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“I would like to pay my respect to Bob Mathias and his family. I did a paper on him when I was in high school. From what I am told by my mother I am related by my dads side of the family. I have always had the upmost respect for all that Bob Mathias accomplished and have strive to emulate just a small portion. Would love to hear from some one from the family maybe it could confirm my back ground.
My sister and I both attended summer camp at the boys and girls camps in the late 70’s. great memories!
“Was a camper in 1970-71. Would love to know what became of my counselor Glen “”Dribble”” Scott. He made a real impression on me!”
Went to Bob’s camp during the summer’s of 1963 and 1964 (I believe). I still remember our hike to ‘Lake Jenny’ in the high sierra’s. Mr. Mathias ran a terrific camp and he was an honorable person.
“Just saw the movie on tcm. Great athlete! He was all go and no show. Nothing like the whoremaster, greedy so called athletes we unfortunately have today. Still wish i had kept the Wheaties box with Bob on the cover! Too bad they broke the mold. Keep running Bob!
“I had the great pleasure of meeting Bob Mathias in 1962. Along with several others I helped start the BoB Mathias Sierra Boys Camp that same summer. I worked there and directed the program for almost 20 years until the camp closed. I was also a teacher in Clovis,California. I considered working at camp to be one of the great experiences of my life and am proud of the wonderful camp experience we offered boys and later girls,also. It was truly a marvelous experience for everyone involved. Thomas W. RamageB”
Thank you Bob. What a goal you have set for young men
“Still a hero. Still an inspiration.
He inspired me to compete in the Decathalon.
I haven’t yet gotten it together in all events at the same
venue as he did. I am still hopeful it will come together for me. “
“Still Our Hero, Semper Fi Pat”
I went to Bobs camp in 75 or 76. It was a whole month and a lot of fun:)
“Scott Spearman……I attended at 9 years old in 1976 as well.
Cookie Cookie listen while we sing to you, Cookie Cookie your a part of camp life too. Anyone can make a bed anyone can sleep but it takes our Cookie to make us something to eat.
Cookie Cookie listen while we sing to you!!”
” In 1966 I heard Mr, Mathias speak. Iwas in a terrible sales slump and I
had been a great salesperson. My sales manager made me go and the
place was packed. After he finished I went back to my car and sit in it for a long time and thoufht about many things he had said and I made up my mind I was going to be the man I could be.
The next day I was a new man and I have beena great salesperson since. I have and do live a great life. Thank God Mr. Mathias entered my life. 70 and still going strong.”
“Just learned a little more about Bob Mathias today.
“This morning (Sat May 18 2013) I caught “”The Bob Mathias Story”” on TCM. I had never heard of Mr. Mathias before. Incredibly inspiring story. Sadly, real athletes like Mr. Mathias are hard to come by these days as it’s all about sex, money and drug scandals. So called “”athletes”” who can barely read or write, make millions per week, and are more famous for their tattoos and “”bling bling”” than for their athletic skills and humility. Rest in Peace Mr. Mathias. “
the greatest athlete of all time.would have won the gold in 56 and 60.we will not see one like him again.
“Went for two years. Had my plain and silver cones for decades. 68 and 69 I think. Broke my first bone in the high jump pit.I remember so much of what happened those weeks constantly doing new things, first flip on the trampolines, first baton pass and counselor playing ragtime on the piano. It was great.”
To a great person on or the feild!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
“Outstanding memories of a few magical summers in the 70’s. Special people, special place, a time to remember forever.
It is good to think back to all that was BMS camps.
Patrick “”Savage”” Quinn “
“Bob Mathias was a good and decent person. I met him during a campaign sponsored by my company where he was a guest. We talked forever about his careers and mine, and how theu were parallel. Just a nice , humble guy.”
