Thursday, November 12, 2020

Memories of Bill Rice (1943-2020)

Bill Rice, an outstanding athlete at Chadron High School and the University of Montana who became a lieutenant colonel in the United States Marine Corps, died at his home in Beaufort, South Carolina, on Monday, November 9, a week before his 77th birthday.


Rice was born in Chadron on November 16, 1943 to David and Kathryn Rice.  Among his many achievements was becoming an Eagle Scout in 1959.  As a Chadron High senior in 1960-61, he was a starting end on the Cardinals’ undefeated football team, the starting center on the Class B state championship basketball team and won the Class B high jump by clearing 6-foot-3 at the state track meet.


He then attended the University of Montana, where he majored in wildlife biology and was a letterman on both the basketball and track and field teams.  He once held the Grizzlies’ triple jump record. That’s also where he met Jackie Cooper, who has been his wife the past 55 years.


Rice joined the Marine Corps in 1966, and served in Vietnam, the Philippines and Okinawa as well as on various U.S. bases.  He retired from the military in 1989 and he and his family had lived in South Carolina since then. 


He was preceded in death by his parents and brother David, who was the state high jump champion while attending Chadron High in 1957.  Survivors include his sister Sandra Vassar of Bellevue and brother Larry of Glenrock, Wyoming, as well as his wife, their three children and their families. 

               

A memorial service is planned for the summer of 2021.


Thanks to Con Marshall for sharing the above information


POSTSCRIPT


It seems that as we wander into the realm of "senior citizenry," we become more reflective about our lives – our joys, regrets, accomplishments, and our failures.  We embrace our families and close friends as we stumble into an era of increasingly sophisticated technologies that many of us don't fully understand.  And, thankfully, we begin placing greater value not on things, but on relationships:  our parents, "though they be gone," our spouses, children, and extended families......and our friends.


Those relationships are what many of us come to realize really count in our lives.


Bill Rice was a classmate at East Ward elementary school all the way through high school.   We didn't live in the same neighborhood, so we weren't close friends, but by about third and fourth grades, we often found ourselves together.  I recall playing in Bill's backyard at 810 King Street in March of 1953.  I don't remember who all was there or what games we were playing.  But the big news event of the day (allowing me to remember that day) was the death of Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin.  The Cold War was a big deal in those days, and even 9-year-old kids knew of the Russian leader.


Young Bill Rice (1958-1966) school until the Marine Corps

It was sports that allowed Bill and I to get to know one another better.  Grade school basketball, summer baseball, and sandlot football.  By Junior High we became closer because of sports.  Bill participated in both football and basketball – but he was also involved in track and field, likely because his older brother Dave was good at it, too.   Bill and I both had big brothers involved in sports, and I suspect that we tried to emulate them.

Bill was quite involved in Boy Scouts, too, and became an Eagle in 1959; he seemed to have a real passion for hunting and fishing as well.


It was in high school that Bill really began to blossom as an athlete.  A "late bloomer," his athletic prowess peaked during his senior year.  He was our tallest player (at 6'3") and a leader in the Cardinals winning the Class B State Basketball Championship in 1961.  That spring, he also won the Nebraska State High Jump Championship!  

After high school, Bill went to the University of Montana on an athletic scholarship  He was a standout athlete in basketball, as well as track and field. He graduated from Missoula in 1965.


Bill met his wife, Jackie Cooper, in Montana, and they were married for 55 years.  In 1966, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps, serving in Vietnam, as well as the Philippines and Okinawa, among other assignments.  He retired in 1989 as a Lieutenant Colonel, and the Rices made their home in Beaufort, South Carolina.

In 2010, the Chadron High classes of 1960 and 1961 held a joint reunion in Chadron.  For the reunion booklet, Bill reported that Jackie was working as a teacher/counselor and that he had sold the lawn maintenance business he'd operated for several years after retiring.


"We spend as much time as we can with our family...a week at the beach with all and also get together at Christmas for a couple of days...Jackie and I try to make a trip out west to see our families in Nebraska (Sandy), Wyoming (Larry), and Montana (Jackie's sister and dad)."


Of course the best thing about reunions is seeing old classmates and getting reacquainted while sharing stories about all the special moments we enjoyed while growing up in Chadron.


Bill recalled his time in scouting, exploring "C" Hill, King's Chair and the many trails in the pine hills south of the CSC campus, "skinny dipping" in the swimming pool, and re-visiting the many great experiences we shared as youngsters. 


