Research by Tim Hornbaker
Click here for Boxing Obituaries
April 25, 1871
Patrick O'Sullivan died at Bellevue Hospital in New York City after suffering a ruptured
bladder while wrestling.
December 24, 1880
James E. Owens, a champion wrestler, passed away of bronchial trouble at his home in
January 2, 1894
Wrestler Edward McMahon, a "peerless athlete," passed away. McMahon represented
the Scranton, PA Athletic Club. He reportedly had never been thrown during his time on
In Germany, an American wrestler named Newis was appearing at a sharp shooters'
festival in Saxony when a much lighter man (115 pounds) accepted his challenge. The
latter, Lansendorff, wrestled Newis, but suffered a broken spine in the process, which
killed him. Newis was sentenced to six months in prison at Naumburg for manslaughter,
despite claiming that he had acted in accordance with the rules. This story was reported
by the Atlanta Constitution on October 20, 1904.
February 23, 1911
"Farmer" William J. Baldwin died after suffering a broken neck in a match the day
before at Smith's Armory in Iowa City, Iowa. He was 24 years old.
July 20, 1912
At a Japanese Athletic Club in Los Angeles, wrestler Yositara Matsui died after breaking
a blood vessel near his heart. Matsui had engaged in several hard matches before
suffering the fatal injury.
Late December 1912
In New Orleans, the brother of world wrestling champion Frank Gotch died after suffering
a broken neck after falling out of a bathtub. Adolph H. Gotch died at a rooming house
on Dauphine Street. The Gettysburg Times (Gettysburg, PA, December 31, 1912)
included an article on this "strange accident."
April 17, 1919
Richard Paiser of Chicago died after suffering a broken neck in a wrestling match in
Richmond, Virginia. His opponent had been Young Caesar.
September 8, 1919
Duncan C. Ross, a well known ex-wrestler and holder of th Victoria cross for valor
awarded by the British Army, died.
October 19, 1921
George Kennedy, a promoter and wrestler, died in Montreal. He reportedly wrestled
under the name "George Kennal."
January 8, 1924
The Greenville (TX) Messenger reported (1/11/24) that Charlie Hackensmidt (that's the
way it was spelled) was a "man of remarkable physical strength and is said to have
formerly been a leading wrestler of the country." Hackensmidt was shot and killed by D.E.
Johnson early Tuesday morning. Hackensmidt and his killer were actually business
Shortly before November 28, 1924
In Pau, France, Raymond Caseaux died. He was reportedly the European wrestling
champion from 1909 to 1913.
October 19, 1925
At one time known as the Police World Wrestling Champion, John J. Rooney of Chicago,
died in New York City. His brother Thomas Rooney of Madelia, MN, notified the press,
and notice was printed in the Bismarck Tribune on Friday, October 23, 1925.
June 8, 1926
Father of wrestler Raymond Carpenter, William H. Carpenter died in Lancaster, Ohio at
the age of 61. Carpenter was a well known carpenter in the area. Raymond was also
from Lancaster and lived on Garfield Avenue.
April 20, 1929
Called the "Dean of American sports writers," Sandy Griswold passed away at 80 in
Omaha. His real name was Samuel Gerard Vietz Griswold and he was born near Marion,
Ohio on February 16, 1849. He wrote for numerous papers in the east, and covered all
the major boxing and wrestling events, including the 72 round fight between Sullivan and
Kilrain. Griswold later worked for the Omaha World Herald, covering the careers of Joe
Stecher, Frank Gotch, and many of the legendary wrestlers of the early 1900s. He wed
Sarah Corburn in 1890 and was survived by both his wife and two sons, one being Gerard
Coburn Griswold of Omaha.
August 4, 1929
Sports editor for the Denver Post, Otto Floto died at a Denver hospital. Floto's columns
appeared in newspapers across the United States, and he was well known in wrestling
circles. He was founder of the Sells-Floto circus. He was survived by his widow, Kitty
Ruger. Floto was the second major sportswriter to die in 1929 after Sandy Griswold in
January 9, 1931
Former world wrestling champion Wayne Munn passed away in San Antonio of Bright's
disease. He was 35.
September 16, 1933
Referee and promoter Louis F. Magnolia died at 54 years of age in Rockaway Beach,
March 14, 1934
Wrestler Jack Hurley fell from his fourth floor room at the Hotel Lenox in New York City
June 26, 1934
At one time known as one of the most feared shooters in the industry, Charley Hanson
died in Seattle of drowning in Lake Washington. His body wasn't recovered.
August 8, 1934
Jim Atlas (James McGee), who at one time claimed the World Heavyweight wrestling
championship, and trained Bob Fitzsimmons for his 1897 fight with Jim Corbett, died at
New Haven, Connecticut.
September 29, 1934
While driving from Peoria to Joliet, Young Hackenschmidt (Dick Raines) and his wife
were killed in a car accident. Wrestlers George Mack and Jack J. Smith were injured.
February 8, 1935
Wrestling promoter for several decades, John "Doc" Krone passed away at the age of
65 in Chicago, Illinois.
July 17, 1935
Women's wrestler Angelina Fehlhaber Aguayo died at an El Paso Hospital at the age of
28. Her husband was Frank Aguayo, who was in Mexico City at the time of her passing.
They lived at 1221 Myrtle Avenue. Aguayo wrestled in Juarez and at the Liberty Hall in El
March 25, 1936
Franklin H. Elmore, sports editor of the Toronto Mail and Empire for 35 years, passed
away in Toronto at 81 years of age. He once planed pro baseball.