“Not sure if i have reached right place, but if i did my favorite teacher in my school years, Mr. Tom Ramage, way back in the 60’s took us on a field trip (i believe)to Bob Mathias Camp, Bob or Tom if you should see this, please respond, would love to catch up with Mr. Ramage, Melonie Thomas, Robin Rogers and myself were so looking to get together, but missed out! Let’s try again! Donna Willis
“I just found this site after been looking for information about this great athlete. My father saw him in the Olympics in 1952 and were so impressed that he namned his youngest son, me, after Mr Bob Mathias. The name Bob is rather unsual in my home country, Sweden. So I often get the question “”Is Bob your real name?””. And I can proudly explain how I got it. Thank you dad!
“Watching the Summer Olympics and reliving my eight years at BMSGC in the 70’s! Although I missed the TV airings, I feel like I know and appreciate the spirit of the Olympics as much as the competitors because of my time in that environment and the many people who touched my life at camp when I was so young. My appreciate for all events/activities and others from all backgrounds and cultures all come from my camp exposure! My parents recently passed away and they kept all my letters, photos, yearbooks and plaques! It is a great walk down memory lane when times were so joyous and carefree.
Now that I’m facing my 50th birthday, I still live by the Olympic Creed which was on the Lodge wall. It’s not whether we win or lose but how we play the game. Behind my parents, my values and sense of being are a tribute to Bob Mathias and all who had a part in camp.
A deep sense of gratitude and appreciation for all involved! It was great seeing many names I recognized in this guest book.
Bob’s incredible back-to-back gold medals many times gets overlooked when the greatest Olympians are discussed! He was one of America’s greatest athletes ever.
“I, like many of the others that have left heartfelt messages about Bob, was forever influenced by not only his greatness, but his amazinging ability to make you feel special. I attended BMSBC from ’72 through ’81 first as a Camper then as a Counselor, “”Toadstool””. I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled I was to have met your grandfather on several occasions both at camp and the “”slide presentations”” held in many homes to promote the camps. My parents hosted one of the slide shows, in Redlands, and Bob was such a true gentleman. I have so many memories of camp and the lifelong friends made there. I was particularly interested in knowing how his niece, Lisa, and nephews, Eric and David are doing. I was always very fond of all three, (David and and I are about the same age) and Lisa played opposite me in the camp musical South Pacific! It was amazing reading all of the messages left, and to see names of counselors that were a huge part of my childhood, hey Bobo, Squiggy, Gland, Mowgli, Savage, Droopy! Would love to hear from all of you again. Thanks for the wonderful memories, Alex.
Fondly, Rick “”Toadstool”” Yarbrough “
“I went to Bob Mathias Sierra Boys Camp in the summer of 1976 when I was 9 years old. I still have fond memories of it today and tell my kids and step kids about it. I had a rough start as I was homesick and crying at night the first week, but ended up loving the camp and not wanting to go home. I still remember the song “”Settlers are all in step we have the settlers pep, working and playing we have a lot of fun and you can see by the things we do settlers are quite a crew… dadadada ,, something like that..I have such great memories of the movies (lost a tooth) the lake, Olympics, cabin and bunks we stayed in, dining room, camp outs,hikes, archery, leather bracelets, camp councelors (Suwee) was mine, and the outdoors. My lips did get fried from the sun and still have scars, but overall an incredible experience. I want to go to the reunion!
“I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Mathias in Las Vegas when he was an invited guest at a corporate event. I have a picture of the great one and myself that I treasure. We chatted for about ten minutes and he was just a nice man. I treasure the photo to this day, and I am honored to have met and talked with him…..Great memories.”
My mother and father Doris Paggi Fortune and Robert Fortune grew up with Bob. My sisters Brother and I grew up knowing him as Uncle Bob. My parents used to have their reunions at our house in Bakersfield and Bob and Sim would always be there to entertain. We worked on his campaigns and he gave out trophies at my brothers little league games. We always bragged about our Uncle Bob. He was not only a great athlete but a wonderful human being also. He is missed by all who knew him.