Since we rarely, if ever, can maintain contact with all our old classmates throughout our lives, it's gratifying to live with the memories of those moments we shared as youngsters – and bask in the comfort of having known and having shared an important part of our lives with one another.


Those of us fortunate enough to have crossed paths with Bill Rice are all the richer for having known him.

     ~~  Larry Miller                                                      




Monday, July 20, 2020

Henry's Bus

(Editor's noteMany thanks to Chadron native Larry Smith, a 1954 graduate of Chadron High School, for sharing the following story – a fun step back into time!)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
by Larry Smith
I attended Chadron schools K-12 in the 1940s-1954.  One memory of the time involves the long time school superintendent, Henry Schroeder.
H. A. Schroeder, Superintendent
Chadron Public Schools 1947-67
Henry was a huge man, well over six feet tall and tipping the scales well past 250 pounds, but he was also a very jovial and kind man who was generally well liked by students, faculty and the community.
He would come to watch football practice.  No one could kick a football higher and farther than Henry. We used to joke that when he kicked the ball it came down with frost on it.
When I started high school we didn’t have school buses that delivered students to school.  We did have a school bus that was basically an activity bus for transporting teams to out of town games or the band to out of town parades.  That bus was a 1947 Ford bus with a small V-8 engine.

Henry always drove the school bus, wherever it went.  How many school districts could ever claim the superintendent drove the activity bus?  The old bus was painted Cardinal red with black lettering on the sides that read Chadron High School.
It labored to climb any hill.  Driving south with a full bus of football players to a game in Hemingford I remember Henry telling us all to blow towards the windshield to help get the bus up the hill to the table south of the state park.
The old red bus was noisy to ride in and on cold days very underheated.  You could see  your breath on some trips…inside the bus.
In the summer of 1953 the school board purchased a used Greyhound bus to be used as the activity bus. Wow, was that a jump in style and comfort.
It was a thing of pride and joy for Henry.  And, of course, he was the only designated driver.
Henry had a daughter in high school, also in the band.  There is a story, for which I can’t verify since I was not a participant, that his daughter, Susan, talked Henry into taking the new bus and the band to the drive in theater on a dollar a carload night.  The band members all breaking out folding chairs to watch the movie on an August evening.
My most vivid memory of the new, luxury bus was the first trip with the football team to Gering, the first out of town excursion for a team and the bus.  It was a very comfortable ride. We rode to Gering, and, alas, lost the game.  
On the way home, south of Alliance in the sand hills, the bus suddenly lost power.  Henry pulled to the shoulder and got out with the coaches to inspect the engine.  It was burned up. Apparently the oil drain plug had not been tight, and the engine lost all the oil.
It was a rainy night. The whole team got off and pushed the bus up the highway a few  yards to a wider turnoff on the side.  Someone flagged down a passing semi truck with a flat bed trailer loaded with cement blocks.  The whole team climbed on top of the load, in the rain, and rode into Alliance where we were dropped off downtown at a hotel. There, parents were called, and a convoy of parents in cars came to rescue us.
My wife remembers a trip when Henry was driving the band to a parade, as she remembers, in Sidney. The bus began running poorly, so in some town along the way Henry pulled the bus off to get some mechanical help.  Ward Rounds, the beloved long time band director, got the whole band off the bus, and they performed an impromptu parade while the bus was being repaired.
I am sure other ex Cardinal students have memories of Henry and his bus. 



Two views of the used Greyhound "pusher" bus in different years.  Above in about 1953 – below in 1958 – and still functioning!  To see a larger version of this and other photos, along  with more information, go to our:  Dawes County Schools Gallery.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Newsy Nook, Oh, Newsy Nook, Where Art Thou?  This view of downtown Chadron – looking north – reveals a nice bit of Main Street greenery in 1949 or early 1950.  Too, it provides a nostalgic glimpse of quite a few 1940's era automobiles.  On the left, we also see the L.B. Murphy Co., a cafe, and perhaps Saults or Service Drug-store near the center left.  Alas, about all we see of our dear old Newsy Nook on the right is the Coca-Cola sign attached to the south side of the building.  Before the Pace Theatre created its own in-house concession stand, a quick trip to Newsy Nook, movie ticket stub in hand, was almost obligatory.  The shop was a treasure of newspapers, magazines, comic books, popcorn, pop, and a wide variety of penny, two-cent, and nickel candy treats.  Cherry Bings, Licorice Snaps, Big Hunks, Cinnamon Bears, and well, need I go on? 

