Thursday, December 7, 2023

Clayton Brown dies at age 95

by Con Marshall

One of the most prominent persons born and raised in Chadron, Clayton F. Brown, died at age 95 on October 17 at his residence in the Chicago suburb of Carol Stream, Ill.

His firm, Clayton Brown and Associates, became a national leader in buying and selling public securities.  A recent story in the Chicago Tribune  said it sold for $25 million in 1994 to what became Dain Bosworth, a huge brokerage and investment banking establishment.


A 1945 graduate of Chadron High School and a student at Chadron State College both before and after serving two years in the Navy, Brown never forgot his hometown.  For one thing, he married a Chadron High classmate, Charlotte Pascoe, who became the Chadron State homecoming queen in 1948. They were married in 1950 and for years afterwards periodically returned to visit friends and relatives.

He also was a devout Christian. The verse, Romans 12:11, “Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord,” was written on the wall of his home office in Chicago.  He also held leadership roles in several large Christian organizations and supported those endeavors financially.


In addition, Brown used his business acumen and good fortune to bolster Chadron State improvement projects several times, including the renovation of Elliott Field twice and what is now known as the CSC Math Science Center of Innovative Learning in recent years. The couple was presented the college’s Distinguished Service Award in 2002.


Prior to that he had been a member of the national leadership committee that was organized to renovate the Elliott Field stadium. The Browns contributed $50,000 toward that project.

He noted then that he was very familiar with Elliott Field. He had played quarterback there both while attending Chadron High, which did not have its own field at the time, and as a freshman at Chadron State in the fall of 1945. That’s when Coach Ross Armstrong was intent on reviving the football program that had been abandoned for the previous two years because of World War II.

Brown recalled that he was on the field every minute of all four games the Eagles played (and lost) in ’45. There were fewer than 20 players on the team and several of them had not played high school football. 

He also was an excellent high school basketball player.   There were three Brown cousins—Clayton, Tom and Neil—all of them seniors, who started on the 1944-45 Cardinals that finished with a 21-6 record. One of the losses was by a 32-30 score to Sidney in the finals of the District Tournament.  The Maroons, as they were known then, went on to win the Class B championship at the State Tournament. Chadron is ranked No. 5 in the class in the book, “Nebraska High School Sports.” published in 1980.

When Brown turned 18 in January 1946, he left college and joined the Navy. After a two-year hitch, he returned to Chadron State in 1948. By then the football roster was loaded with grizzled war veterans, but he played enough as the third-team quarterback to letter again.

At that time, Chadron State was almost exclusively a teacher-training institution.  Thus, he transferred to the University of Colorado, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1952.  He also received a master’s degree in business from the University of Chicago in 1952.

In September 1952, Brown joined the Northern Trust Company in Chicago. He became vice president of the Bond Department and was employed there 15 years before founding his own firm. It initially had six employees and less than $100,000 in capital.  

When it was sold 42 years later, Clayton Brown and Associates had more than 160 employees and offices in Milwaukee, Detroit, New York, Dallas, Tallahassee and Miami, besides Chicago.  He was best known for his expertise in municipal bonds, but also branched out to include other bond products.

He was president of the Mutual Bond Club of America, national chairman of the Public Securities Association and a member of the district committee of the National Association Dealers, Inc.  The Chicago Tribune story, written by Bob Goldsborough, quoted a long-time employee as saying Brown sometimes held Bible studies in his office. A former senior vice president, Jim Couture, called Brown “a man who lived out his faith in everything he did.”

Culture also said Brown handled multimillion dollar transactions on the telephone, “and nobody ever doubted the integrity of the transaction that happened based on his word on the phone.”

Brown served on the boards of both Dallas Theological Seminary and the Navigators for 21`years, was a trustee of Wheaton College, a Christian institution in Chicago, and twice served as national chairman of Christian Business Men’s Committee.  The Browns attended the latter organization’s international meetings in foreign countries four times.

Brown said he was flattered in 2017 when Connie Rasmussen, representing the Chadron State Foundation, and Don Beebe, the CSC star pass receiver and an NFL player nine seasons, visited him. They told him about the drive to upgrade Elliott Field and the accompanying stadium that is named for Beebe.

Brown had not known about the project, but as they were leaving he told his visitors he’d “think and pray about becoming involved.”  Before long, his answer was “Yes,” in the form of $250,000.