“Greetings from Finland from someone who was born in Helsinki. I once talked to Bob in order to get the phone nr to Sim Iness. Bob was kind enough to help me and I phoned Sim afterwards to ask about his movies. I’m sorry both Sim and Bob are gone. They were great guys. They don’t make them like this anymore, as the saying goes. I hope I’ll be able to see Warlord of Crete soon, where Bob played Theseus.”
“I attended bob’s camp in 1960 @ the age of 12 with my twin brother . We liked it so much we attended it twice then we attended parade in tulare. Bob was a great inspriation in my life. Ultimately , I became an all-American @ USC . I learned life time lessons from the month I spent @ his camp . God bless”
“Man, only one summer at camp, but, all the memories that reading this guestbook brings back. Carlos, I wonder if we were there for the same session. I had ‘Gitter’ and ‘Zonk’ as well. I don’t remember the cabin name, but I do remember Zonk telling us the classic camp story ‘The Golden Arm’ and Gitter turning us all on to John Denver and Peter Paul and Mary and Creedence. I remember thinking I cracked a rib on those in-ground trampolines and still loving jumping on them. And I seem to recall learning how to shoot an arrow straight and start a fire with flint there. And yes, the night we watched ‘The Bob Mathias Story’ and the man himself came up to talk to us after the movie was a night I will never forget. Thanks to Bob and all the people who made those memories possible for me and so many others.”
“Alex, I was born in Tulare in 1943. In fact your Great-Grandfather was the Dr. that delivered me. I was so blessed to have met Bob when I was a child in Chico, Calif when he came to visit my grandparents and parents. Thank you for this site and the opportunity to recall a precious memory of those no longer with us on this Earth, but never leave our heart.”
“It was my great pleasure to help Bob open his wonderful camp in 1962. I worked there for over 20 years and loved every minute of it as I saw what we were able to do first for boys and then after 9 years for boys and girls. I continued to be great friends with Bob long after the camp closed. I was friends with his first wife Melba and later his second wife, Gwen. My wife Sandi and I were often invited to his famous BBQ parties at camp and also to his home in Clovis. Bob was not just a great athlete, he was a great human being. I was privileged to call him a very good friend and miss him greatly.
My father Richard Cory went to school with Bob’s brother. I remember him telling me that he and my mother went to Visalia in spring of 48 to watch Bob run high hurdles. it was 104 degrees. In London that summer it was in the 50’s.
“I mailed Mr. Mathias a question on his
race against Bob Richards on Brains and
Brawn and he replied,
“”I beat Bob Richards on the TV show
BRAINS and BRAWN.””
Any one have a copy of that race ???
Regards, Ted Leban “
“Hi Alex, I’m the nephew of Grace Harris. Wanted to mention that yesterday (May 17th) was the 100th anniversary of beloved Uncle Paul’s birth! Though I never got to meet Bob, have heard a lot of good things about him. Great job on the website.”
“I had the pleasure to work with Bob in thelate 50’s at the George A Fuller construction company in Los Angeles. GAFCO along with Del Webb and Morrison Knudsen was one of the
leading contractors at the beginning of the missile and space age development for the defense of our Country. Bob, Doak Walker, and Cloyce Box played an important role
in our Public Relations and in the
operational function of our projects.
Loved the camp-camper from 66-72 then counselor in 73 known as GAF! Great memories!!
“My name is Carlos Segui; I was priviledge to spend a summer at Bob Mathias Boys Camp in the summer of 1972. Been foreigner from Acapulco the visit and experience were unforgettable. My couselor’s names were “”Guitar”” and Ed “”Zonk”” Marasco; we were in “”Andrews”” cabin. That summer was my first live college football game as an espectator; the whole entire staff and campers were transported to the stadium by buses for that game.
I would like to contact people from that summer who are forever part of my childwood. All the activities I learned and practice that summer help me to shape my entire life.
I certainly enjoyed visit this side and brag about the Bob Mathias Sierra Boys Camp experience!!.