Take a closer look at this image in our Early Chadron Gallery

Friday, July 10, 2020

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Chadron State student rose to the top of NBC Radio

by Larry Miller
It was 40 years ago this month that the world’s first 24-hour television news service, the Cable News Network, went on the air from Atlanta.  It became better known simply as CNN.   Created in by business tycoon Ted Turner in 1980, the fledgling network initially reached fewer than two million homes in the United States.
Today, CNN is seen in more than 89-million homes across the United States and over 160-million homes around the world.  There’s an abundance of other 24-hour news and information services around the world, too.
Jack Thayer
But CNN wasn’t the first 24-hour news network.  Five years before, in June of 1975, NBC Radio launched its “News and Information Service (NIS),” and the fellow credited with its creation was NBC Radio President Glover “Jack” Thayer.
Thayer was a midwesterner.  Born in Chicago in 1922 and raised in Minnesota – but he also had lived and gone to school in Chadron, Nebraska
Jack Thayer’s father, Harley, was a railroader.  He started his career back in 1897 as a “Station Helper” in Ridgefield, Illinois.  He worked his way through the ranks as a Brakeman, Conductor, then Trainmaster by 1930, Assistant Superintendent, and finally – by the late 1930’s – Superintendent for the Western Line Division of the Chicago & Northwestern Railway headquartered in Chadron.
But son Jack remained with his mother in Minnesota in 1939-40 so he could finish his senior year at Winona High.  He was active in choir and drama, was a cheerleader for three years, but also developed a keen interest in radio, “haunting the local station, KWNO.”  The chief announcer at the station was a fellow named Jack London, a graduate of the Beck School of Radio in Minneapolis, where Thayer would later enroll.  In early May 1940, about three weeks before graduation, Winona High scheduled vocational conferences on a variety of jobs.  One was “Radio Broadcasting,” and the student chairman for that session was “Glover” Thayer.
The Thayers in Chadron - 1941 -  Harley, Jack, and Martha
(Photo courtesy of Tracie Ireland)
After receiving his high school diploma, Thayer was off to Nebraska to join his parents in their new home at 342 Ann Street in Chadron. There wasn’t much summer vacation for Jack, going to work June 6th as a laborer for C&NW before enrolling at Chadron State Teachers College for the 1940 fall term.
Thayer was in good company at CSTC.  Among his classmates was a bright young fellow from Gordon, Nebraska named Val Fitch.  They were also fraternity brothers in Delta Pi Sigma, a popular social fraternity.  Four decades later, Fitch would gain fame as a professor at Princeton University – and a winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics. 
While Fitch was preparing for a career in science, Jack Thayer was more focused on the arts.  As a freshman, he won Second Award in short story competition and became active in the Pi Kappa Delta, the national forensics honorary fraternity.  He would serve as its vice-president his sophomore year.  The CSTC varsity forensics team, comprised of Thayer and Harold Mitchell, ranked at the top of competition in Omaha and at the State Tournament.  
Another fellow freshman at CSTC was a well-known “local boy,” Don Rickenbach, who later became a highly regarded and successful area rancher.  Rickenbach was also a “brother” in Pi Kappa Delta, and they were pictured together in the 1941-42 CSTC Anokasan yearbook.
Thayer’s two academic years at college in Chadron were chock full of activity.  He was particularly active in drama, serving as president of the Thespians his sophomore year and performing in at least three plays.
There was no radio station in Chadron in the 1940’s, so in the spring of 1942, Thayer departed for the Black Hills of South Dakota and was hired as an announcer at KOBH in Rapid City.  The station later became KOTA, flagship station of what later became Duhamel Broadcasting Enterprises, operating five radio and three television stations across South Dakota, Nebraska, and Wyoming.
First radio job - KOBH Rapid City
(Photo courtesy of Tracie Ireland)
Apart from a photo of the 19-year-old Thayer as a new staff member, there’s little information about his short tenure at KOBH. 
By 1943 Jack was seeking his fortune in Minneapolis, first by attending the Beck School of Radio, followed by a job at WLOL Radio.  He also found a wife.  Marjorie Gossman and Glover “Jack” Thayer were married in 1944. Later that year, son Terry Lee Thayer was born. Meanwhile, Jack’s career as an announcer/salesman for WLOL began to blossom.
In April 1945, he was elected as an officer of the Twin City Radio Announcers IBEW Local 1331 union. He would remain with the station nearly three years – but during that time his marriage ended.
Television came to the Twin Cities in 1948 when KSTP-TV went on the air in St. Paul.  Across town, Joe Beck’s old “School of Radio,” became “Beck Studios,” adding a television school and with plans to build a commercial television station.  The Star Tribune noted that Beck was “even opening a store on Nicollet Avenue to sell television sets” and that Jack Thayer and WLOL colleague Bob Bouchier had quit the station to run the store for Beck.
After WLOL fired a popular host of its “Swing Club” show, they invited Thayer back into the fold.  Minneapolis Tribune columnist Will Jones wrote, “To capture the undershirt and beer listener, WLOL has rehired Jack Thayer.  Thayer, a former salesman for the station, left to sell television sets.  He’s giving up the television business to spin records.”
