Dr. Jack Gocke was a standout
athlete at Victory High, WVU

    Dr. Jack Gocke, a well-known Clarksburg ophthalmologist who passed away April 2 at his Bridgeport residence, was a tall man in stature. I didn’t know him very well myself, but from folks who did how him, I understand that as a person, he was a tall man, too.
    In his day, he was quite an athlete, too, having stood out as a member of the 1933 state basketball champions, the Victory Eagles. They won the state tourney in Buckhannon by decidedly defeating the Charleston Mountain Lions, 40-28. It was the Eagles’ very first state title.
    Courtesy of Freddie Layman, who provided me with information, and Joe Trupo, who led me in the right direction, I have some information about Jack Gocke, who played forward for Victory, and led the scoring with 16 points — more than half of Charleston’s total score.
    The banner headline at the top of Page 1 in the Sunday Exponent-Telegram of March 19, 1933, read: “VICTORY CROWNED STATE CHAMPS.” The drop-heads below it read: “EAGLES TRIM CAPITAL CITY QUINTET 40-28” and “Red Headed Jack Gocke Leads His Team to Decisive Floor Victory.”
    The account of the game was quite interesting. It’s rather seldom that one reads the play-by-play of a basketball game on the front page of a Sunday newspaper, but let me just relate the way the sportswriter wrote it:
    Last Quarter: “Gardner made a field goal, score 33-22. Stanton a foul 33-23. Filkosky a field goal 33-25. Gocke made a close shot, score 35-25. Filkosky (of Charleston) made one in two fouls, score 35-26. Gocke made two fouls, score 37-26. Gocke made another foul, score 38-26. Filkosky made a field goal, score 38-28. Gocke made a field goal, score 40-28. The gun cracked soon afterwards, and the fans from Clarksburg went wild with glee.”
    On the same front page, there were two boxes. One read: “EUREKA! Triumph of Victory at Buckhannon Brings Quest of 18 Years to Joyous Climax for Clarksburg’s Schoolboy Athletes.” The other read: “LUCKY 13! Victory’s basketball triumph yesterday, probably the most notable in its history, almost marked an anniversary for the West End school. Adamston residents yesterday called attention to the fact that Victory High School will be just 13 years old on Tuesday! It was dedicated on March 21, 1920.”
    Although I have only last names, I’d be remiss if I didn’t list Gocke’s coaches and teammates: Coaches Bell and Poling; players Leep, Rice, Curry, Kerns, Geso, Perri, Paletti, Scolopio and Sines.
    The late Dr. Gocke also made his mark at West Virginia University, where he lettered in basketball and baseball in 1935, 1936 and 1937, and in football in 1934-35. The Dominion Post of Morgantown on April 5 used a photo of Jack Gocke, who wore the number 42 as a Mountaineer, and a story by writer Bob Hertzel written from the perspective of Gocke’s son, Dr. Mike Gocke of Morgantown, who has made quite a name for himself as a golfer.
    An excerpt from the story on Jack Gocke follows: “There have been few like him to come through the state. He first burst on the scene in 1933 when he led Victory High to its first state championship in basketball.
    “The next year he entered West Virginia University, about to embark upon a legendary career that would culminate with his induction into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame with Bill Bonsall, jack Carter, Bob Orders, Mark Workman and Fred Wyant on Oct. 28, 1994.”
T    he account also stated, “He was a halfback and a punter for ‘Trusty’ Tallman in football. His 72-yard punt was the fourth longest in Mountaineers history in 1994 when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.  “He also was a pitcher for Ira Errett Rodgers in baseball, winning 18 games over three seasons.”
    But Dr. Gocke made his greatest indentation in basketball. He was the leading scorer over the first 40 years at WVU, finishing with 770 and an 11.2 average in an era when games were being decided by scores like 25-24 and 35-33.
    My hat is off to the memory of Dr. Jack Gocke. And I thank Freddie Layman for providing me with resource information. A loyal Victory High alumnus, Freddie says he has the trophies for both of Victory High School state basketball wins. They won again in 1941, led by the late Rex Keith Bumgardner who, like Joe Trupo, later became sheriff of Harrison County.

Letters to the Editor

Thanks for sharing story of Bud Nutter
    I would like to commend your staff and the writer of the “Bud Nutter story.” It was a very heartfelt story to me for numerous reasons.
    I live in Tulsa, Oklahoma, now. I was born and raised in Clarksburg and I miss it intensely. Stories like the one about Bud Nutter are a reason why — people caring about people.
    I have lived in Florida, Hawaii and Tulsa since I have left “home” — all big places. We don’t hear many heartfelt stories like this. Seems that people get caught up in the “rat race” and forget about the things that really matter.
    You see, Bud Nutter was my great uncle. I was not able to be there after his tragic accident. It really warmed my heart to read this story told by Connie Langer Huffman. Very comforting to know that Bud had so many people who cared about him and would remember him.
    Living so far away it is really difficult to deal with a loss of a family member. this story gave me a piece of comfort to hold onto, to know that someone out there cared about him and shared it.
    In closing, I send a “thank you” to the Clarksburg Exponent-Telegram, Kroger’s and Connie Langer Huffman for sharing this story.
Gretchen Molina
Tulsa, Okla.