Warm & Kindest Regards to all.
Carlos Segui Benavides
Dana Point,CA “
“HI ALL…I GREW UP IN FRESNO, CALIF…& IN 1948, (I THINK) , I WAS DELIVERING THE FRESNO BEE (NEWSPAPER, & ON THE FRONT PAGE WAS BOB MATHIAS, WINNING THE OLYMPIC GAMES,….& LATER IN FEB 1960, I WAS STATIONED AT THE 8TH OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES, WHILE IN THE US ARMY , AS A QUARTER MASTER,..& SPENT AN EVENING WITH BOB, FRANK GIFFORD, & WALTER CONCRITE AT SQUAW VALLEY/LAKE TAHOE, DURING THE OLYMPICS…..& WHAT GREAT GUYS!……..I’LL NEVER FORGET IT!….JACK R. ENGLISH…WEST HOLLYWOOD, CALIF………..& 76…UGHH!….”
“Hi, Alex. Not sure if you will remember me, but I was a good friend of your grandfather. I was the UPS guy. Anyway, just wanted to let you know what a nice job you’ve done with this site. Bob would have been very happy! Good luck in the future, hope you’re doing great and tell Gwen ‘hi’ for me!
“Hi Bob. I was a counselor and CIT director at this magical place in the mid 70’s. I try to describe to my friends and love ones how special my memories are of this wonderful place, but my words do not do it justice. I guess you just had to be there. It was the people who worked and played at BMSBC that made it unique. If only things could last forever.
Patrick “”Savage”” Quinn
“Gwen, Its me. Julianne. I have been looking for you for a long time. Please email me. I miss you. How is Alyse? I hope this finds you all doing well. Please contact me @email@example.com.
“What is the name of the town or area where the Bob Mathias Camp was in the Sierras? The California Migrant Ministry staff met there often for its monthly retreats, and I’m mentioning the site in a memoir piece I’m writing. Internet says “”in Kings Canyon Nat’l Park”” but that doesn’t seem accurate with my old memory.”
“I worked for Bob when he first opened his camp in 1962. I continued working their eventually as program until the camp closed in the 80’s. Bob and I became good friends and I attended many functions with him aside from camp. Camp was the greatest experience of my life. My whole family lived there in the summer.Amazingly we still have reunions of staff and campers every year in September. I was blessed to work with such wonderful caring people who became lifelong friends, Bob, Included.
I will attempt to type the message below, but can barely make it out.
Tom “”BoBo”” Ramage”
“I was one of the Johns in Sutter Cabin back in 1970. Had a blast for two summers at BMSBC.Met Bob on two occasions, great guy!”
“I lived in Woodlake when Bob won the ’48 gold at London. We watched the ’52 decathlon in Tulare. Bob’s ability to fall asleep in a stadium rocking with noise was an amazing way to relax. Bob ran for a td in ’49 or ’50 vs. USC, to put Stanford in the Rose Bowl. Doesn’t anyone remember that Sim Inness of Tularw won olympic gold, discus, in ’52 at Helsinki? Bob gained more yards in his senior year at Tulare High than all their opponents. Inness was a tackle. They lost valley semifinals game to Fresno Roosevelt. In the other semifinal game, Bakersfield (Frank Gifford) beat Fresno High (Les Richter) 14-13. Tulare lost to Roosevelt when Mathias failed to score from three yard line on three tries. A great athlete, nonetheless. “
“Hello Alex, during this recent holiday, I discovered my Dad and your Grand Dad were buddies in High School. My uncle, who lives in Exeter told me how Bob Mathias called my Dad to ask him down to LA to be in his movie: ‘The Bob Mathias Story’. My unlce tells me Dad replied: “”…I’ve got 4 kids”” Apparently he DID NOT go. DARN!!”