Jack’s Record Shop” on WLOL Radio became exceptionally popular and picked up a sizable new audience.
Local newspaper ads showed “WLOL Disc Jockey Jack Thayer” in a spiffy new Groshire suit from Grodnik’s haberdashery, proclaiming “I go for Groshire…You’ll go for Groshire, too!”  He also endorsed footwear for Bob’s Shoes for Men. Such ads bolstered Jack’s newfound celebrity – and likely were a welcome supplement to his income.
Some stability seemed to have arrived for Thayer.  His career was going well, and he met a young lady named Donna Marchand.  That summer, they may have talked marriage, because Jack posted an ad in the Star-Tribune on August 18th, simply saying:  “…need 3 to 4 room furnished apartment.  No children - Call AT 0406 8 a.m. to 12 noon except Sun.”   Three weeks later – In early September 1949 – Jack and Donna applied for a marriage license and were married two months later on November 12th.
Two nationally-recognized performers would host Jack’s popular WLOL radio show while the couple was getting hitched.  Star-Tribune columnist Will Jones wrote that singer June Christy and actor/comedian Billy DeWolfe were in town for club appearances and agreed to do the show for Jack.
Thayer remained with WLOL for the next two and one-half years, moving across town to WTCN Radio and Television in 1952.
More big changes were in the offing.
First came the birth of Jack and Donna’s daughter, Tracie Nan, in 1952, followed in 1953 by a son, Todd Neal.
Also in 1953, Thayer launched “Jack’s Corner Drug Store” on WTCN-TV. The show was a “dance get-together” for teens, replete with popular music of the day and dance contests. The studio set was a replica of a drug store, and area high school and college students were invited to participate in the fun.  This was a full four years before Dick Clark and “American Bandstand” would sweep the country.  It was another early indication Jack Thayer was an innovator and had a knack for knowing what audiences would like.
In February 1956.  Jack was lured to WDGY Radio in Minneapolis, which had been bought by Omaha-based Storz Broadcasting.  Young Todd Storz was the instigator of a “revolutionary” radio program format of “Top 40” music that would sweep the country. Thayer had already gained a reputation as the most influential disc jockey in the Twin Cities – credited with getting hit records started locally.  He would become the new General Manager of WDGY.
In September 1956, Donna Thayer gave birth to their second son, Timm.
The next three years brought many new professional challenges for Thayer, including the firing of a popular disc jockey.  These were valuable management experiences for Jack, and he gained stature as a good manager. The station fared well – and so did Jack Thayer.
In 1958, Jack was elected President of the Minnesota Broadcasters Association.  By the following May, after 16 years in in Minneapolis-St. Paul, he left the station to become Vice President and General Manager of KFRC Radio in San Francisco.  It was another short stay, followed by a five-year stint at yet another major market station, WHK in Cleveland, where – among other things – he lured the Beatles to town as part of their legendary 15-city tour of the United States.  Jack said their fee was “the highest entertainment price ever paid to bring a group to Cleveland.”
Thayer was lured back to California by Metromedia in 1965 to take the reins of KLAC in Los Angeles.  The Thayer family – after five years in Cleveland and an earlier brief stay in San Francisco – was ready to settle down.  They went to church at Brentwood Presbyterian Church, where Jack would become an elder.
At KLAC, Thayer began moving the station more and more from music to what was dubbed “two-way talk radio.” The call-in programs with expensive hosts such as Mort Sahl, Joe Pyne and Les Crane were extremely popular – and often quite controversial. Within two years, according to the Los AngelesTimes, Thayer had “built a big winner out of a perennial loser – the best balanced talk station.”  The Times recognized KLAC for its news and special events coverage.  Jack Thayer was honored as “Radio Executive of the Year.”
Audience ratings for KLAC continued to hold strong, and all seemed well.  But in late 1968, cross-town rival KABC Radio began leading in some charts, and – as LA Times columnist Don Page noted – even “high ratings yield to economics.”  Too, the budget for KLAC’s talk radio format was “enormous.” KABC was owned by the ABC network, while KLAC’s owners, Metromedia, seemed to be diversifying itself “out of the radio business,” wrote Page.
Rumors of change abounded at KLAC, and in very early January of 1969, Jack Thayer was fired.
By April, Donna and Jack Thayer divorced, just a few months shy of 20 years of marriage.  Donna would raise the children as Jack departed KLAC and began pursuit of new opportunities in broadcasting.
Within weeks, Thayer – the “architect of ‘two-way’ talk radio” – had formed Radio Consultants, Inc. to assist struggling radio stations.  He was credited with turning around floundering stations in major markets, including WMCA Radio in New York, fixing what was described as a “terminal case of no listenership.”  WMCA’s ratings spiked and its morning audience doubled within just two months.  He found similar success at WGAU in Philadelphia.
It’s all in the planning and promotion and careful audience control,” he was quoted as telling the Los Angeles Times.
A young Don Imus - On the Air
Thayer was hired in 1970 as General Manager of KXOA in Sacramento, where he brought on board a relatively new talent, a young ex-Marine named Don Imus, who’d worked as a railroad brakeman and stumbled into broadcasting at a couple of smaller stations in California.  