I have a soft spot in my heart for Chadron and Chadron State College,” Brown said when contacted about his gift. “I appreciate what the college is doing. It provides a good, respectable education at a price people can afford. The Lord gave me peace about making the gift. I believe it meets the criteria of ‘every good work’ that is found in II Corinthians 9:8. 

We began our firm to represent Christ in the marketplace,” Brown added. “God is good. We were blessed.  This is the first significant contribution I have made that is not connected with spreading the gospel. I know Chadron State needs to keep up-to-date with its athletic facilities and I hope the fund-raising efforts are successful.

Ben Watson, chief executive director of the Chadron State Foundation, said Brown’s gift for the football facility upgrade actually totaled about $350,000 and that he also contributed to the Math and Science project after that.   

Brown once noted that even though he attended CSC only two years, many of his closest lifelong friends were ex-Eagles.  “There’s something about playing football together that is really special,” he explained.   Brown said he made the contribution in memory of his mother, an aunt and his wife, all Chadron State graduates.  He added, Charlotte “went to glory,” three years ago, or in 2014.

The couple had four children.  Clayton’s younger brother, the late Ron Brown, popularly known as “Speck,” also was a starter on excellent football and basketball teams at Chadron High in the mid- 1950s. 



Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Remembering Glenn Denton (1950-2023)

NOTE:  Commital services at Beaver Valley Cemetery just northeast of Chadron, Nebraska will be held at 1:00 p.m., not 2:00 p.m. as previously announced in other media.

Glenn joined the Marine Corps after graduating from high school in 1968.  Glenn was a combat-wounded Purple Heart recipient.  He served 30 years and retired as a Master Gunnery Sergeant.  In 1978, Glenn started Camp Hamilton Veterans Memorial Park, Inc. in Bakersfield, California.

Glenn is survived by his wife – the love of his life – Esther; children; grandchildren and siblings.  He was preceded in death by his father and mother; his brothers, Arthur Denton and Gerald Denton, and his sister Mildred Denton Frohman.

Honorary pallbearers include Jose Barron, Oscar Barron, Raul Barron, Greg Frohman, Ronnie Denton, Dave Tiensvold, Mark Marquez, and all of Glenn’s family and friends. Visitation will be held from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m., Thursday, December 7, 2023 at Chamberlain McColley's Funeral Home in Hot Springs, SD.

The funeral service will be held at 10:00 a.m., Friday, December 8, 2023, at Chamberlain-McColley’s Funeral Home in Hot Springs, SD.

Committal services will be held at 1:00 p.m. Friday, December 8, 2023 at the Beaver Valley Cemetery near Chadron, Nebraska.  Memorials may be given to Camp Hamilton Veterans Memorial Park. (

Glenn E. Denton, Jr., 73, passed away November 25, 2023.  Glenn was born January 31, 1950, to Glenn E. Denton and Joyce (McLatchy Leavitt) Denton.  He attended Craven Creek School District 79 in a one room schoolhouse through the 8th grade.  He attended high school in Rushville, Nebraska for 9th and 10th grades and graduated from Polson, Montana High School in 1968.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Russell Thompson: a fascinating career!

It was just about 90 years ago this fall that the Nebraska Cornhusker football team – under the leadership of coach Dana Bible – appeared to be on the threshold of a great season.  Alas, it wasn't a "great" year, but thanks in part to a newcomer to the team, Whitney's Russell "King Kong" Thompson, the Huskers wrapped up the season with a 6-3 record, and a respectable 4-1 record in the old Big 6 Conference.  It was his second year of playing college ball – his first year was played with Chadron Teachers College.

The Chadron Journal headlined a story about Thompson's success with "Russell Thompson Makes Good on Cornhusker Team."  Thompson, who played tackle, stood 6ft. 4in. and checked in at 234 pounds, proved to be fast and agile for his size.  The paper observed that early in the season, Thompson had a "poor start because he lacked a thorough grounding in fundamentals and a noticeable absence of "fire."  

But he did a quick about-face and reportedly turned in brilliant performances against Missouri and Kansas.  "He is a coming star" said the Journal, noting that Thompson – dubbed "King Kong" – was a veritable stone wall on defense in the season finale against Missouri with the Huskers winning 13-6.    He also revealed an ability to block on offense, bringing "smiles to the Nebraska coaching staff."  Against Kansas, "the Jayhawks found this giant tackle impenetrable."  Nebraska won the game 3-0.

