I was born and raised in Springfield, IL, attended McClernand Public Grade School, St. Joseph’s Catholic Grade School, and Lanphier High School. I come from a family of 11 (I’m the youngest). I carried a newspaper route in downtown Springfield for several years, worked in my brothers’ book store, and then had a 33-year career with the Springfield Post Office. Also worked at a local mailing service company for 11 years.
My beloved wife and best friend Betty passed away in February 2014. We had a great life together sharing love of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She enjoyed cooking and baking (well known for vegetable soup, “Ra-ta-2-E” and pies). The first thing she cooked for me was vegetable soup. We got married soon after! She was an avid reader, gardener, traveler and sometimes casino winner. Her maiden name was Betty Jean Ralph, born and raised in the north end of Springfield, baptized at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, where she was a member her entire life. Graduated from St. Joseph’s Grade School and Glory Days member Springfield Ursuline Academy. Was a nurse for 28 years. She was pleased that I wrote the story of her Alma Mater, and always encouraged me to research the old schools and to not give up my hobby in the future.
I’m proud to say that my research produced entries into the Springfield Sports Hall of Fame for the 1941 Feitshans High School basketball team and the 1937 St. James Trade School football team. Another wonderful moment for me was when Homer “Buster” Bartholomew, legendary coach/teacher/principal of the early 20th Century was inducted into the Chatham Glenwood Hall of Fame in 2010.
In addition a great deal of pride was enjoyed when through my research and nomination Shelly Lehman Burke was inducted into the Springfield Sports Hall of Fame in 2022. She’s a long-time friend of my family and was very close to my sister Jenny Kuykendall. So close that she and her sisters referred to my sister as Aunt Jenny. Shelly is the first student-athlete from Springfield Ursuline Academy to be inducted into the Hall.
I’ve always been interested in history (my best subject in school; to the detriment of other subjects!). Through research and visits with various people I’ve made several new friends who were happy to share their memories of their old schools. That’s why I enjoy the Glory Days so much.