May 1, 1936
A national amateur wrestling champion in 1884, George S. Miehling passed away at
thage of 74 in San Francisco. He was the wrestling instructor at the Olympic Club in San
Francisco for 26 years and likely had a major impact on many future professionals.
Miehling died from an infection after surgery on his knee.
June 26, 1936
Walter T. Speer, father of Frank Speer, a pro wrestler, died in Atlanta at 58.
August 26, 1936
Dave Barry, well-known boxing referee, passed away in Chicago. Barry became
internationally known for his "long count" during the Jack Dempsey-Gene Tunney boxing
bout in 1927.
September 13, 1936
Partner of Philadelphia boxing promoter Herman Taylor, Robert H. "Bobby" Gunnis
died at 50.
May 14, 1937
At Corinth, Mississippi, Eddie Baker died at the end of a match against Roy Welch.
Baker was 36 and reportedly from the Indianapolis area.
July 12, 1937
Arguably the most well known and successful promoter of professional wrestling, Jack
Curley died at his home in Great Neck, Long Island, New York. He was survived by his
wife, a son and daughter. Burial took place at Nassau Knolls in Port Washington and 500
were in attendance.
July 17, 1937
Wrestler and promoter, Dan Morris passed away in Sandusky, Ohio at 30 years old. He
was born in Columbus.
November 7, 1938
A former amateur middleweight wrestling champion of the world, Peter Schumacher died
in Cleveland, Ohio. He was 80.
The famous greyhound of John Pesek, Gangster, passed away suddenly. Valued at
upwards of $10,000 by Pesek, Gangster had won many big stakes races. Pesek
reportedly once turned down $37,000 for the dog. When the dog died, Pesek was away
on a wrestling engagement, but his family held a special funeral for the dog, attended by
Pesek's friend, Columbus promoter Al Haft.
June 10, 1938
Wrestler Frank Speer died at the age of 32 in Atlanta of pneumonia. Speer was a former
Georgia Tech football player. Despite being sick, Speer went on with a wrestling match
against Dorv Roche, and his sickness worsened.
February 17, 1939
Iben Seleem (Charles Holloway), a 27 year old wrestler, died after an automobile
accident near Hot Springs, New Mexico.
March 12, 1939
William Miller died at his home in Baltimore. Miller was 92. He came to the U.S. in 1903
and for many years was the manager of the San Francisco Athletic Club. Miller also
claimed the Graeco-Roman wrestling championship of the world.
August 15, 1939
Abraham Cohen, father of Pasadena wrestling promoter Morris Cohen, passed away at
the age of 72.
May 27, 1940
Wrestler John B. "Jack" Donovan of Boston died in a car accident in Ontario,
California. He was 30.
Late November 1940
Mother of Los Angeles promoter Cal Eaton, Alzoa E. Eaton, died. She was buried at
Forest Lawn Cemetery on December 3.
December 20, 1940
One time claimant to the World Light Heavyweight championship, Pete Loch died in
Omaha. According to his AP obituary, Loch "trained such wrestlers as Jim Londos, Martin
Plestina, and Charlie Peters." He was 61.
April 6, 1941
67 year old Theodeore Peter died at his home in St. Paul, Minnesota. Peter was once
light heavyweight champion of the world.
April 8, 1941
A former wrestler and circus strongman, Hjalmar Lundin died at the age of 70 in
Queens, New York. Lundin was born in Sweden and met John Ringling in 1894 at
Pullman, IL. Ringling signed Lundin to work as part of his circus. He was survived by his
widow and daughter, Hildegarde Osterberg.
December 2, 1941
Longtime Milwaukee sports promoter Tom Andrews died at 72 years of age. His full
name was Thomas Stora Andrews.
February 22, 1942
Sol Slagel, a professional wrestler known as the "Rubber Man," died in a car accident
near Dallas. He was 34.
January 25, 1943
Tom McMahon of Detroit, who claimed the American Middleweight wrestling
championship in 1887, died. He was also a trainer and baseball coach, oarsman, and in
recent years, in charge of a local Detroit golf club. He was 80 years old.
April 16, 1943
Longtime Gary, Indiana YMCA wrestling coach, George Pinneo died at the age of 67 in
Sheldon, Illinois. Pinneo managed the 1920 U.S. Olympic squad and taught future pro
George Tragos. Pinneo was also a former AAU champion.
August 3, 1943
The brother of Alvah M. "Cal" Eaton, Dr. Calvin A. Eaton passed away in Yuma, Arizona
of a heart ailment. Eaton owned a hospital in Yuma and reportedly suffered the condition
after being kicked in the leg by a wounded soldier he was treating.
January 30, 1944
John Joseph "Jack" Doyle, the renown boxing promoter at the Olympic Auditorium in
Los Angeles from 1927 to 1933, died at Santa Monica Hospital. He was 66. Doyle had
reportedly promoted since 1914 and staged the Walker-Hudkins fight "which grossed
$150,000." Doyle also managed fighter Ad Wolgast. He was born on December 26, 1877.