Thompson had played ball at Whitney High School, but newspaper stories say he transferred to Chadron High School, where, he played football and then one year with "Chadron Teachers College."    After being recruited by Nebraska, he played out his remaining three years of eligibility – lettering all three years.

In 1935, George Hallas, owner and coach of the Chicago Bears offered Thompson a contract for $90 per game.  He played four years for the Bears before playing his final pro football season with the Philadelphia Eagles.  He also played one season of semi-pro basketball.

Thompson married Mary Jo Norman in Whitney in 1941 before moving to Wyoming, where the couple ranched near Keeline.  He helped start the Niobrara Convservation District and also served in the Wyoming Legislature in 1981-82.  

Thompson died on February 12, 2001 in Scottsbluff.  The family had been living in Lusk, Wyoming, for several years. Surviving Thompson was his wife, Mary Jo; children Cody of Lusk; Leif and wife Brenda of Philo, Ill; Tom and wife Dixie of Whitney; Roxanne and husband Roy Sharp at the family ranch; Link and wife Debbie of Gordon; 12 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Monday, September 11, 2023

71 Years Ago – The Cardinals Were in a Tight Spot!

After losing five straight games at the beginning of the 1952 football season, the Chadron High Cardinals and their coach, Carl McManis, were in need of a victory when they faced off against the Gordon Broncs.

We came across the program from that October 17, 1952 game. Despite the small type, we thought you might be able to recognize some of the names from the Cardinal roster – and perhaps a few of the Gordon players, too.

Chadron won the game, 20-7, ending their 5-game losing streak.

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Confessions of an old guy!

by Larry Miller

Recently, friend Con Marshall shared with us the story about Rich Fahey and his record-setting achievement with Chadron's Assumption Academy basketball team more than 70 years ago.  That story is immediately underneath the photograph below.

Con, of course, is the go-to guy for anything you want to know about northwest Nebraska sports, agriculture......well, just about anything and everything over the past half century or so!   Con has been more than kind in sharing his stories and photographs with Dawes County Journal over the years.  But when he passed along the Rich Fahey story, I think my memory went on vacation.

While I didn't know about Fahey's record, I did know – but had forgotten – that Fahey had played for Assumption Academy back in the 1950s....AND that I already had a very good photograph of that 1951-52 Panther basketball team!

Another good friend and frequent contributor to Dawes County Journal site is Jim Sandstrom – a Chadron native and boyhood friend (and former baseball teammate of mine) from the late 1950s.  Although a few years younger than Fahey, Jim also played ball for Assumption.....AND.....has sent me several Assumption Academy class and team photos over the years.  It was a few years ago, but I had forgotten the photo below, which is a splendid shot of that 1951-52 District Championship team.  It includes, of course, a nice clear image of all the Panther players, Coach Bill Sollars and Father Miles.   And the smiling No. 6 in the front row is......Richard Fahey!  Wish I'd remembered to re-post it with Con's story!

Thank you, Jim, for sharing story ideas AND photographs! 


Saturday, July 15, 2023

Chadron’s all-time single game high scorer still doing well at 88

By Con Marshall

It happened a long time ago and he played basketball in Chadron just one year, but an 88-year-old Assumption Academy graduate who lives in Sidney has the distinction of scoring the most points in one game while he was attending a high school in this community.

He’s Rich Fahey, who on February 19, 1952, while enrolled at Assumption Academy, poured in 45 points when the Panthers visited the Oelrichs Tigers.  The final score was 72-33.

Fahey’s 45 points are three more than Dick Muma scored as a senior at Chadron Prep in 1959 during a 70-40 romp over Lyman.  No other high school hoops players from Chadron have scored 40 points in a game, but two tallied 39 and six more at least 35.

After recently compiling a list of Chadron Cardinals who scored at least 30 points and another about the half dozen 50-point scorers in the Panhandle, it seems timely to revisit Fahey’s feat and also print a list of the 10 all-time high single game scorers from the three high schools that were once going full force in Chadron.

The Fahey story is intriguing in several ways.  One of them, of course, is that he’s probably older than anyone else who scored a point for any of the three Chadron teams.

Another is that he played at Assumption just that one year—1951-52—after transferring from Provo High School that was located in the village of Igloo near the Black Hills Army Depot. More specifically, both were close to where Edgemont is situated.

