Wentworth's game against Northeast Oklahoma A&M in the Papoose Bowl.
"A hemorrhage at the base of the brain caused the death. Young Price's breathing failed at 11 o'clock last night and he was put under a respirator.
"Early this morning his sister Anna Mae, called to say that, according to the doctors, 'only a miracle' could save Bobby.
"Around 10:30 Coach Coleman telephoned from Oklahoma City, to tell the academy that the doctors had then given up all hope and they believed 'it was just a matter of time' for the little gamester.
"Price was injured in Saturday's game in the first quarter. He had taken a pass from Easter and was running for the goal line when he cut back to evade two Oklahoma tacklers. They trapped him around the 10-yard line just as a Wentworth blocker came in. Price was hard hit in the pile-up. He ran off the field, but soon collapsed and was taken to the hospital.
"Through Saturday night and Sunday he seemed to show slight improvement but took a serious turn early Monday morning and underwent an emergency operation. The doctors found a condition which could not be helped, and it became apparent then that the boy had little chance of recovery.
"Lexington was stunned. A pall hung over the Academy and the town, and the tragedy was written on the faces of people on the streets.
"Little groups gathered in front of the Advertiser-News through the morning to read bulletins on Bobby's worsening condition. Phone calls came almost by the minute.
"Though Bobby was not a Catholic, Father Dibbins said a special mass for his recovery this morning at 7 o'clock at the request of a group of cadets.
"The cadets themselves made up a special Bobby Price Fund. Bobby Gadt took $89.50 which they had collected down to Oklahoma City yesterday. He flew down with Don VanCamp.
"The corps collected $141.66 more today.
"Mrs. Margaret Ann Braurer, a sister living in Chicago, arrived in Lexington this morning at 6 o'clock and was taken to Kansas City by Mrs. James Lauderdale to catch a plane for Oklahoma City.
(The next paragraphs of the report are not readable. But it continued with a quote:) 
"...Bobby was always near the top of his class. He participated in all athletics and in spite of his light weight, he shone in every effort.
"Every instructor under whom he studied, every coach under whom he trained, rated him at the top.
"His battalion commander (Cadet Walker) prayed Monday night: 'If Bobby goes, it will be to a better place than he left. But we want him to stay with us. All who knew respected and loved him feel the same way. God willed that he go. He went like a soldier fighting a hard, clean battle. But he will always live in the hearts of those who were privileged to know him.'
"Superintendent of Schools Leslie H. Bell said today that 'Bobby was an all-around boy, a superior student, good athlete, an active Boy Scout and capable member of the band. The tragedy has depressed terribly all members of the high school teaching staff and his many friends at the high school.'
"Dr. James M. Stafford, pastor of the Presbyterian church said today: 'Bobby joined the church under my ministry and has had a record of some ten years without missing Sunday School. He was a member of the Boys' Club and quite active in young people's work. He was a faithful member of the Bible class taught by Mr. George Price.'
"The Price home at 16th and Franklin had long been a gathering place for Lexington youngsters. John Taubman recalled today how he rarely passed the place in the evening but that he saw a crowd of kids inside and heard the sound of music. It is doubtful if Lexington ever knew a more popular young man than Bobby Price."
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That article and an accompanying editorial about the death were both written by my father, John H. Shea, who was editor and publisher of the Advertiser-News at the time. He was obviously touched by the tragedy. I was 7 years old at the time and, though not really understanding what had happened, remember the adults and indeed the whole town being very upset.
Marge Butherus (wife of Paul Butherus, coach & athletic director at WMA (1958-1983) did some research and got in touch right away:
Bobby Price was mentioned in your last newsletter.  Bobby Price was a Lexington boy who went to Wentworth Jr. College. He died as a result of a football injury he received playing in a Wentworth game. They were playing in the Papoose Bowl in Oklahoma City in November, 1947.  He lived for 3 days after the injury. He was quarterback on the football team, lettered also in basketball and baseball and received many scholastic awards.

His funeral was held at Wentworth with 2,000 people attending.  K.C. Mayor H. Roe Bartle spoke at the funeral with all the military honors that would be given a General as it was said he truly was a "little general" on the football field.

He is a member of the Wentworth Athletic Hall of Fame, and there is a big display case displaying his picture, football jersey etc. in the Wentworth Field House.  An award called the Bobby Price Award is given to the outstanding athlete at Wentworth each year in his honor.