This Doyle had no relation to wrestling promoter Johnny Doyle. Jack Doyle's brother was
Tom Doyle, a California State Assemblyman. In 1954, Tom Doyle was interested in
opening an investigation into boxing and wrestling in California, spurred on by talk of a
September 14, 1944
Bobby Managoff Sr. died at the age of 62 in Chicago.
December 12, 1944
Samuel L. Murbarger, a claimant to the world welterweight title early in the century and
prominent member of both the National Wrestling Association and the Indiana State
Athletic Commission, died at the age of 69.
March 3, 1945
A United Service Organization (USO) outfit was killed in a plane crash in France. Among
the group were several wrestlers led by Benny Reuben of Chicago. Among the others
were Harold "Al" Sabath (29), George Mack (Matkovich), Gaius "Gay" Young,
Lester "Kid" Chapman, and George "Jack" Ross. Al Williams was initially reported as
being killed, but he didn't make the trip. Pete Schuh was also considering the journey, but
"decided against it," according to a Chicago Daily Tribune report on March 14, 1945.
Sabath was survived by his widow Adelaide and son Jay. Mack had recently worked with
Reuben in promoting wrestling shows at Cicero Stadium. Young was from Minneapolis
and played football at St. Cloud Teachers College. Chapman was from Texas. Ross was
36 years of age and lived at 6008 Morgan Street in Chicago. He was buired at Fairmont
Cemetery. Ross was a former Florida State Heavyweight wrestling champion. He was
survived by two brothers, Arthur and William, and a sister, Sally Suarez.
May 10, 1945
Wrestling and boxing promoter Sam Price died in Boston, Massachusetts. The 53 year
old had been associated with Paul Bowser.
July 24, 1945
The mother of Benny Reuben, who was killed in a USO accident in France in March, died.
Mary Reuben was 76 years old.
July 31, 1946
Longtime San Francisco wrestling and boxing promoter Frank Schuler passed away at
the age of 68.
February 6, 1947
Dave S. Ferris, wrestler and referee, died in Clarkston, Idaho. He was 40. Ferris had
lived in Walla Walla and was originally from Syria.
June 8, 1947
Former American Heavyweight champion Henry G. Ordemann passed away at the age
of 63 in Minneapolis.
December 27, 1947
In Rochester, New York, Jules Bauman died. Bauman was a former wrestling promoter
and brother of Billy Sandow. He was 65.
Well known wrestling booker and promoter, Floyd A. Musgrave passed away at the age
of 47. Musgrave managed Primo Carnera's wrestling career for a time. He was survived
by his wife Lynn and daughter Betty Leigh Nolan of San Bernardino.
August 18, 1948
Wrestler Don Carver died after being hit by a street car in Barcelona, Spain. His leg was
amputated following the accident, and Carver later died. The Reuters report called him
an "American wrestler."
September 25, 1948
Wrestler Joe Lynam died in a plane crash en route to Redmond from Boise. He had
been scheduled to wrestle in Eugene, Oregon Saturday night. Lynam, the pilot,
reportedly crashed 20 miles east of Bend, Oregon at 3:07 p.m. Bad weather was
blamed. He was survived by his wife and daughter.
Early August 1949
Wrestling referee John M. Holda, 42, died in Oak Park Hospital, Oak Park, Illinois. He
was survived by his widow Julia and son Henry.
January 24, 1950
Wrestler and actor Bull Montana died at 64 years of age, in Los Angeles. Montana was
born Luigi Montagna in Vogliera, Italy and, according to his AP obituary, had 5,000
December 12, 1950
In Okauchee, Wisconsin, former wrestler Reinhold "Reinie" Schott passed away at the
age of 85. Years earlier, Schott wrestled out of Watertown and Madison, and grappled
with the likes of "Strangler" Lewis and Fred Beell.
May 22, 1951
Longtime influential writer for the Lincoln Star newspaper, Charles Sumner "Cy"
Sherman died at the age of 80 in Lincoln. Sherman reportedly was responsible for
naming Nebraska athletic teams, "Cornhuskers." He was also credited with helping
establish the Associated Press national football poll. Sherman covered many professional
wrestling events during his career.
November 17, 1951
Popular wrestler Rufus Jones died in an automobile accident near Provo, Utah.
March 11, 1952
Near Baker's Bend, Missouri, William L. Knox died at the age of 55. Knox was a
wrestling champion of the 89th Division during World War I, and later became a
professional, claiming the lightweight championship of the Midwest.
May 24, 1952
Don William McDonald was one of the most well known wrestling referees on the west
coast in the 1920s and '30s. McDonald died at the age of 57 in Long Beach. During the
1910s, he was an amateur wrestling champion, and served during World War I with the
816th Aero Squadron. The Los Angeles Times (5/25/52) stated that it was estimated that
he refereed "10,000 matches from coast to coast." McDonald was also a policeman in
Long Beach during the 1920s. He was born in Obion, Tennessee.
October 14, 1952
Wrestler Don Sugai was killed in a car accident west of Boise, Idaho. He was 39. Sugai
had wrestled in Boise and was returning home to Ontario, Oregon.
January 23, 1953
Longtime physician for the California Athletic Commission, Dr. Lloyd R. Mace passed
away at the age of 71 at his home in Los Angeles. Mace was a regular at the Olympic
Auditorium and the Los Angeles Times (1/26/53) stated that Mace "probably witnessed
more fights here than any other one man with the possible exception of announcer Dan
April 17, 1953
Boxing legend Tom Sharkey died at 79 years of age in San Francisco. He passed away
from a heart ailment, in his sleep.
