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 didnt 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
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 Charlestons 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. Its
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
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 Clarksburgs Schoolboy Athletes. The other read:
LUCKY 13! Victorys 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, Id be remiss if
I didnt list Gockes 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 Gockes
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
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
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
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 dont 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, Krogers and Connie Langer Huffman for sharing this
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
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
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 mens 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 mens 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 thats it!
However, I have one very valued store where I can
deal and/or visit my lifelong friend, Pete Kaites. When I go into Petes
store, its like old times and I miss some of those old times!
Daffodil Days fund-raiser was big success
I would like to thank all the residents, businesses,
schools and volunteers that made the American Cancer Societys Daffodil
Days a success. If it werent 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 Womens
Club for preparing our flowers of hope for sale and delivery. To the
UHC Auxiliary, Bridgeport Knights of Pythias and Pythian Sisters, Womens
Club of Nutter Fort, Clarksburg Womens 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.
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
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
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 peoples 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
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
Ive 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 well 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 wont eat and cant stand up for
more than a few minutes at a time.
He is dying from Alzheimers. 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 Alzheimers 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 hadnt
seen much for many years. But it just didnt 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 shouldnt wait to do it. If
there is something important we want to say to someone, we shouldnt wait
to say it.
Terry Horne is the publisher of the Exponent and Telegram. His
column appears weekly in the Sunday Exponent and Telegram.