Fahey had played both football and basketball for the Provo Rattlers two years before he came to Chadron.  While playing hoops for the Assumption Panthers in ’51-‘52, he was listed as a junior, was enrolled at the Academy again the next year and graduated in the spring of 1953. He says the reason he couldn’t play in ’52-‘53 is because five years earlier in the fall of 1948-49, his older brother was attending Black Hills State in Spearfish and Rich went along and enrolled at Spearfish High.

However, when it was discovered that his parents did not live in the school district his family was notified that in order for him to stay at Spearfish High the Faheys would have to pay tuition.

“That’s when I went back to Provo, but I didn’t go to school the rest of that year,” he said. “I had played some basketball at Spearfish before I left there. “

So Fahey was a freshman all over again academically at Provo in 1949-50 and also considered a freshman while playing football and basketball for the Rattlers. When he enrolled at Assumption two years later he was classified as a junior, but he didn’t get to be a senior in athletics for the Panthers, because he’d played some basketball during his shortened year at Spearfish.

Thus Fahey watched from the sidelines in 1953-54 while completing high school and graduated in the class of 13 in May.  

A story in the Feb. 21, 1952, Chadron Record tells about Fahey’s 45-point feat.  The first three paragraphs follow:

“Paced by Rich Fahey’s 45 points, Chadron Assumption walloped Oelrichs, S.D., Tuesday night 72-33.  The Panthers took the South Dakotans in a blaze of points that kept the score more than doubled throughout the game.

“One-man-gang Fahey racked up his total to exceed by 10 points his previous high of the year.  Switching from his usual guard position to the center spot, the Academy junior couldn’t miss.  He dunked in (not literally as we think of dunks nowadays,) 18 field goals, and just for variety, canned 9 out of 9 gift shots.  Fahey played an excellent ball-stealing game on defense, and got many shots as the result of these tactics.

“McLatchey helped out with 19 points, and Dick Perlinski hit 4 field goals for 8 tallies. Oelrichs was paced by Doalen, who got 16, followed by Serry with 13.”

As noted earlier, that wasn’t the only time Fahey was a big scorer for the Panthers.

In early January, he had scored 34 points during a victory over Hay Springs during the Northwest Conference Tournament played in Chadron. That game story said, “Fahey hit equally well on set shots, jump shots or driving layups.  He’s also a good ballhandler”

On Feb. 15, he scored 35 points against Crawford. The game didn’t turn out well for the Panthers. 

The newspaper article says that with the score tied at 54-54, an Assumption player fouled out. However, the substitute failed to report that he was entering the game, a technical foul was called and one of the Rams made the free throw for the victory. 

Just five days later Fahey had his record-setting performance at Oelrichs.

Lifelong Oelrichs resident Maynard Britain thinks he probably knows why Fahey played center in that fateful game instead of guard.  He said the low ceiling in what was called “The Potato Cellar” made shooting from long range impossible, so the Academy coach put his best player near the basket.

Britain says as far as he knows no potatoes were ever kept in the Cellar, but it was given that moniker because about half of the structure was below the surface. It served as Oelrichs’ primary community center until the mid-1950s, when a new facility was constructed. Now, the new $5 million high school that was opened in early 2022 includes a gymnasium that is as stylish as any in the region. 

The 45-point game wasn’t the last of Fahey’s heroics.  

As the season was winding 

down, the Panthers played in the Class D District Tournament at Cody. Fahey’s classmate, Dan Konrath of Chadron, was there and took the photo of Fahey shooting a free throw. 

Konrath also took a photo of the clock that showed two seconds were left to play, and remembers that Fahey hit a long shot for the 43-42 victory as the clock expired.

However, the Panthers still had to play Mullen to qualify for the state tournament. That game was played in Alliance and didn’t turn out the way Chadron fans had hoped.

The Record had story about that game. It says:  “Panther Rich Fahey, playing his last high school game, gave the spectators a show with his phenomenal long shots from the center of the floor. In addition, he hit from any angle to total 28 points, rebounded well, played a top floor game and was aggressive on defense.”

Unfortunately, Fahey apparently was too aggressive on defense.  Assumption was leading 46-44 when Fahey fouled out with 90 seconds left to play. Mullen added two field goals and won 48-46.

When asked how he became such an outstanding basketball player, Fahey said,  “probably because I practiced more than most.” 