December 2, 1953
Reginald L. "Snowy" Baker passed away in Los Angeles at the age of 69. Baker was
"one of Australia's greatest all-around athletics," according to the Associated Press. He
represented that country in the 1908 Olympics and taught movie stars polo "in recent
December 5, 1953
Recognized as the Southern Middleweight champion for more than five years, Jack Ross
died at the age of 62 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Ross was originally from Greece.
July 13, 1954
Frank Bronowicz, a well known wrestler in the northeast during the 1930s, died in the
Alps Manor Nursing Home in Paterson, New Jersey. He was 58. He was survived by his
wife, Jenny Dziubinski and a brother, Peter Bronowicz.
December 8, 1954
Shortly after a wrestling match in Vancouver, British Columbia, wrestler Gus Johnstone
died in his dressing room. Johnstone, of Laconner, Washington, was 50 years old.
January 30, 1955
In Tucson, Arizona, wrestler Dennis Clary passed away from a brain tumor at the age of
31. His real name was Vincent Lizdenis and he was from Los Angeles. Clary collapsed
during a match at the Tucson Sports Center against Ali Bey, and was then taken to a
September 16, 1955
Former President of the National Boxing Association, General John V. Clinnin passed
away in Chicago at 79 years of age. Clinnin was a civic leader and attorney in the "Windy
City," and served during World War I. He also was the chairman of the Illinois State
Athletic Commission for four years.
October 3, 1955
Longtime Springfield, Illinois promoter Harry Newman died of a heart attack. Fred Kohler
and Sam Muchnick attended his funeral.
October 12, 1955
On Wednesday night at Jersey City Medical Center, Bernarr Macfadden passed away
at the age of 87. A report claimed that Macfadden once amassed a fortune worth $30
million as a physical culture publisher and newspaper magnate. He refrained from
smoking, stayed away from doctors, refused medicines, and didn't drink. At the time of his
death, after several divorces, his estate was worth less than $5,000.
January 11, 1956
Sports publicist Arthur John "Jack" Ripple died in Chicago at the age of 64. In recent
years, Ripple worked as a publicity man at the Rainbo Arena in Chicago.
March 9, 1956
Ring announcer Dan Tobey died at 78 years old in Los Angeles. He had been a ring
announcer for boxing and wrestling "for more than 50 years," according to the Los
Angeles Times (3/10/56). He announced matches at Vernon Arena, Olympic Auditorium,
Naud Junction, Hollywood Legion Stadium, and even at the Palais de Glace in Paris.
Tobey was born in Ulysses, Nebraska. Frank Hoffman of the Los Angeles Times
(1/16/53) called Tobey "Mr. Tonsils of the sports world." He was succeeded as the voice
of Los Angeles by Jimmy Lennon.
May 28, 1956
Adam Krieger died at the age of 61 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Krieger was a world
welterweight championship claimant in the early 1920s and later worked as a promoter.
He was survived by his wife Elizabeth and five children.
July 17, 1956
"The Cat" Jack McLachlan died at the age of 53 at his home in Richmond, British
Columbia, near Vancouver.
August 22, 1956
A publicity man at Madison Square Garden, George Sullivan passed away at the age of
38 in New York City. Sullivan had worked with MSG executive vice president Ned Irish
since 1939, and did publicity for various sports at the Garden.
October 17, 1957
Molly Dellvuk died in Wichita, Kansas at 73. She reportedly claimed the women's world
championship at one point.
November 2, 1957
Hans Furst, a former wrestler and promoter in the Syracuse area, died aboard the
Liberte returning to the United States from France. He was buried in Buffalo.
November 4, 1957
Longtime newspaper writer and publicist Tige Clinton died on Monday, November 4,
1957 at Long Beach Veterans Hospital at the age of 62. Clinton, who promoted at Santa
Ana, worked for the San Pedro newspaper. His real name was Clinton A. Rechtwig.
January 7, 1958
James Heywood Allen, longtime Louisville promoter, died at his home in Madison,
Indiana at the age of 76. His son, Heywood Allen Jr. died in a boat accident in 1949. He
was survived by his wife Mabel.
January 18, 1958
Wrestler Gordon McKinley fell to the mat during a match with Lenny Montana in
Youngstown, Ohio at the Armory, and was taken to an area hospital, where he was
pronounced dead. McKinley was 36. Fans, who thought McKinley was acting, booed him
unmercifully. McKinley stood 6'5" and weighed around 270 pounds.
April 25, 1958
Former wrestler and football star, Herman Hickman died in Washington, D.C. He was
46. He was born on October 1, 1911 in Johnson City, Tennessee and attended the
University of Tennessee, where he gained great fame on the football field. Hickman later
coached football at Yale.
July 11, 1958
Legendary Los Angeles promoter Lou Daro died at the age of 71 in Santa Monica.
December 28, 1959
Four days after suffering head injuries after a fall from a construction scaffolding at the
Fairfax Hospital, John Osoling died. He was 73 years old. Osoling was from Germany
and performed as a circus strong man and wrestler. He grappled under the name, "John
Heracle." He was buried at Everett, Pennsylvania. He was survived by his son John
Patrick Osoling and stepdaughter, Shirley Virginia Jones.