    This is in reference to the recent letter to the editor on giving handicapped people a chance to work, which I am 100 percent for. I have personally contacted a number of West Virginia state agencies that claim they are helping.
    On paper, their figures show that they help handicapped people. But there are a number of people who know these figures are incorrect, as the personnel have to prove their worth and commitment to the state and community to warrant their positions.
    Agencies are a front with no results. We need a different system.
Mary Snyder

Misses the stores and the people

    My very wise grandmother once said, “Not all change is necessarily progress.” How true that is! Some of the changes in recent years are a form of progress, but some things of value are lost in the process.
    The convenience of mall shopping is fine in many respects, but I miss the friendly, familiar faces of the past when I frequented the various stores in downtown Clarksburg.
    It was a pleasure to go into Loar & White and see Mr. Frenzel and his son, Rick, as well as Clyde Huffman and Charlie Mayer, or cross the street and deal with Will Melet, Lyle Watson and Fritz Kramer, or the men’s department of Parsons-Souders, where Jim Martin graciously met customers and friends.
    I miss those stores and the valued personal associations of the folks who worked there. As a young fellow during two holiday seasons, I worked temporarily at Loar & White and the men’s department at Parsons-Souders. I knew most of the people I waited on and these are nice memories to have. At the mall, at Elder-Beerman, I know Patty Tom Stamm and also Juilia Schindler — and that’s it!
    However, I have one very valued store where I can deal and/or visit my lifelong friend, Pete Kaites. When I go into Pete’s store, it’s like old times — and I miss some of those old times!
Art Bennett

Daffodil Days fund-raiser was big success

    I would like to thank all the residents, businesses, schools and volunteers that made the American Cancer Society’s Daffodil Days a success. If it weren’t for all the help and support from these individuals, we would not have been able to raise the funds that we have in order to aid in our search for a cure for cancer.
    I would like to thank the Shinnston Foodland, Nutter Fort Foodland, Eastpointe Kroger, Rosebud Rite Aid, United Hospital Center, Veterans Administration Hospital, Clarksburg FBI, Clarksburg Wal-Mart, Meadowbrook Mall and the Harrison County Courthouse for allowing the American Cancer Society to set up our direct sale sites in their businesses.
    Special thanks to The Discount Bread Factory and Beverage Distributors, Inc., for allowing the American Cancer Society to store our flowers at their businesses before and during our sale.
    I would also like to thank all of our hard-working volunteers. To the Goff Plaza Garden Club and Bridgeport Junior Women’s Club for preparing our “flowers of hope” for sale and delivery. To the UHC Auxiliary, Bridgeport Knights of Pythias and Pythian Sisters, Women’s Club of Nutter Fort, Clarksburg Women’s Club, Betty Grogan, Beth Miller, Wanda Ashcraft, Bridgeport Garden Club, Lois Teter, Kay Housman, Ruth Highland, Bill Tiano and Art Malcolm for selling daffodils at the direct sales sites. I know the task was tiresome, but it was well worth the effort!
    Thanks to Sarah Winters, Mary Kay Spelsberg, Charlotte Cobos, Adam Cobos, Timothy Cobos, Helen Metzgar, Caroline Romine, Bill Tiano, Art Malcolm and Juanita Emerson for delivering our daffodils to the schools, businesses and residents.
And, of course, very special thanks to all the Harrison County residents who purchased daffodils from our direct sites. Your help and support is greatly appreciated by the American Cancer Society. Proceeds from Daffodil Days go toward the funding of patient services and cancer research. With your help, the search for a cure is not so distant.
Amy Davich
Daffodil Days Chairperson