Thank you so much for giving us a chance to share information about Lexington and the people we remember.
From Bob '58 Ball:
Of course Bobby Price died before I knew anything about it, though his parents' house, at the northeast corner of 16th and Franklin, was catty-cornered down 16th Street from my parents' home.  Never saw much of Mrs. Price, but Mr. Price was around some. I would say that my knowledge of Bobby Price was pretty far as I know, Bobby Price was killed while playing for WMA.  But I was pretty young at the time, so I can't be sure.
Jan Beretta '54 Beyer wrote:
I think that Bobby Price died playing in a Wentworth-Kemper football game.  I also think that the cadet corps marched to drumbeats from WMA to the cemetery.  Am sure you will get much feedback regarding Bobby. 
Several people told me the corps marched to muffled drumbeats from WMA to Machpelah Cemetery.
From Frank & Angela Kelly-Shelby:
I am writing in to say we are excited to now be connected to the Lexington news of times gone by. My husband Frank F. Shelby, Ret LTC, USA was also on the Lexington football team that went undefeated in 1947. Frank thinks that Bobby Price was playing for Wentworth Military Academy vs. Mexico Military Academy in New Mexico when he received a serious head injury, which ultimately resulted in his death in 1948. Bobby Gadt was also a member of the Wentworth football team. Additionally on the WMA football team were Bobby "Peely" Olds, and Billy Beard. Frank had joined the US Army in 1947 following graduation from LHS and went on to serve 27 years and retired in 1973 from his first of many professions. We are living in Molton, FL., where as of 2 years ago he retired as Director of Mediation Services for Escambia County. We love coming "home" to Lexington to visit with the wonderful Shelby/Fisher family.
On our May visit to Lexington, we visited the Veterans' Memorial and had hoped to get a brick for Frank and his brother Jim only to find out that no more bricks are available, even for veterans of WWII or Korea. Does anyone know how to get the brick areas expanded to accommodate Lexington's own? I would be very interested as would Jim's wife Judy Hoeppner '57 Shelby. We look forward to more of your wonderful emails. 
Jack Gueguen '51:
On Bobby Gadt, those of my generation in Lex. remember him as a fine player.  Those more into athletics than I was can supply details.  I thought enough of him to record the date of his passing (May 14, 1998) for annual remembrance.
(The best Mr. Google could do for me was to find Paul Gadt of Higginsville H.S. who earned a spot of the 1976-77 Wrestling USA Magazine All-American 2nd team.  Bobby's son?  An athletic family.)
Shirley Briggle '54 Miller:
No, no, Susan, Bobby Price didn't die in the Lexington High game with Excelsior in 1946. 
He died playing for Wentworth in a game with a team in either Kansas or Oklahoma.  He actually died in a day or two from the injury in the game.  Lexington schools closed for his huge funeral at Wentworth. 
The Excelsior Springs game in 1946 was a jubilant affair where Lexington won the Conference title, and there were about as many people at the game as the population of Lexington. 
You're pretty young to remember Bobby Price's last game.  He was a remarkable athlete, but no match for (that) team.
I was in college in 1954, so I don't recall the game you mentioned, but the 1946 crowd was the same -- all over the stadium edges, completely surrounding it.  I remember it clearly because I was a "junior majorette," in the sixth grade. Our uniforms were made not of satin, but of red wool, because they thought that would keep the little kids warm!  After that year there were no more "junior majorettes" from less than freshman year in high school because somebody's nose was out of joint over it. 
Since 1946 I've had many exciting days and nights, but none more exhilarating than that 1946 championship game! A close second, as far as football, was in January 2006 when the University of Texas took the national title away from USC in the Rose Bowl in the last 20 seconds after being behind 12 points with six minutes to go.  One of my sons was there for the game; the rest of us were going crazy in front of the TV in Dallas. The son in attendance, a UT graduate, kept sending mental telepathy to the star quarterback, which ran:  "Don't score too soon; don't score too soon!"
Norma Homfeld Barney
Bobby Price died while playing football for Wentworth, and that game was not played in Lexington... I think it happened in Arkansas. But that has been many years ago, and I am not certain.
Jan Rider McCoy
Bobby Gadt and my brother, Kay Rider, were on the 1946 Championship team in Lexington their Senior year.  I have pictures of them and one of Bobby Gadt and Bobby Price together.  Some of the others on there (I think) were Bobby Olds, Gene Emke, Billy Beard, Don Van Camp, "Mooney Rostine," and I see a Bertz face. I'm sure there are some of the other TLC informants who can come up with more information for you.  I remember the night Bobby Price was injured and we went down to the Price home.  They lived one block West of us and Kay and Bobby were good friends. 
I have asked Jan to send the photos if she finds some, and we will display them on our TLC website:
Don Stephenson, Class of '43
I wish to correct some information that Joe Anton sent regarding Bobby Price. 
After being discharged from the Army after World War II in April, 1946, I started to school at the University of Missouri for the summer session in June.  Bobby Price was enrolled there at the same time, and we both were taking a Physics class but not at the same time.  When my class had a test, it was usually before Bobby's and so he would meet me after my class to find out what was on the test.  During one of these meetings, he told me that he would be switching to Wentworth the coming fall because they had offered him a football scholarship.
Wentworth's football team had a very successful season that year and were invited to play in a bowl game called the Papoose Bowl. I don't recall exactly where it was played but it was somewhere in Oklahoma.  Their opponent, I think, was Northeastern Oklahoma, a much bigger school than Wentworth.  It was the result of a head injury suffered in that game that Bobby died. Later, I heard that he had been experiencing severe headaches before that game but did not report this to the coach because he was afraid that this would keep him from playing. Bobby was a very likeable guy and was the younger brother of James (Jocko) Price who was a member of my 1943 Lexington High School graduating class and two older sisters, one of whom (Margaret Ann?) was the Miss Missouri contestant in the Miss America contest probably in the late 1930's.
From Walter Schleuter:

Bobby Price received a brain concussion while playing for Wentworth Jr. College in a bowl game in Oklahoma. He died in a local hospital there a week or so later. The opposing team and its fans were deeply saddened. They had many prayer sessions for him and sent hundreds of cards and flowers. He never regained consciousness. The body was returned to Lexington for burial. 
From the remarkable memory of Jim O'Malley:
A few comments about Bobby Price and his family.  I was a freshman during Bobby's senior year in '45-'46, so I didn't get to know him very well.  But I will tell you this:  He was one sharp guy!  He was an honor roll student and good at anything he tried.  Everyone liked him, and he was a wonderful model for an insecure freshman like me.  When Bobby Price smiled at you and said hi, you felt like you'd really made it!  
He had two brothers, Tommy and Jimmy, and a sister, Anna May.  All of them were gifted and talented like Bobby. I didn't know the brothers but I was a friend of Anna May. When I was a freshman in high school she was the Society Editor at the Advertiser-News. I was the clean-up guy at the paper after school (and made $3.00 a week). I had a chance to talk to Anna May often and she was always cheerful, positive, and supportive.   Later, when I went to CMSC in Warrensburg I discovered that, at age 28, she was a student there and majoring in Speech Correction.  I was fortunate to have her assigned to me when I went to the speech clinic for some help with a stuttering problem. What a dear she was!  I saw her for the last time in Marshall, MO shortly before she died of cancer.  It must have been in the '70s.  She had married and moved there some years before.  

Oh yes, I can't close without mentioning the parents of the Price kids.  I remember seeing them once at Ford and Rush Drug Store, and I was touched at how loving they were to each other and to those around them. How could those kids lose with parents like that! I could add a few notes about witnessing Bobby's funeral.The Wentworth Corps of Cadets marched behind the casket to the beat of a slow drum cadence from the funeral service to the cemetery. A very emotional time! He was truly a remarkable person from a remarkable family.      

And, finally, a touching memory from Wally '55 Hulver:
When I was a young boy about 9 or 10 years old, we lived at 17th and Forest Ave. in Lexington. We had a big pear tree in our backyard. Bobby Price would come over with his parents, who were friends of my parents, to pick pears. I remember it was late one evening when Bobby came by to get some pears. Since it was getting dark, I held a flashlight for him. From that day, he always called me "Flashlight." Whenever he would drive by, he would usually stop to talk to me. I would go to Wentworth to watch him play football, and he would always give me a wave and a big smile when he saw me. 

Wentworth was playing in a bowl game against Northeastern Oklahoma in 1947, and Bobby got hit real hard receiving a brain concussion and died about two days later.  I remember it to this day when I heard the sad news of Bobby=92s death. Now when I pick up a flashlight, I think of Bobby Price=97my hero.  He is buried not too far from my parents, and every Memorial Day I always go to his grave to pay my respects to my long lost hero.

Thank you Bobby for being nice to a little guy you called Flashlight---you will always be my hero.

And that pretty much says it all...

Your devoted Scribe,

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