Around January 28, 1960
In Berlin, former wrestling champion Hans Schwarz died at 77. According to the UPI
story, Schwarz "had won five world professional titles in the 1920s."
December 3, 1960
In Port Alleghany, PA, William C. Gardner, billed as a "one-time world's light heavyweight
wrestling champion," died at 60 years of age.
Following a match at Sunnyside Gardens in New York City, Chick Garibaldi died at the
age of 47.
March 20, 1962
Leon Balkin, for 21 years the promoter of wrestling in Evansville, Indiana, passed away
at Baptist Hospital at the age of 63. He was survived by his wife Henie, son Sidney, and
May 1, 1962
Well known wrestling announcer Bailey Goss died in a car accident in Baltimore after
attending a special dinner given by the Baltimore Colts. He was 49.
January 20, 1963
81 year old former middleweight title claimant, Gus Pappas died in Los Angeles. His real
name was Constantinos Pappaniou, and he was born in Greece. Pappas reportedly won
the title from "Lonney Ajax" in Chicago in 1916 and lost it to Ira Dern in 1922. He was
survived by his wife Edna.
February 1, 1963
Father of Los Angeles boxing and wrestling promoter Cal Eaton, Edwin Eaton, died at
the age of 90 in Los Angeles. He had been a real estate broker.
February 6, 1963
A well known wrestler throughout the Central States, Peter Joseph Fromm died in
Omaha at the age of 72. Fromm was the son of Joseph and Catherine Fromm, born on
February 1, 1891. He lived in Harlan, Iowa, where he worked as a farmer. On June 23,
1915, he wed Philomena Gorsche and had seven children.
May 10, 1963
Gene "Big Daddy" Lipscomb, football star, died in Baltimore. He was 31 years of age.
Lipscomb gained great fame for the Baltimore Colts and also wrestled part time.
Lipscomb stood 6'6" and weighed 290 pounds, and was on the Pittsburgh Steelers squad
when he passed.
September 18, 1963
A man named "Nicholas P. Elich" passed away in San Bernardino County, California.
Elich was born on August 16, 1909 in Colorado. Can anyone confirm whether this
Nicholas Elich is the same Nick Elich (or Elitch) that was a professional wrestler? Any help
would be appreciated.
March 7, 1964
Wrestler Louis Papineau died after a wrestling match with Gino Brito in Detroit. He was
36. Papineau had been a wrestler for about 10 years and was from Windsor, Ontario.
Early indications was that Papineau suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, according to the UPI
report. Papineau had been in a car accident a month earlier, and complained of neck
October 22, 1964
During the early morning hours, Tom Packs died after suffering a heart attack. Packs
can be credited with making St. Louis the capital of professional wrestling. He retired from
the business in 1948. He was survived by his wife Thelma and a daughter, Mrs. Penny
November 17, 1964
Frank D. Crowley, the initial matchmaker at the Hollywood Legion Stadium, died at the
age of 72 at his home in Los Angeles. Prior to his death, Crowley was the treasurer of the
California Boxers' and Wrestlers' Fund. He was survived by his widow, Claire, son Frank,
and a sister.
April 15, 1965
In Asheville, North Carolina, Osley Bird Saunooke passed away at 58 from
complications of diabetes. Saunooke stood 6'6" and weighed more than 350 pounds. An
Associated Press article after his death claimed that Saunooke "claimed the world's
heavyweight wrestling title for 14 years." He had gone from driving a taxi to wrestling in
Chicago, competing on the mat for 21 years from 1937 to 1951. He reportedly won the
title from Thor Johnson at Boston Garden in 1937. The AP article claimed he'd had 5,217
matches. Saunooke graduated from Haskell Indian Institute and served in the Marines.
Dan Barnhart, a former wrestler and football star, died in Los Angeles. He was the
coach of the Los Angeles Bulldogs football squad. Barnhart was 51.
September 1, 1965
James M. "Bingo" Brown died in Ann Arbor, Michigan at St. Joseph Hospital. He was
73. Brown, between 1928 and 1936, was the Michigan State Boxing Commissioner, and
was the National Boxing Association President from 1932 to 1933. He was survived by his
wife and daughter, Mrs. Mary Ellis Kimbrough of Houston.
September 24, 1965
In Los Angeles, Abe "King Kong" Kashey died. He was survived by his wife Margaret,
sons Alfred and Robert, and daughter Deloris.
March 17, 1966
Don Eagle was found dead of a gunshot wound at the Caughnawaga Indian Reserver
near Montreal. The Associated Press reported his real name to be "Stanislas
Suplatowicz." He was 41.
October 13, 1966
A legendary grappler, Sandor Szabo passed away in Santa Monica at 60. Szabo was a
heavyweight championship claimant in a number of territories, and held the National
Wrestling Association World Title in the 1940s. He went into semi-retirement around 1960
and became a referee. He was also associated with the Los Angeles wrestling office
along with Jules Strongbow. He was survived by his widow, Lillian, and two daughters.
December 8, 1966
Sports editor at the San Francisco Examiner for 35 years, Curley Grieve passed away in
San Francisco at 64 years of age.
March 28, 1967
Longtime wrestler and promoter, Clete Kauffman died at 66 years old. Kaufmann
promoted wrestling in Mansfield during the 1950s prior to moving to California. He was
survived by his wife Margery and two daughters.