“I am glad you have created this site. He was a wonderful man.I am the daughter of Betty lou Harris,1st cousin to
Bob and Jim. Marion my grandfather is Lillians brother.My mom spent alot of time with her Aunt Lillian and family when she was young. I have heard many stories of Bob and had visited him in DC when I was young.Uncle Charlie and Aunt Lillian spent hours one day showing me the trophy room at their house.Keep up the good work.
One of the Greatest Athletes that I had the pleasure of watching compete. RIP
One of the Greatest Athletes that I have the pleasure of watching RIP.
“Was trying to track down family history. My family founded Mathias, WV in 1797. If the passed down stories are true, we came to the US from Hugary in the mid 1700s. I would like to learn more of the famiy history if anyone knows more.”
“I have some pictures that I took in Fresno at the Run for the Dream, indoor tack meet 5 years ago. There are some with Bob . I thought the family would like to have them. Let me know your email address or a way to get in touch with anyone in the family.
“I was a camper in 1964, 65, 66. I was there the summer Charleton Heston sent his boy there.
His son was good people, and I never forgot him. I also met Fred Bear the famous archery dude. Although, at the time, I didn’t know the significance, or who he was. I learned a deep respect for the environment and the wilderness through good people counselors, etc. I often have wondered how Bob found such a large collection of quality people? I will always treasure my time spent at BMSBC.
“I just wanted to add, I treasure the time I spent at the camp and met a couple of famous people there, who at the time, I didn’t know they would turn out to be as famous as they would be later in life.”
“was a camper on 1964,1965,1966? two years for sure, that was 44 years ago, lol”
“the only time i seen bob mathias in person was back in 1948 at the university of california edwards field. he was warming up for the discus event. he had thrown it in my direction and i picked it up and handed to him. what a good looking guy he was. i believe this was the same year he went on to win the decathelon event in helsinki. four years later he won it again, the first person to ever do it. he was also a great football player. i will never forget him or that moment. i think he was one of the great athletes of my time. god bless him and keep him…..”
“One of the kids standing in front of Bob and Melba place in the movie was Suzette Fasso, her parents owned Gondalves Fasso Flower shop next to the Rice Bowl restaurant on Tulare street”
I had the honor of working at your grandfather’s camp, Bob Mathias Boys & Girls Camp as a counselor. My era was from 1977 to 1983.
Because of Bob Mathias I met the greatest people in the world. I am presently attending the Camp Reunion tomorrow, Sept. 17th, 2010.
I was able to meet Bob Mathias 2 times and saw him at the camp riding his motorcycle, with his dog trailing, and was able to hear his “”weather”” report.
Of all the great experiences I have ever had, none will ever compare to attending your grandpa’s camp!!! There were many stories, values, lessons, and we learned how to win well and lose well. A lot of kids found that they were valuable individuals in themselves with the help of the counselors and the finest directors who sincerely cared about the campers. That was why we were there. It was for the kids. And in that, we all benefitted from Bob’s Camp. Squiggy “
“I am from Tulare, knew Bob and my 1948 Chev Convt. was used by Bob & Melba in the movie “”The Bob Mathias Story”””
“I worked at Bob’s camp for three summers. It had a great effect on my life. Wonderful man and family!
i was in 1981 a guest of Bob in the OTC Colorado Springs.
He was the greatest men i ever seen.
I dont forget him. Severel times i look the fotos
of Bob in his office in the OTC i have made there.
Regards from Germany
Regards to Ursula Oliver and her family. Sindy and Candy from the OTC. “
“I am so glad to have found this website and to see that Bob’s life and story will reach thousands who may not have had the opportunity to know this man. I had the privilege of traveling with Bob and Melba through Europe in the summer of 1960 before attending the Olympic Games in Rome. The memories of that trip and sitting with a two time Olympic Champion during the games, will always be a highlight of my life.”
