John D. McGregor
Pine Ridge, SD
1935, 2756, Pierre, S-207 1st Lt. Inf-Res. Ass't commander
1937, 2756,Pierre, S-207 1st Lt. Inf-Res. Exchange Officer
He may be the only athlete in Chadron State history who was recruited by the college's president. It occurred in the summer of 1931. McGregor had completed two years at Wentworth Military Academy in Missouri and was planning to attend the University of Wyoming. His father had recently been named the Bureau of Indian Affairs superintendent on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Late in the summer, the father and son decided to stay overnight in Chadron while en route to Laramie. From their vantage point in the Blaine Hotel downtown, they noticed footballs in the air at the south end of town and went to investigate. The Eagles were practicing. When the McGregors arrived on campus to watch, they were approached by CSC President Robert Elliott, who, as was his custom, was attending practice.
Elliott told the McGregors that Chadron State was a fine school and said John should attend it. His father thought that was a good idea since it was close to the family's new home in Pine Ridge. They went to the Western Union office in Chadron and sent a telegram to Wentworth requesting that a transcript be sent to the registrar at CSC. They also wired Wyoming that John would not be attending there.
McGregor played both football and basketball at CSC. He earned all-conference honors in basketball both years he played and was the Nebraska Intercollegiate Athletic Association's scoring champion on the CSC 17-4 basketball team his senior year in 1932-33. He also was the college's intramurals champion in tennis.
After graduating, he coached at Batesland, S.D., before working in several Civilian Conservation Corps camps. He was an Army officer during both World War II and the Korean War and later was a supervisor for the U.S. Postal Service in Seattle. He and his wife bequeathed $10,000 to both the CSC Rodeo Club and the Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center.x
John D. McGREGOR 93, passed away November 20, 2003, in Seattle. He was born January 22, 1910, in Washington, D.C., the son of James and Nella McGregor. John was a retired Army Lt. Colonel, retired administrative postal employee, and a retired recreational golfer, but never retired from being a character with leprechaun smile and raised eyebrow.
Through the years John maintained a close relationship with his alma mater Nebraska's Chadron State College. A rodeo fan for years he contributed to the CSC Rodeo Club Fund. John also contributed to education programs at the Marie Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center. He enjoyed athletic events and was a member of the CSC Athletic Hall of Fame.
After graduating from CSC State College and teaching for two years, he was part of the Civilian Conservation Corps. In 1940 he was called to active duty in the Army. He had a distinguished military career that included four years in the Pacific during WWII. In 1951, after serving as commander of the Physical Education Training Center at Fort Lee, VA., he was sent to Korea for a year as executive officer for the 7th Infantry Division Quartermaster. Following his discharge from the Army, he worked 19 years at a Seattle Post Office as an administrative assistant to the director of operations and retired in 1970.
John had been an avid hunter and fisherman, loved golf, dogs, horses, buffalo and watching rodeo. He enjoyed sports on TV. He had a talent for leather work and made belts, purses, "winter count" replications, and leather art for friends and family. He and his wife, Bernice, traveled to Hawaii, Canada, and Las Vegas. He was active in Masonic and Veterans' organizations. He had been recognized as a 60-Year-Member of the Masons. He belonged to St. Johns Lodge #9-Scottish Rite, York Rite and Nile Shrine. John was a contributing member to the Shriners Hospital for Children and to The Center for Childhood Language Disorders. John was active in the Nile Golf Club and Washington State Seniors Golf Association until breaking his hip on a golf course at the age of 84. He had been a resident of Foundation House in Seattle but resided at Foss Home for the past three years.
His family wishes to thank Harold and Pauline Goldstein, Ralph and Clara Wright, Harold Swanson, Mike Barnes, and Bob and Goldie Stagg who were his loyal friends for many years. The family from out-of-state appreciates the help that John's Seattle friends and acquaintances extended to him and his niece Virginia. "Uncle John" will be missed with his dry wit, stories of living on the reservation as a youth, practical philosophy, unusual perspectives, generosity, and unspoken kindnesses.
John is preceded in death by his beloved wife of 58 years Bernice, his parents James and Nella McGregor, and sisters Virginia Coffey and Jean Heemstra. His father, James, was Superintendent of several Native American Reservations and his mother, Nella, continued helping Native Americans with education goals after her husband's death. John continued that tradition by providing two scholarships for Native Americans at Nebraska's Chadron State College, as well as contributing to public schools in various states. He is survived by nieces Virginia McGregor (AZ.), Betsy Drulard (CO.), Kris Kirchgasler (SD.), and nephews John Heemstra (SD.) and Leo Coffey (HI.), along with grandnieces and nephews.
At John's request, no formal services will be held. Entombment will be at Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery. Memorial contributions are suggested to Shriners Hospitals for Children.
xChadron State College
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