June 13, 1967
Carl Sonnenberg, brother of the former World Champion wrestler Gus, died in Iron
Mountain, Michiagn at the age of 60. He was a retired Two Rivers appliance dealer. He
was survived by his wife Ellen Endrus, and several brothers.
Olympic wrestling champion in 1920 and well known actor, Nat Pendleton died at the age
of 72. His real name was Nathaniel Greene Pendleton and was born in Davenport, Iowa.
He appeared in 94 movies during his acting career. He was survived by his widow,
Barbara Evelyn, and two brothers.
January 9, 1969
Dallas promoter Ed McLemore passed away after a long illness. McLemore had
promoted Dallas wrestling for 30 years. He was survived by his wife Rose and three
January 12, 1969
Wrestler Jim Hady passed away in Honolulu a short time after wrestling at the Schofield
Barracks. Hady was from Detroit.
July 2, 1969
One of the best wrestlers on the circuit, Mike DiBiase died in Lubbock, Texas after
collapsing during a match against Gary Fletcher at the Fair Park Coliseum. DiBiase
passed away en route to a local hospital, according to the Associated Press report. He
August 13, 1969
Mary Graham, mother of wrestler Dr. Jerry Graham, died in Phoenix at the age of 70.
The Associated Press reported that Graham, "distraught over the death of his mother,
was arrested Wednesday as he ran from a Phoenix hospital with her body over his
shoulder." Graham was said to have struck a nurse and fired a gun at a doctor during the
August 25, 1969
Walter Boop, a former professional wrestler, died at his home in Wapakoneta, Ohio. He
was 77. Boop was born on February 5, 1892 in Allen County, the son of Andrew and
Margaret Carmean Boop. He was buried in Fletcher Cemetery.
November 25, 1970
Father of Lou Thesz, Martin Thesz died in St. Louis. He was buried at Sunset Burial
February 25, 1971
Stacy Hall, former wrestler turned Franklin County Sheriff (Ohio), died in South Miami,
Florida at 62. He joined the Columbus Police Department in 1941 and in 1957, he was
named to the Sheriff's position, and was elected to successive terms. He was survived by
his widow and three sons.
February 25, 1972
Ivan Vakturoff, known as "Ivan the Terrible" died in New York at the age of 72. Vaktuoff,
according to the Associated Press report, died with only one friend, Marty Alma, who was
his lone mourner at his funeral.
September 15, 1972
Billy Sandow, the pilot behind the success of Ed "Strangler" Lewis, and a master
promoter, passed away at a nursing home in Portland at the age of 88. He was survived
by his wife, Violet, and son William Sandow Jr.
October 23, 1977
Ernest "Red" Andrews died at his home in Las Vegas at the age of 77. Andrews was a
well known Oklahoma sportsman and for many years worked as a referee. Andrews was
also an Oklahoma State Representative beginning in 1952. If you review older Tulsa
results, you'll often see Andrews' name, not only officiating important matches, but often in
the mix fighting with the grapplers.
January 3, 1980
In Estherville, Iowa, Oscar Nelson passed away at the age of 90. He was a wrestler
during the 1920s and later operated a garage in Syracuse, NY.
December 18, 1980
Longtime Ocean Park Arena sports promoter, Mike J. Hirsch died in Los Angeles
County at the age of 74. He was survived by his widow Norma and children Ralph, Arthur
and Trudy. He was buried at Mount Sinai Memorial Park.
February 5, 1981
Former wrestler Chris Belkas (Christos N. Belkas) passed away in Lynn,
Massachusetts. Belkas was born in Lowell and attended Classical High School and later
Springfield College. He was a World War II veteran. He was survived by a brother, Ted
Belkas and a sister, Ann Linardakis.
April 6, 1981
Boston-based ring announcer Harry "Whitey" Kaunfer passed away. He was born in
Russia on November 10, 1899.
December 13, 1981
George T. Linnehan died in West Barnstable, Massachusetts at the age of 73. The
former wrestler was born in Wayland, MA. He was survived by his son, Joseph R.
Linnehan and was buried in Highland Cemetery in Norwood.
October 27, 1984
Tony Santos (Anthony G. Sannizzaro) died at Brockton Hospital at the age of 62. Santos
was a longtime talented promoter in the Boston area. He was survived by his wife,
Audrey, and four sons.
May 24, 1985
Thomas "Tom" Casey, brother of Steve "Crusher" Casey and a professional wrestler in
his own right, died in Cambridge, MA. He was 70. The Casey Family were from Kerry
County, Ireland. Tom Casey began wrestling around 1934 in Ireland and England and
retired when he was 50. The Caseys were a family of rowing champions, as well as being
great pro wrestlers.
Early February 1986
The Mongol (Simeon "Sam" Ardelean) passed away in Munster, Indiana. Ardelean
was also a well known football player for three northwestern Indian squads. He was also
an agent for the U.S. Bureau of Customs. He stood 5'10" and weighed 235 pounds. He
reportedly wrestled often on WGN in Chicago on Saturday nights during the 1950s. He
shaved his head and grew a Fu Manchu mustache to look the part of the "Mongol." The
promoter billed him from Mongolia. His mother was partially of Mongolian descent. He
was survived by his wife Virginia and a sister Maria Fawcett.
