ND FB Player Longevity

Oct 06, 2016

As most of you know, I have been doing research on early (1887-1917) Notre Dame footbll...

I would have finished long ago, except I keep getting on tangents.  One of them has been in finding the dates of birth and death of these players.  Really tough.  Thank goodness for the Mormons!  Ancestry.com has been a big help on this.  Scouring newspapers from all over the country, looking for obits has been painstaking.  

Here are the ten players from this period who lived the longest.  By the way, Pete Palmer is one of the 2-3 greatest baseball statistorians (a word invented by the GREAT Bob Davids).  Pete wrote a program for me to calculate these “age of death” numbers.  Thanks, Pete.

The expected lifespan for American males from this time frame was “late 40’s”.  Among the 350 players for whom I have dates of birth and death, we had excellent longevity.  Eleven lived to be nonagenarians.

1.     Alan Dwan became one of Hollywood’s greatest Directors.  He was born in Canada.  He has a star on the Walk of Fame for his work in the film industry.  He used his ND degree in Electrical Engineering to pioneer some lighting effects.  He directed all the leading stars from 1920 through 1960.

2.     John Voelkers was the son of German Immigrants.  He was also a track star at ND.  He worked for Studebaker.

3.     William Walsh was one of the leading public servants of Yonkers, NY, holding many positions, including Mayor.

4.     Dom Calllicrate specialized in Irrigation Projects, after receiving a Civil Engineering Degree from ND.  His dad was a stone mason who worked on building the Grotto.  Dom was the President of his ND Class.

5.     Chet Grant was the only member of these teams who I actually met.  His final job was working on the Sports & Games Collection at the Notre Dame Library.  He wrote a fine book, Before Rockne at Notre Dame, which parallels my research time period.

6.     James Watkins worked for the WPA, at Michigan State, during WWII.  He was not previously listed in the Notre Dame Football Media Guides.  He subbed at Center in our 1905 game versus American Medical.  Perhaps if we had not won by 142-0, he might not have gotten in the game.

7.     Charles Bachman was an ND All American Guard and Fullback; one of the top discus throwers in the country; a member of the College Football Hall of Fame as a Head Coach at five colleges, including taking Michigan State College (sic) to their first bowl game and defeating Michigan four years in a row; and the father of one of the leading computer design experts.

8.     Frank Fehr ran the family brewery in Louisville which was the largest in the Kentucky and Indiana at one time.  In 1903 he survived the deadliest building fire in history, in Chicago’s Iroquois Theater.  More than 600 died.  Frank was the only player who appeared in all of ND’s games (5), from 1887-1889.  He never left the field.  He was the last survivor of ND’s inaugural team.

9.     John Pick received an ND Law Degree and managed Pick Industries, the family business.

10.  Steve Fleming was an Indiana State Senator and delegate to the National Democratic Conventions in 1908 and 1916.  He ran Fort Wayne’s Holsum Bakery for 18 years.

11.  Norm Barry spent 11 years at ND, attending our Minim Program, Prep Program, and College.  All American.  He put his ND Law Degree to good work, becoming a Cook County Judge for 25 years after three years playing in the NFL and Coaching an NFL team.  George Gipp’s final catch was a TD pass from Barry.  Like Dwan and Bachman, Barry’s career was way too impressive to do adequate justice here.

12.  Mal Elward received an ND Law Degree.  He served in the Navy in WWI and WWII (as a Lieutenant Commander).  He had a 20-year career as a College Head coach at several coaches and Athletic Director (Purdue).

 

Dwan, Jos. Aloysius

4/3/1885

12/28/1981

96

8

25

Voelkers, John

4/9/1893

4/22/1989

96

0

13

Walsh, William

8/18/1871

3/18/1967

95

7

0

Callicrate, Dominic L.

9/17/1885

5/30/1979

93

8

13

Grant, Donald

2/22/1892

7/24/1985

93

5

2

Watkins, James

11/17/1883

5/0/1977?

93

5

0

Bachman, Charles

12/1/1892

12/14/1985

93

0

13

Fehr, Frank

1/22/1870

8/14/1962

92

6

23

Pick, John

8/12/1878

8/13/1970

92

0

1

Fleming, Stephen Bond

11/20/1870

12/6/1961

91

0

16

Barry, Norm

12/25/1897

10/13/1988

90

9

19

Elward, Allen

6/23/1892

12/31/1982

90

6

8

 

 


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