Friday, December 9, 2016

On This Date in Minnesota History: December 9

December 9, 1941 – Faribault, Minn. native Bruce Smith, Minnesota Gopher halfback, was awarded the seventh Heisman Trophy on this date.

“The marquis triple-threat tailback of his era, Smith epitomized the single-wing offense and could seemingly do it all. Although well over 200 pounds, he was one of the Big Ten Conference's fastest men. In 1941, the team captain led the Gophers to their second consecutive undefeated season and national championship. For his efforts, Smith beat out Notre Dame's Angelo Bertelli for the Heisman.”1

Bruce Smith2

“After graduating, the All-American halfback went on to garner MVP honors in the College All-Star game against the Chicago Bears that summer. That next year, before going off to fight in WWII, Smith first went to Hollywood, where he starred in the movie "Smith of Minnesota," about a small-town family whose son becomes and All-American halfback.

“Smith went on to become a Navy fighter pilot, and also played service football for the Great Lake Navy team. He returned home in 1945, and signed on with the Green Bay Packers and later with the Los Angeles Rams. He played for four years in the NFL, mostly on defense, but injuries prevented him from performing up to his unbelievable collegiate standards.”1

“Smith was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1972, and in 1977, he became the first Minnesota player to have his number (54) retired.

“[He] was diagnosed with cancer in the spring of 1967 and succumbed to the disease on Aug. 28 of that year.”1




If you are interested in finding out more about your family history in Minnesota, I specialize in researching  genealogical and historical records in Minn. and western Wis., including:
census records,  birth records,  death certificates, obits, grave site photos, ship passenger lists, marriage records and declarations of intent/naturalization records.  I will visit locations to research local history and county records, as well as take photos. Quick turnaround on MNHS records. Both short searches and family history reports available.

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