Former Tennessee wrestling promoter and matchmaker, John Cazana died. He was
survived by his widow Katie.
November 5, 1986
Kenneth V. "Ken" Ackles died at the age of 70. Ackles was also an actor of some
repute, acting on Broadway and in television and movies. He appeared in "Rachel,
Rachel" as Joanne Woodward's father.
January 10, 1987
"Crusher" Steve Casey, former world heavyweight wrestling champion, died at 78 years
of age in Brockton, MA.
April 27, 1987
Former wrestler Jim Austeri (Vincent Austeri) died at 72 years of age in Charlotte, NC.
He came to the United States from Cosenza, Italy in 1928, when he was 14, and began as
an amateur wrestler in New Jersey. According to his obituary, Austeri originally wanted to
be a boxer, but due to an accident to his right index finger, he became a wrestler.
August 23, 1987
Malcolm Kirk, known as "King Kong Kirk," passed away on Sunday of a heart attack
following a tag team match also involving "Big Daddy" Shirley Crabtree in Great Yarmouth,
England at the Hippodrome Arena, northwest of London. Kirk weighed in the 350 pound
range and was 51 years of age.
April 22, 1988
Charles Melvin "Mel" Price, a 22-term United States Congressman from East St. Louis,
and longtime friend of St. Louis promoter Sam Muchnick, died in Camp Springs, Maryland.
January 2, 1989
Alexander D. Peckham passed away in Oakhurst, California. He was 83. In 1976,
Peckham traveled from California to Massachusetts on his custom made bicycle,
accomplishing the feat in 47 days. In the mid-1930s, according to several articles in the
Boston Globe, Peckham was a professional wrestler. The May 23, 1976 Globe included a
quote by Peckham admitting that "I wasn't very good" in wrestling, although he did appear
at the Boston Arena. His obituary (1/21/1989, Boston Globe) stated that in 1934, he lost
a bout to "Olympic Champion" Ed Don George in Yankee Stadium. Evidence to support
such a claim would be needed. Peckham previously lived in Braintree, Weymouth and
February 18, 1989
Legendary women's wrestler and pioneer Mildred Burke died in Los Angeles at 73.
February 19, 1989
John Robert Shaw died in Dallas at the age of 65. Shaw wrestled as "Ivan the Terrible,"
among other names, during his career. He began boxing and wrestling in carnivals while
a member of the Dallas police force. He also wrestled bears.
April 28, 1990
Known as the "Flying Dutchman," O.L. "Dutch" Tennant died in Whitehouse, Texas at
82. Tennant was a wrestler from around 1925 to 1935, according to his obituary in the
Detroit Free Press (4/30/90).
July 9, 1990
Chief Little Eagle (Richard Bryant) was shot to death in his home in Irving, Texas. He
was 55 years old.
December 9, 1990
Longtime wrestler and movie star, Mike Mazurki passed away in Glendale, California.
April 17, 1991
Longtime Washington, D.C. sports publicist Joe Holman died at the age of 88 in
Manassas. He was survived by his wife of 44 years, Marie. Holman was born on January
20, 1903. He would often join Vincent McMahon and "Toots" Mondt in the offices of the
Capitol Wrestling Corporation at the Franklin Park Hotel.
June 30, 1991
Martin "Duke" Tanaka, a former wrestler and promoter in the Tampa area, died at the
age of 70 in Las Vegas. Tanaka was originally from French Camp, California, and lived in
Tampa for 25 years before retiring to Las Vegas. He was survived by his wife Dorothy,
four sons, and one daughter.
October 31, 1991
One half of the Minnesota Wrecking Crew with Ole Anderson, Eugene Avon "Gene"
Anderson passed away in Huntersville, NC. He was 52. Anderson was originally from St.
Paul, Minnesota, and attended South St. Paul High School and later North Dakota State
November 12, 1991
Joseph Charles Allen, a former professional wrestler, died in Salt Lake City at 84 years
January 15, 1992
Former wrestling promoter and wrestler, Michael Joseph Lonergan Jr. died in St.
Petersburg, Florida. He was originally from Albany, New York, and promoted and wrestled
in Michigan. He owned the Kitchen Korner Restaurant in St. Petersburg.
February 19, 1992
Tojo Yamamoto passed away in Nashville, TN. He was 51. Another report stated that he
was 64, and his real name was Harold Wantanabe, according to the Lexington
Herald-Leader on February 22, 1992.
April 20, 1992
Legendary announcer Jimmy Lennon passed away in Los Angeles. He was 79 years of
age. Lennon was known for being the ring announcer for wrestling and boxing matches
throughout Southern California, and later all across the world, dating back to the 1940s.
July 23, 1992
Sports editors from coast-to-coast were tricked to believe that the George Arena who
passed away in Boca Raton was the famous "Gorgeous George." Arena did, in fact,
wrestle as "Gorgeous George" until a lawsuit by the original "Gorgeous George" Wagner
settled the confusion in the late 1940s, but should not be confused with the legendary
Wagner. Arena also wrestled as "Baron Arena." He was 84 years of age. Notably, many
newspapers had to write corrections in the days following their original error, explaining
that Wagner died in 1963.
September 15, 1992
Patrick Francis Sullivan, a 35 year old pro wrestler died in Chelsea, MA. in 1977,
according to his obituary in the Boston Globe (9/17/92), Sullivan saved three people from
a burning building in Charlestown.