“I lived in the gym,” he added.  “When our family was in Provo and my dad worked at the Black Hills Army Depot, there wasn’t much to do, but there were two gyms and I made use of them.

During a recent telephone chat Fahey said he enjoyed his two years at Assumption. He added that through the years, he has attended several school reunions and kept in touch classmates. Konrath is one of them. The others are Ruth Katen Robbins of Scottsbluff and Joan Murphy Wolvington of Alliance.

“I had to have knee surgery a year ago, and it’s taken me longer to get over it than I thought it would,” Fahey said during the phone call.  “I’m getting along pretty well. I feel fortunate.” 

He noted that he has an oil well near Sidney that keeps pumping, and has a keno business that he tends to. We had to cut our phone call short because it was time for him to take his daughter’s dog to the veterinarian.

Rich wasn’t the only outstanding basketball player in his family.  His son Randy, was a standout at Sidney St. Pat’s in the late 1970s and was the leading scorer on the Chadron State team in 1982-83. Randy married Chadron native Laurie Nydahl and their sons, Spencer and Turner, were all-staters while playing at Grand Island Central Catholic. 

A list of the others who scored at least 35 points while they were attending high school in Chadron accompanies this story. 

Chadron’s All-Time Top 10 Scoring  By *High School Boys

Rich Fahey, Chadron Assumption, 45 vs. Oelrichs in Feb. 1952 (18 field goals, 9-9 free throws). Panthers won 72-33.

Dick Muma, Chadron Prep, 42 vs Lyman in Feb. 1959 (17 FGs and 8 FTs). Prep won 70-40. Muma finished career with 1,545 points.

Kevin Moore, Chadron Assumption, 39 at Holy Rosary in 1970 when he was a freshman (14 FGs, 11-15 FTs). Holy Rosary won 82-70 and the Crusaders’ Pat Mills scored 40 points.

Jim Montague, Chadron High, 39 vs. Job Corps in 1982. (18 FGs, 7-8 FTs).  Cards won 91-65.

Danny Kuska, Chadron Prep, 38 vs. Crawford, Feb. 11, 1950. (15 FGs, 8 FTs.) Prep won 67-43. Kuska scored 26 points in first half. He also scored 33 points in Prep’s 47-37 win over Waverly in Class C state championship game that year and was the state tourneys high score with 62 points in three games. 

Jesse Wood, Chadron High, 38 vs. Hot Springs, Jan. 1996. (13 FGs, 4 3-pointers, 8-8 FTs.) CHS won 72-67.

Kevin Moore, Chadron High, 37 at Crawford, Jan. 1973, (16 FGs, 5-6 FTs.) School record.  Cards won 74-61.

Elliott Eliason, Chadron High, 36 vs. Hay Springs in his final home game in Feb. 2010. (14-17 FGs, 8-10 FTs).  He also had 20 rebounds and blocked six shots.  Cards won 63-42.

Kevin Moore, Chadron High, 35 vs. Bridgeport, Jan. 1973. School record. (15 FGs, 5-5 FTs and 14 rebounds). Cards won 65-42. He also scored 32 vs. Gordon as a senior in 1972-73. Moore scored 1,826 career points at the two schools.

Jesse Wood, Chadron High, 35 vs. Scottsbluff, Feb. 1996, district playoff game, lost 63-59. (14 FGs, 6 3-pointers, 1 FT). Wood scored 30 points in 2nd half, including 20 consecutive points for the Cards. He tallied 1,446 career points while starting all four years.


 *All Chadron high schools. Prep closed in 1961 and Assumption closed in 1971.

+Fahey played only one year at Assumption, 1951-52, when he was a junior.  He did not graduate until 1953, but could not play in 1952-53 because he had spent the first semester of the 1948-49 at Spearfish High before dropping out.  He played at Provo High School at Igloo, SD, the 1949-50 and 1950-51 school years and then came to Chadron Assumption for the 1951-52 school year.  He remained at Assumption in 1952-53 and graduated that spring.   He was 88 years old and still doing well when this was written.

Note: As a sophomore at Assumption in 1970-71, Kevin Moore also scored 30 points in games against Crawford, Holy Rosary and Harrison and 29 vs. Holy Rosary and Lexington St. Anne at the state tournament.  In addition, late in his freshman year at Assumption, he scored 29 vs. St. Agnes. 

Prepared by Con Marshall, January 2023.