OCHS gala to honor memory of Ormand Beach

Kathryn SwanJ-C Correspondent
OCHS gala to honor memory of Ormand Beach

Who was Ormand Beach and why is the PHS Stadium named after him?

In preparing for the Osage County Historical Society’s annual meeting, event Chair Shirley Roberts did extensive research on this remarkable local athlete. After reviewing her results, Ormand Beach was not only an outstanding athlete and student, but a remarkable young man.

Ormand “Dilly” (his Pawhuska nick name) Beach was born October 28, 1910, in Ponca City but grew up in Pawhuska. Dilly graduated from PHS in 1929 and was the most outstanding football player ever to come out of Pawhuska High School. From 1925 until 1928, he also excelled in basketball and track.

Beach served as captain of the PHS football team from 1927-1928. He made the mythical All-State eleven as a fullback in 1928. He also served as captain of the PHS basketball team in 1929. In track, he specialized in the javelin and discus throws. The Kiwanis club awarded Beach its cup for the Best All-Around High School Athlete.

“Dilly was more than just an athlete,” continued Roberts. “During his senior year, the American Legion presented him with a medal naming him the best senior student. Further, he served as vice-president of the student council, was co-editor of the year book and in the honor society. In the 1929 yearbook ‘Senior Will,’ Beach willed his well-worn athletic togs and ability to every athlete at PHS to bring honor, glory and friends to them, as they have to him.”

Following high school graduation, Beach went on to earn fame as a fullback and linebacker at Kansas University where he was a member of the 1930 Big Six Championship team, made All-Conference as a sophomore in 1930, and became an All-American.

After graduating from KU in 1934 with a degree in petroleum engineering, Beach played professional football in Canada with the Sarnia Imperials. He was selected as All-Canadian Pro Conference Player four years in a row. With the Imperials, he helped lead the team to four league championships in which they were named the Ontario Rugby Football Union All Star Team of 1934, 1935, 1936 and 1937. In addition, he led the Imperials to two Grey Cup Championships in 1934 and 1936. In 1937, Beach was awarded the Imperial Oil trophy as Most Valuable Player in the ORFU as a flying wing and a linebacker. He was elected posthumously into the first Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1963.

On Sept. 21, 1938, at the age of 27, Ormand Beach was killed in an oil refinery explosion in Sarnia, Ontario Canada. On Oct. 31, 1947, the Pawhuska High School Football Stadium was renamed Ormand Beach Stadium — a tribute to the memory of a fine Pawhuskan.

Ormand Beach will be remembered at the Osage County Historical Society’s annual meeting and auction Saturday, May 2. The BBQ dinner will be held 6:30 p.m. at the Osage County Fairgrounds Agricultural Building. Sixty-eight Ormand Beach Award winners will also be recognized.

“We still need contact information for John Nunley and Tony Leonard,” said Roberts. Nunley received his award in 1982 and Leonard in 1987.”

The live auction will feature art, books, collectibles and antiques relating to Osage County history. Donations are currently being accepted. Advance tickets are $25 and available at the museum.

For more information, contact Shirley Roberts at 918-287-4517 or Garrett Hartness at 918-287-2666 or the museum at 918-287-9119.