Rensselaer, IN Chicago Bears Killed In Crash, Jul 1964
TWO CHICAGO BEAR PLAYERS ARE KILLED.
Rensselaer, Ind. (AP) - Bunkum Road is a strip of asphalt swerving through cornfields from this Indiana farm town.
On it, two miles west of the Chicago Bears' training camp at St. Joseph's College, is a highly dangerous turn.
The arrow-pointing curve sign had been knocked down two weeks ago and never set back.
If it had been, star halfback WILLIE GALIMORE and pass catching end JOHN FARRINGTON of the Bears might yet be alive.
Their small car, with an open sun-roof, skidded out of control and flipped about 10:30 p.m., Sunday. They shot through the roof and were killed.
"I was watching television near the window, and I heard a screech," said Alan Fleming, whose farmhouse is right on the curve.
"I looked out and saw the car hurtling. My wife and I ran to it."
"There was nobody in it. Then we saw the bodies down the road about 60 feet."
Mrs. Fleming said they are moving into a new house.
"It is just too dangerous to live on this curve," she said. "We've had cars pile in our yard many times. I think some day one will come right through the children's bedroom."
George Halas, 69-year-old owner-coach of the National Football League champion Bears, a shaken man fighting to keep back the tears, said:
"I got a call from the sheriff's office about curfew time at 11 p.m.
He said two of my players had been in an accident and I should go to the hospital. I didn't know then who they were."
"When I arrived at the hospital, I saw a doctor standing over BO (FARRINGTON'S nickname)and I thought he was being treated."
"He's dead,' said the doctor. Then I looked around the room and I saw GALIMORE, 'He's dead, too,' said the doctor."
"This is the saddest day."
"The most difficult thing I ever had to do was call Audrey (GALIMORE'S widow and mother of three) in Tallahassee, Fla., and BO'S wife, Vivian, in Houston. They broke down. Audrey is flying in. I don't know what Vivian will do yet."
The FARRINGTON'S were married last March and she is an expectant mother.
GALIMORE, one of the most feared break-away runners in the league, was looking great in practice. At the end of the 1962 season, he had both knees operated on. He had a fine year, mainly as a spot player,
"In camp he was able to cut and twist in his runs as never before,"
"This would have been a great year for him, and he was ready for it."
Many of the Bear players did not know of the tragedy until morning. They sat and stared.
Quarterback Bill Wade packed WILLIE'S belongings - in a cardboard box, shut the lid and said:
"This is a heart breaking job, but it must be done. It's better I have everything packed instead of having WILLIE'S relatives do it."
Defensive halfback Bennie M. Rae said he almost went with WILLIE and BO to the country club.
"They played golf in the morning there," he said. "After our evening team feeding they would go to the club and watch the track meet on television. I went later with some other guys. It's funny how things work out."
Defensive end Ed O'Bradovich was among those at the country club.
"I guess I was the last one to see them alive," he said. "I said goodbye. Then, four minutes later, it was all over."
Defensive end Bob Kilculien said:
"It is not like losing an employee in an office. These men were part of you. You work closely with them to make a thing called a team try to win. They become something like your right arm."
A morning scrimmage was canceled to give the stunned players time to collect their thoughts. A drill was held in the afternoon.
"I decided we should get out on the field, more to release tension than anything else," said Halas.
Funeral services for GALIMORE and FARRINGTON were set for 10 a.m. Tuesday at Jackson Funeral Home here.
The team will attend.
The funeral home said additional services would be conducted in each of the players' hometowns. GALIMORE will be buried in Tallahassee and FARRINGTON at Houston.
A local minister will conduct the services Tuesday. There will be no eulogy.
"The coaches are too broken up to do anything," a funeral home spokesman said.
The Bears opened practice earlier than usual this season in order to prepare for their game with the College All-Stars one week from Friday night. They have trained at St. Joseph's College for 21 years.
Community leaders had arranged a downtown parade Friday night to honor the NFL champions. It was called off Monday at Halas' request.
The Jasper County highway superintendent, Robert Florence, said officials had been unaware the yellow diamond-shaped caution sign was missing on the curve where the players died.
Florence said it would be replaced by the end of the day.
"We're getting ready to put it up now," he said.
Anderson Herald Indiana 1964-07-28