“Ace and my Dad played football together on that 1939 team at San Jose State.
“Ace and I had the same birth date and always exchanged letters at this time and Christmas.
“I attended Cambrian School in 1946 in the third grade. Such a great little school.”
Many of you know that my father was an avid letter writer. He did it in longhand, never taking to computers or even typewriters (although we found an old one of mine in his office.)
Fred Hodgson sent us a PDF copy of a letter Ace wrote to him in March of 2011 shortly after Fred’s mother Joy passed away. In the letter Ace shared some memories of his and Barbara’s lifelong (or close enough) friendship with Ham and Joy Hodgson.
Dear Bobbie and Josh,
John, Michael, and I are terribly sorry to hear about your loss of your father. No expression of sympathy — no matter how deeply felt — can help much right now, but we want you to know that our thoughts are with you. Ace and Barbara were very much a part if our parents’ lives. It was the foundation of that friendship that helped to make them the wonderful examples to others during their lives.
When I received the attached letter from your father after our mother passed in February 2011, I telephoned your father. We had a fun conversation about the remembrances of his times with Ham and Joy. I thought at the time that we was over 90 years of age and yet recalled the details of his life and memories with such accuracy. My dad spoke often of his college days with Ace, the jokes they played on each other, the war years, getting together as we all grew up and being the best man at your folks’ wedding. The four of them had many good times together and were truly participants of the Greatest Generation.
I don’t know if you have seen this letter but imagine you will enjoy reading it as others may — I believe the letter speaks for itself. My brothers and I are so grateful that Barbara and Ace were part of our parents’ lives.
Here is the letter that Fred mentions. Click on this link to open it. Letter from Ace March 9, 2011
We are very grateful to Fred for passing this treasure along.
Some people knew him as Delos. Some people knew him as Dee. Some people knew him as Ace.
Some people were confused as to what to call him.
He was named Delos after his father’s best friend Delos Bowerman who sang in the church choir with his father and mother back in Wichita, Kansas.
The Bagby family pronounced his name DEE-LOSS, but most people he met called him DUH-LOSS or DELL-US.
When he was attending San Jose State, people had the same trouble nailing the pronunciation. One day his boxing coach, who was very proud of how Dee had been performing in the ring, shouted out, “You’re an ace.”
The name Ace quickly caught on. His buddies loved it because they could pronounce it.
It stuck with him for the rest of his life, and it became his name of choice.
One of Ace’s best sports memories was being a member of the famous undefeated 1939 San Jose State Spartans football team.
The Spartans marched over the competition to finish with a 13-victory year, no losses. The Spartans had a 11-2 record for the 2012 season. The only other undefeated season came in 1932 when the Spartans went 7-0-2.
In the photo Ace is number 31 on the bottom row. You’ll notice that there is some duplication of the numbers.
(Click on the photo to see an enlarged view.)
The legendary Pop Warner was an advisory coach for this team.