October 1, 1992
A "wrestling matchmaker for the Eastern Regional Tour for 30 years," Melvin A.
McGinnis Jr. died at the age of 61 in Norfolk, Virginia. His obituary in the Virginian-Pilot
(10/2/92) stated that he was survived by his wife, three sons, and a daughter. McGinnis
was the owner of Mel Auto Supply, Inc. for 20 years.
July 28, 1993
Rea "Ray" McConnell, a wrestler in the 1920s and '30s, passed away in Winfield,
Kansas at 97 years of age. McConnell worked in carnivals through the West, according
to his obituary in the Wichita Eagle (7/30/93), and took on all comers. He was also a
trainer for many young wrestlers. He was known as the "Kansas Bulldog."
August 15, 1994
Former wrestler John J. Bonica passed away in Seattle at 77 years of age. Bonica was
also an anesthesiologist and wrote "The Management of Pain" in 1953.
January 7, 1995
In Whitman, Massachusetts, Pete Drosos passed away at 58. Drosos was a professional
wrestler in the early 1960s under the name "Pete, the Golden Greek," according to his
obituary in the January 9, 1995 edition of the Boston Globe.
October 25, 1995
A wrestler known as The "Golden Knight," Colin H. Oborsky died at 30 in Everett, MA.
Oborsky wrestled in Florida, Virginia Beach, and in Las Vegas, and also used the name
"Eagle Man." According to his obituary in the October 29, 1995 issue of the Boston
Globe, Oborsky worked out with Toru Tanaka and Hulk Hogan. He was originally from
February 28, 1997
Frank Marconi (Frank J. Julian) died at 79 years of age in Salt Lake City, Utah. He
married Leona Knuth on January 24, 1949 in Great Falls, Montana. Marconi was born on
April 5, 1917 in Salem, Ohio, son of Louis and Mary Anne Vender Julian.
June 3, 1997
Wrestling television commentating legend Dennis James died in Palm Springs, California
at the age of 79. James was originally from Jersey City, NJ and worked for the DuMont
Network as early as 1938. He'd later feature the commentary during the DuMont's highly
popular wrestling programs.
Early July 1998
A former wrestler, Gregory Jarque passed away in Westhampton, New York. He was
75. He was originally from Barcelona, Spain, where he was a bicycle champion. He
began wrestling in Europe during the late 1940s, and came to New York in 1949. His
death was reported in the July 5, 1998 edition of the Sun-Sentinel newspaper.
July 10, 1998
Former World Heavyweight Title claimant Walter Palmer died in Tucson, Arizona at the
age of 77. Palmer was born in Austria and came to the United States and Chicago when
he was a year old. He began to wrestle at Crane High School. During the late 1930s and
'40s, Palmer was a top light heavyweight wrestler, and then one of the leading
heavyweights for Chicago promoter Fred Kohler.
August 6, 1998
Legendary broadcaster Jack Brickhouse passed away in Chicago at 82 years of age.
Brickhouse announced the Chicago Cubs from 1941 to 1981. He also broadcast
professional wrestling, Chicago White Sox games, Chicago Bears games, and even
during the early years of the Chicago Bulls.
December 14, 1999
In Miramar, Florida, Angelo Abbate passed away at the age of 85 of leukemia. Abbate
was originally from Hoboken, New Jersey, and broken into pro wrestling by Whitey Curvo
and Hans Schnabel. He worked occasionally under the name, "Angelo Pietro Martini."
Abbate was also a Golden Gloves boxer in 1934 as a light heavyweight. Abbate retired
from wrestling around 1943 and moved to Miramar in 1973. He was survived by his wife
Antoinette, sons Victor and Angelo Jr., daughters Marie and Angie, and a brother Frank
Abbate of Manaroneck, NY, according to the December 16, 1999 Miami Herald.
June 25, 2000
Richard Reid Fliehr, father of wrestler Ric Flair, passed away in North Carolina.
June 14, 2001
In Longmont, Colorado, former wrestler Nick Studen died at the age of 89. Studen was
born on December 24, 1911 in Pueblo. He was later an iron worker and a member of the
Iron Workers Local 24. He was survived by his son Nick Studen Jr. and a daughter Safiji
July 27, 2001
Rhonda Sing of Calgary died at the age of 40. She was known as "Monster Ripper."
April 28, 2002
One of the most famous professional wrestlers in history, Lou Thesz passed away in
Winter Park, Florida. Thesz was 87.
May 1, 2003
Kurt Von Poppenheim, a former pro wrestler, died in Portland, Oregon at the age of
89. Von Poppenheim was born in Portland on March 28, 1914. He was a veteran, having
served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He wrestled for a reported 27 years. He was
survived by his son Jack, daughters Joan L, Carol, Judith, and Victoria.
November 10, 2003
The mother of the "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, Kathleen Kinsmiller Fliehr died in Pineville,
Roger H. Mackay, former wrestler, passed away at 76 years old. The Deseret News
(Salt Lake City) reported that Mackay was "one of Utah's greatest wrestlers."
February 26, 2005
At his home in Vicksburg, Mississippi, George Culkin died at the age of 78. He was
buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery.
Copyright 2012 by Tim Hornbaker
|Professional Wrestling Obituaries