TLC #104: September 27, 2007
Dear Hearts and Gentle
Yes, thanks to you, he
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 About.com 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
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
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
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
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
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
"Bobby Price died at 2 o'clock this
"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
"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
"Lexington was stunned. A pall hung over
the Academy and the town, and the tragedy was written on the faces of people on
"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
"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
"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
(The next paragraphs of the report
are not readable. But it continued with a
"...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
"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
"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."
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
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
From Bob '58
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 minimal...so 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
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
Several people told me the corps marched
to muffled drumbeats from WMA to Machpelah Cemetery.
From Frank & Angela
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
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
Shirley Briggle '54
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)
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
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!"
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.
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
I have asked Jan to send
the photos if she finds some, and we will display them on our TLC
Don Stephenson, Class of
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
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
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
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
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
Your devoted Scribe,
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