Archived Story

Cardinal Charlie: Memories of educator John Ames

Published 10:14pm Wednesday, June 27, 2012

When I read in the paper of John Ames’ death, it brought back my memory of how I first met him.

It was at one of our free senior citizens luncheons. He turned out to be a nice old man and was very interesting to talk to.

He told me a lot about his life and later wrote to me.

After getting out of the Army, he went to County Normal at the Oak Street school and taught at the Brick school, where he had a six-man football team. He taught at Brandywine in Niles and later became principal at Justus Gage. He got his master’s at Western Michigan University.

In a letter he wrote me, he sent a copy of what he wrote while working on his master’s. It was “How to Cut Down on Football Injuries.” He sent me a copy of where his paper was forwarded to the WMU archives.

I have always been intrigued by older people and this man, who was well into his 90s when he died, was one of them.

Monroe murders

A while back I got a call one night from Janet Hudak, who lives in Tacoma, Wash.

She wanted to know if I knew much about the Monroe murders here in Dowagiac, and when they happened.

She was interested because her mother had talked about what a terrible thing that happened to a school friend of hers. Her mother and her twin sister were both affected by the tragedy.

One time while in Dowagiac, Janet went to the library, but couldn’t find the date of the murders, so until I wrote to tell her it was 1921, she had not been sure her mother had known Ardith or Neva Monroe.

Roy Elliott and King Gillette

Janet, when growing up, spent wonderful times visiting her grandparents, Roy and Maude Elliott, at 103 Michigan Ave., where Roy had a welding shop behind his house.

Roy as a young man raced horses in Michigan, Illinois and Indiana.  He drove a two-wheeled sulky, like they used to race at the Cass County Fair.

Here was something that was in Berenice Vanderburg’s column. Roy knew more about race horses than most people through his years of experience as a trainer and driver for the late D. Fred Bonine of Niles.

Roy also knew King Gillette (the razor man from here).

He said Mr. Gillette got started out with horses and invented a horse clipper. It was a good one and Roy used it.

He said King Gillette was one of the best roller skaters around and became a millionaire after he introduced the safety razor. He was the promoter and financial backer of a new institution in Los Angeles for the cure of neoplastic diseases.

“Cardinal Charlie” Gill writes a nostalgic weekly column about growing up in the Grand Old City.

By using this website’s user-contribution features, including comments, photo galleries, or any other feature, you agree to abide by the terms of use. Please read this agreement in its entirety because it contains useful information that will help you better understand the rules and general "good manners" that are expected when contributing content to this website.

Editor's Picks