SI Vault
December 22, 1958
Meet them here in vignette, with then-and-now pictures: 25 football players of 25 years ago who today serve their fellows as lawyers and judges, ranchers and executives, soldiers and theologians, medical men and atomic scientists
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December 22, 1958

1933-58 Men Of Achievement

Meet them here in vignette, with then-and-now pictures: 25 football players of 25 years ago who today serve their fellows as lawyers and judges, ranchers and executives, soldiers and theologians, medical men and atomic scientists

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John Lewis earned nine letters in football, basketball and track at Knox College, a record matched at Knox about once in 25 years. Then he settled down to make his career in his home community of Abingdon, Ill. (pop. 3,300), home of the Abingdon Potteries, which employs 300 of the town's men and women. Lewis is today executive vice-president and general manager of Abingdon Potteries and a leader in the town's civic concerns—as a member of the School Board, of the County Association for Crippled Children, and, among other things, of the fund-raising group that has just gathered $830,000 to enlarge two district hospitals. "I have never seen a person who has succeeded in athletics," he says, "or at least worked hard to compete in athletics, fail to make a success in something else." So far as hiring policy goes under John Lewis, "We're looking for competitive attitude."

Colonel, United States Army

Some of the same qualities that made Pete Kopcsak a formidable end for West Point have made him a man to reckon with in a military career which won him the Silver Star, Bronze Star and a Purple Heart as a tank commander with Patton during World War II and a postwar assignment to military intelligence. From his western Pennsylvania boyhood in a coalmining family, Kopcsak had developed a mastery of Hungarian, and he was sent to Budapest as assistant military attaché. On four separate occasions he found himself in Soviet jails accused of espionage. Twice he talked his way out. Once, in Vienna, being transported between prisons, he was rescued by an international patrol. The fourth time he made a break for it, escaped in a jeep. Says husky Colonel Kopcsak: "Two Russian policemen came along for a while, but they both fell out." Kopcsak is now on duty in Japan.

Surgeon, Centralia, Wash.

After his quarterbacking days George Parke worked his way through medical school in Chicago, turned west again to settle in little (pop. 8,500) Centralia, Wash. Today his gifts and graces have made him virtually the most useful and respected man in town. To a large general practice he adds the specialty of surgery, has served as chief of staff of the Centralia Hospital and is the local ideal of what a doctor should be: "Never too busy to give requested advice, never too rushed to savor the joys of everyday living, never too important to notice trivial things that concern small children"—as one admiring colleague puts it. Dr. Parke works an 80-hour week. "I'm firmly of the opinion," he says, "that coronary attacks are not caused by reasonably hard work. Dissatisfaction with what you are doing and general boredom can cause more trouble of that kind than work ever will."

Captain, United States Navy

Home for Gordon Chung-Hoon is Honolulu, where he was born into a Hawaiian-English-Chinese family and from which he was later appointed to Annapolis. Honolulu has other memories for Captain Chung-Hoon: a few years after his graduation from Annapolis, where he was an authentic Navy football hero, he was a gunnery officer on the battleship Arizona in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese bombs came down. His turn to strike back came later as commander of the destroyer Sigsbee in the final stages of the war and brought Chung-Hoon the Navy Cross for "extraordinary heroism in action" off Okinawa as well as the Silver Star for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity" off the home islands of Japan. Today, a responsible four-striper in the office of the Chief of Naval Operations, his job is helping to evaluate the characteristics required in the support vessels of a changing Navy.

Insurance executive and attorney, Chicago

Arthur Jens went to Northwestern as a tall lanky track star, the champion high hurdler among Illinois schoolboys. Then, says Jens, "I fell in with rough companions and became a football player." A good one, too; against Indiana, skinny Right End Jens charged in and blocked three punts in one game. After night law school, and at the prodigy age of 31, he was named a member of the top command of Trans-World Airlines by TWA's mercurial boss, Howard Hughes. After he was fired ("Howard fired everyone, and everyone was eventually grateful to Howard for forcing them to move into more successful pursuits"), Jens found his own real career as a partner in the big Chicago insurance firm of Fred. S. James & Co., specializing in large industrial accounts. Long active in Northwestern University affairs, he served last year as president of its general alumni association.

Coach and athletic administrator, South Bend, Ind.

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