Imus’ early “shock jock” strategy generated criticism from inside and outside broadcasting – but gained enormous audiences.  His is also an interesting career, but – alas – Imus had no ties to Dawes County, Nebraska, so we’ll bypass his story!
By early 1971, Jack Thayer had moved to Ohio with Nationwide Communications in Columbus, a subsidiary of Nationwide Insurance Company.  He served as Vice President/General Manager.  The company owned seven broadcasting stations, including WRFD-Columbus and WGAR- Cleveland, among others.   Shortly after arriving, Thayer brought Don Imus from Sacramento to help bolster ratings. 
Jack Thayer’s career of frequent moves was not atypical for broadcasters, but what seemed to set him apart was his ability to land on his feet – almost always in jobs with greater visibility and responsibility.  And he was ever the innovator.
So it likely surprised few in the industry when in July 1974, Jack Thayer had been appointed president of NBC Radio.  His responsibilities would give him authority over the NBC Radio network and its owned-and-operated stations in San Francisco, Washington, New York, and Chicago. Those stations hadn’t been profitable for years.   The Chicago station, WMAQ, hadn’t seen a profit since 1963.  In just 16 months at the helm of NBC Radio, Jack Thayer was able to announce a profit for the station in December 1975.  Optimism abounded.
Jack also wasted no time in forging ahead with planning a new project – something that could transform radio news across the country.  He envisioned a 24-hour radio news service.  There were several all-news stations in major markets, but such a resource was unavailable to medium and smaller markets.  Plans were developed for what was called the NBC News and Information Service (NIS) with a start-up budget of about $10 million.
In February 1975, NBC announced the venture, hoping to attract about 75 of the top 100 markets in the country by mid-April.
Thayer told Broadcasting magazine, “The widespread success of all-news radio in this country is testimony to the information explosion we are experiencing.
He said that the NBC 24-hour service would, ”offer local radio stations the unique opportunity to go all news – practically overnight – backed by the manpower and resources of the world’s largest broadcast news organization.”  And many smaller market stations did sign up, including KLNG in Omaha and KVOC in Casper.
The round-the-clock service was scheduled to begin June 1, 1975, but fewer than 50 stations had signed up by mid-April.  The start-up date was pushed back to June 18th. Larger markets like Los Angeles already had two all-news stations – KNX and KFWB – and it was unlikely another could survive.
Thayer traveled the country meeting with stations to encourage their interest and participation, but the number of stations lagged behind the number needed.  At start up time, there were only 47 stations.
Reviews of the service were mixed.  Some markets loved it and did well, others complained about the quality of the terrestrial microwave distribution system.  Satellite service for the networks had not yet arrived.  After one year of operation, the NIS all-news service had 63 subscribers.
By late 1976, it became apparent that the News and Information Service (NIS) wasn’t going to be viable in the long run.  On November 3, 1976, Thayer announced that the service would be discontinued by mid-1977.
Recent projections demonstrate that NIS will not reach satisfactory levels in future years.  The unavoidable conclusion is that there is no long-term future for NIS as a national service,” he told reporters.
Some supporters of the all-news service claimed it was simply “ahead of its time.”  Within just a few years after NIS pulled the plug, satellite delivery systems began distribution of high quality audio and video signals that far surpassed the fidelity of the old terrestrial microwave.  Too, improved audio and video compression techniques accommodated multiple channels of content, rather than just one.