“My sister and I went to Bob’s camps in 1972 & 1973. Watching the “”B. M. Story”” was always the highlight of the summer. I have great memories of camp. I especially remember staying at the Lamp Lighter Inn in Visilia on the way to camp. Great group camping trips in Kings Canyon & Sequoia National Parks. The Blue/Green Olympics. It was where I shot my first bow, my first gun, caught my first trout, rocked climbed for the first time, etc… Great memories…”
“Tulare High Class of 1952
Classmate of Bob’s Brother, Jim
I still have a copy of Bob’s Book and as a college student I even invested in his Bob Mathias Story movie. I spent 26 years in the Navy and had served under ADM Elmo Zumwalt, the son of Bob’s father’s medical partner Dr. Zumwalt.
As an aside, I have been on a mini crusade to convince the Tulare Museum curators that there had been two newspapers in Tulare, the Advance Register and the Tulare Bee. At my last reunion there, they claimed “”I must have it mixed up with the Fresno Bee””. Oh Woe! I hope they have corrected that error by now, especially since journalist Irwin had written for it.”
“so happy to have found this! i was a Choctaw in ’79 at bmsgc and it was an amazing experience. is there anything i can find on the web regarding the camp? so many great memories! what was the address of the camp? my family has a cabin not too far away; that’s how we found out about it–near cherry flat, i think…
swan in san ramon, ca”
“The name at the top of my last message should have read Elson Irwin not Rlson Irwin. And why the horrible messages placed in this website?
” I was sports editor of the defunct Tulare Bee in 1948 when Bob Mathias won the Olympic decathlon. He was truly a tremendous athlete and a great person, as were his parents. Charlie Mathias was my doctor for the short time I was in Tulare, I once played “”donkey basketball”” against Bob Mathias. There are so many stories I could tell, but that was so long ago. I was just 20 years old and not long out of high school myself when I got the jo as sports editor on this tiny daily paper. Fred Allen was my editor. Would you believe there were TWO daily papers in that small town of Tulare? Most cities of any size can’t boast of that.
I think that we are related. My dad Jim Sayers and your dad grew up together. He said he had a pair of ice skates that belonged to Bob. My grandfather was Dr. Rolland James Sayers, Palatka, Florida. I am not sure where, but I was told Bob was a cousin. Please let me know if you have any other info. Thanks.
“There was a really osom Pikes Peak Marathon video that the legend olympic athlete Bob Mathias hosted !! It was approximately 2o + minutes long !! It is still available on the internet !!
“I had the pleasure of learning about Bob from my father, who grew up in Tulare and attended High School with Bob. Bob’s father was my family’s Dr. As a little boy my mind would wander in a dream-like state while my father told me about this young boy who he knew, who at the age of 17, became the “”strongest man in the world””. My dad gave me a book “”the bob mathias story”” I think it was…somewhere in the 1st few pages I read; “”They sent a boy to do a man’s job, and he did better than any man could do””…or something like that. I sure would like to have that book again. It wasn’t long after that when I happened to see the movie. My aunt was an extra in the movie. As I grew up, all I wanted to do was achieve what Bob had done. But being born in ’52, would make me only 16 in the ’68 Olympics, so breaking Bob’s age record was out of the question. I ran, jumped, pole vaulted, shot put. I had a pole vault and high jump pit in my back yard from the time I was about 10 years old. Nothing ever came of my endevours, but I fondly look back on an innocent childhood this man touched. His inspiration kept me out of trouble. I’m surprised they haven’t made a remake, and put out an official DVD. I’m also surprised he’s not mentioned when they come up with surveys like “”who’s the greatest athlete who ever lived”” and such. For me, it will always be Bob Mathias. Are you kidding? Who else EVER did what he did AT 17!!!??? I only wish I had met him. My fondest regards to his family, thank you for your time. Jon Oden…son of John Oden who was Bob’s childhood friend. If Bob’s family would be so kind as to look in Bob’s High School Annual, they’ll find my father there.
Thank you dad, and thank you Bob.”
My wife and her sister were delivered Dr.Charlie Mathias in Tulare.