When EMS systems
put lower priority on
the patient, all suffer

    It would hardly be fair to blame the serious condition that Harrison County emergency ambulance services find themselves in on lack of cooperation among crews. Many paramedics and medical technicians from the five non-profit ambulance services and three for-profit ambulances seem to get along rather well, in fact.
    It should not be too difficult to see that there is a general distrust of politics entering into the EMS scenario. Perhaps there are a few touches of territorial pride and jealousy, too, that have replaced what was formerly one of the healthiest emergency ambulance setups in the region with one that, collectively, is on its “sickbed.” That is the time to call the “doctor,” one who has seen problems in the past but learns from experience what works best — for all, not just for some.
    Approximately 50 miles north of Harrison County is Fayette County, Pa., home of Fayette EMS, a growing service covering geographically 70 percent of that county for 911 responses. The covered area is roughly similar in size and population to Harrison County. Fayette EMS was formed several years ago by two other EMS entities after representatives of the agencies agreed to merge.
    According to Rick Adobato, EMT/P, director of operations for FEMS, there surely were obstacles along the way. But changes in laws and reimbursement from different insurance companies began to take place, so it was not only a good move from a logistic standpoint, but from a financial one, too.
    Adobato recalled, “We were able to consolidate many services that both had — billing, dispatch, public relations, maintenance, just to name a few. So we were able to control costs in areas other than patient care.”
    He conceded that there is still the problem of getting the closest ambulance to an emergency call. It simply is not the easiest thing to do 100 percent of the time. “Not until satellite locators are installed will we be able to always send the closest unit,” Adobato explained.
    It could well be that there are too many services in Harrison County, some of which are for-profit entities. Of those, Adobato said, “Leave no doubt who is better able to provide for citizens in an area. The ‘bottom line’ is much more prevalent with a for-profit as compared to a non-profit. The only thing we have to worry about is breaking even at the end of a year. A for-profit must pay dividends to their stockholders. All our resources are put back into our service.”
    We are not trying here to pre-empt the free enterprise system of business competition that made this country great. But we are referring here to people’s health and, yes, often life-or-death situations. “Anytime profit is put in front of patient care, well, the patient suffers,” Adobato said. “We attempt to treat all our patients as we would want our family treated.”
    This is the way it should be in Harrison County. No doubt there are many here who share that view. But we also are keenly aware that when profits and politics are mixed, the condition of the patient tends to take second place. And when the patient is relegated to second place for whatever reason, in this business it erases the very need for existing services and cries out for one with singleness of purpose — adequate care of the patient.

Robert F. Stealey
Telegram editorial board chairman

Make the best of the time you have
    It was great to be with good friends at an area restaurant recently. The mood was cheery and funny stories dominated the before-dinner chatter. There were the obligatory Clinton jokes and golf stories. It was a very pleasant evening. Fun. Irreverent. Three couples who really enjoyed being together.
    One of the couples recently had taken early retirement and moved into a beautiful new home on the Lakeview Resort golf course and overlooking Cheat Lake near Morgantown. They talked about how happy and lucky they were. And then the mood got somber as the woman revealed a recent scare. “I went for a checkup and they found a spot the size of a dime on my mammogram,” she said.
    She was scheduled for follow up tests the next week. All of those tests and a second mammogram all failed to show the spot. It had suddenly disappeared. She called it a miracle. “We did pray a lot that week,” said her husband.
    One of the other ladies at the table had her own miracle which we all knew about. She is a cancer survivor. She and her husband went through a long period of what must have felt like hell on Earth. Now she leads a normal and active life. Her husband often talks about how lucky he is to have her with him.
    At dinner that night her husband said one of the most trite but true statements ever uttered: “If you have your health, you have everything.”
    We all get wrapped up in day-to-day problems at work and home. That is called living. But when a serious illness calls on a family, it puts everything in perspective. The health of the loved one is the number one priority and everything else comes in a distant second place.
    I’ve spent this past week in Oklahoma with my mother and father. Their 50th wedding anniversary is coming up in August and my sister and I are planning a big family celebration. But there is no certainty that we’ll get to have it.
    My father has been in and out of the hospital twice in the past 45 days. During the past five years his weight has dropped from 170 pounds to under 100 pounds. He won’t eat and can’t stand up for more than a few minutes at a time.
    He is dying from Alzheimer’s. The doctor recently told my mother that he is in a rapid stage of decline. It is difficult to say how much time we will have with him. My mother is healthy except for a broken heart. Both of their dreams had been snatched from them.
    His Alzheimer’s diagnosis was made three months after he retired from his job. They had just moved from Kansas to an Oklahoma lakefront community to be close to his brother and favorite cousin. They had plans for lots of hunting, fishing and time with family that they hadn’t seen much for many years. But it just didn’t happen.
    We all put off doing things for when we will have more time. But we should remember we might not have more time. Only God knows what is ahead of us.
    No matter how much we think we are in control of our lives, we are not. Everything can change tomorrow. So, if there is something really important we want to do, we shouldn’t wait to do it. If there is something important we want to say to someone, we shouldn’t wait to say it.

Terry Horne is the publisher of the Exponent and Telegram. His column appears weekly in the Sunday Exponent and Telegram.


Clarksburg Publishing Company, P.O. Box 2000, Clarksburg, WV 26302 USA
Copyright Clarksburg Publishing Company 1999