There was also criticism that NBC had not invested itself enough in the project.  Even some of the NBC owned-and-operated stations did not participate.  And a labor strike at NBC certainly didn’t help.
Jack Thayer ~ NBC Radio
NBC president Herbert Schlosser acknowledged that the venture had not succeeded, but he concluded that “real progress” had been made in strengthening the NBC Radio network and the network-owned stations.
Commenting about Jack’s role in the initiative, one NBC executive observed “He’s done a good job,” and noted that Thayer was brought in as president of NBC Radio to do two things:  “Turn the O&O stations around” and “to bring the radio network out of a loss,” and that, they concluded, is exactly what he did.
Jack Thayer continued to oversee NBC Radio into 1978, but left the network in 1979 to become General Manager at WNEW Radio, the “Big Band Station” in New York City.  Managing WNEW would be Thayer’s last stop on a remarkable career of managing radio and television broadcasting stations.  In 1980, Jack's peers honored him again by electing him President of the New York Broadcasters Association.
In 1983, WNEW was preparing for its 50th birthday in 1984.
The station had been mainstay in the Empire State since the early 1930’s.  Luminaries from Frank Sinatra to Dinah Shore had performed on the 50,000-watt radio powerhouse of New York.
According to Kathy Larkin, writing in the New York Daily News, Thayer believed the story of the station was worthy of saving and sharing – in print, as well as on the air.  He proposed a book full of stories about the founders of the station, entertainers who’d performed there, and how the WNEW signal was so strong that “pilots flying troops home after the war followed its beam into the airfield.”  The book, “Where the Melody Lingers On” would chronicle the storied past of WNEW.
Thayer was on the board of the National Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Foundation.  Some of his friends had been afflicted by the disease, so he went to the board and pledged all proceeds from sales of the book would go to help fight ALS, “Lou Gehrig’s disease.”
At about the same time WNEW was celebrating its 50th year, Thayer received the sad news that his son, Todd Neal Thayer, an account executive for a Los Angeles radio station, had been killed in a glider accident near Los Angeles.  He was 30 years old.
Jack Thayer departed WNEW for what would be his last-known job.  He served as Chief Operating Officer/Executive Vice President of Gear Broadcasting International, a communications company in Providence, R.I., delving into a relatively new technology:  wireless cable, which was growing in popularity during the mid 1990’s.
He had homes in both Providence, Rhode Island and New York City. While with Gear Broadcasting, he suffered a stroke and lived a few years in Morningside House, a New York nursing home.  He died of a heart attack in Providence  on January 1, 1995.  Jack Thayer was 72 years old.
Jack daughter Tracie, who still lives in California, says her father was cremated.  Some of his ashes were spread over his son Todd’s grave at Forest Lawn in the San Fernando Valley of California. 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(Editor's Note:  My sincere thanks to: Tracie Ireland (Jack Thayer's daughter), John MillerCon Marshall, and Terry Sandstrom for their assistance in helping me gather information and photographs for this story.  In 2013 Jack Thayer entered the Minnesota Broadcasters Hall of Fame.  Visit our "Thayer Photo Gallery" to see additional images related to this story. 

~~~~~  Larry Miller / Spearfish, SD

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

In Crawford....three old partners pause for a photo


This 1909 photograph shows (L-R) Doc Middleton, Truman Moody and John Bruer.  Middleton, whose real name was reportedly James Riley, was a "well-known outlaw" across the region in his early years.  The Nebraska Memories project noted that Bruer and Moody had backed Doc Middleton in a "saloon venture" at Ardmore South Dakota in the early 1900s.  Middleton died four years after this photograph was taken.


(Image is from the Crawford Historical Society and Museum)
Nebraska Memories