Roy Jeffries - Class of 1937
October 2004 "Kewpie of the Month"
Jane Rogers (1937 Cresset) - Jane & Roy (Sept 22, 2004) - Roy Jeffries (1936 Cresset)
Story - More Pictures
A recent visitor to my home was one of the remaining members of the Hickman Kewpies undeafed football teams of 1935 and 1936, Roy Jeffries (Class of 1937) and his wife Jane Rogers (Class of 1937). Hale and hearty at the age of 88, Roy provided a lot of insight into early Kewpies and identified many former players, described plays, personnel, uniforms, etc., from an earlier era. Roy played center for Hickman in 1935, 1936 and 1937, with the Kewpies going undeafed in 1935 and 1936. His contemporary teammates included the likes of Fred Brady, Sam Walton, Jack Walden, Clay Cooper and Tim Allen. Although he says football was his first love, Roy also played basketball, baseball and wrestled. Friendships from Hickman remain a part of Roy’s life. Roy attended many games and sat alongside fellow teammate and friend, Bob Roark at the Kewpie games for many years.
Uniquely, Roy was captain of the football team in 1937, but had to pass his position to Bob Vanatta during the season when he became ineligible to play due to his age. Those were the days when kids helped during harvest and there were no school buses. Many kids of that period took extra years to reach graduation because they were unable to attend school all the time.
A side note, in the 1937 Cresset, Jane Rogers was noted as the “Football King’s Uncrowned Queen.”
Subsequent to graduation Roy worked as a meat cutter for a while and then went to the American Aeronautical Institute in Kansas City and from there on to San Diego to begin a long and successful career in the aircraft industry, initially rigging controls on the PBY aircraft. After Pearl Harbor, he returned to Kansas City and was instrumental in the production of around 6,600 B-25s. As he stated recently “we eventually moved a B-25 off the assembly line every 48 minutes. At one point, Roy was assigned to work on a special project removing bomb sights, armor plating and all non-essential weight from some completed B-25s. At the time he says “None knew why we were removing these items.” Later he discovered this weight reduction project was on the planes used to bomb Tokyo, giving our forces of WW II a much needed morale boost and showing Japan their vulnerability. During this period he also worked on the first U. S. jet aircraft and says “we didn’t really have any idea what we were working on.”
Drafted into the Army, Roy served in France and Germany during WW II and with the occupation forces in Mannheim, Germany. Returning home, he began farming at Millersburg but he says “the drought burned everything up” so he returned to the aircraft industry at McDonald-Douglas in St. Louis, where he remained for the next 26 years. Working on the final assembly before flight, he remembers fondly and proudly completing around 8,000 F-4 Phantom jets and close to 10,000 F-15s, one of the premier jets of our armed forces even today.
Now the conclusion of the side note – after retirement in 1977 and returning to the Columbia-Fulton area and after a separation of over 40 years, Roy again met that “Uncrowned Queen” and in 1978 Roy Jeffries and Jane Rogers were married. After 25 years they are still happily enjoying their much delayed life together, farming, playing in shuffleboard tournaments and traveling.
Jane is the mother of Larry Bremer (Class of 1958) and George Bremer (Class of 1961). By the way Roy and Jane were accompanied on their visit to my home by George Bremer and Donna Crane (Class of 1961) who were also high school sweethearts at Hickman and reunited after 40 years. They are living in Fayetteville, Tennessee and as Jane said, “they are just like Roy and me.” “Now, we are all so happy.”
For Roy’s modest input about his
life he says, “I’m 88, pretty healthy and a farmer.”
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