“Alex, I had the pleasure of meeting your grandfather once, shortly before he passed on. I knew who he was at the time, but I have realized over the years through persornal research what he meant to US athletics. Amazing how great he was in a time when young athletes weren’t trained almost from birth.”
“I was there when Bob won his decathlon in Tulare Hi Schools stadium. A memory I will never forget. We sat behind Dr. Charlie and Mrs Mathias. They were two of the most gracious people I ever knew and I was proud to know them. Bob was ahead of me in school but Patricia and I were in the same grade. Seeing your web site was a pleasant surprise.
It’s not often than a whole town can claim a hero and that is how we felt. He was as nice on his return as he was any time we saw him before all this happened. I’m sure he was an inspritation to many young people.
My best to you and your family,and thaank you for the memory.
Paula Jones Bandy”
“Bob was my hero. I have been a pole vaulter all my life. His decathalon wins always inspired me. Met him many years ago in Tennessee at a track meet. Icompete in all field events now in senior olympics, and when competing I think of him often.”
“In a world with few heroes and leadership, we had as an example of an athlete that utilized his discipline, leadership, and applied it to the rest of his life with zeal for the good of the country and the community of which he represented. We thank God for men that, even in their youth aspire for the best.”
“Oops… just found out it was OTC in Quanico, not Korea.. My bad, you hear a lot of stories and they sometimes get confused. I guess I should pay more attention to the stories myself…”
“Thanks for a very good site about your grandfather… My Dad (Richard Masters) was his bunk mate in Korea… and has many stories of your Grandfather that he loves to tell. Please contact me if you want to hear any of them, I will do my best to go through old photos to see if I can find some for your site. Bob Mathias was the greatest athlete of the 20th century, My Dad will certainly atone to to that”
“I was watching an old Gracho Marx, You Bet Your Wife and Bob and his wife were on competing. I wanted to find more on him.
He mentioned in the show that he was going into the Marines, did he serve or did plans change?”
“I just finished watching Bob and his lovely wife in Groucho Marz’s ‘You Bet Your Life’ show, circa 1954. I was so impressed with both of them, I wanted to contact them and say how much I enjoyed them and wanted to wish them well. I am sorry I missed the opportunity to tell Bob what a fine example of an Olympian he was, and wish to tell Mrs. Mathias what a lovely young bride she was, 81/2 months then, I believe. Thank you for this chance to do so. God bless you. Sincerely, Mike Denley”
“Hi Bob: I too was a camper and later counselor at BMSBC. What your grandfather started and supported was probably the most positive influence in my life. I cherish the memories of this very special place, the people who energized it, and Bob’s humor, grace, and spirit he embued there. You’re part of a large family, more than you know, who are are all bound by his humanity and great qualities. I’d love to here from others who were part of BMSBC from the 60’s and 70’s. A first classs hand clap to all, Gland”
“My early childhood was absolutely perfect. I lived in Tulare until 1967. In that year, my Dad decided to ‘go home’ to Arkansas. It was and always will be the single most life changing event in my life. Even being in a foreign country with fatigues on at seventeen doesn’t compare. Skate-boarding is not possible on dirt roads and I had no heroes like Mr Bob Mathias. I attended Roosevelt Elementary; living two blocks from it and with the jr high schools’ athletic fields across the street from my house it was easy to imagine being the next track star from Tulare. Of course, the school I moved to was located in a town of a population of 52; so there was no track and field offered.
But in mid-life now, when I allow myself to day dream, I always return to Tulare and becoming the next son the city could be proud of. Thanks Mr Mathais and the great city of Tulare!”
I once saw the Bob Mathias Story on T.V-is this now on DVD and if so how can I get one?
I am sad that I did not have the pleasure of meeting Bob Mathias. His second wife Gwen Haven Alexander Mathias and I were childhood friends from Arkansas. Gwen has always been one of my favorite friends as we completed 12 years of school together. She is a very fine woman and I am so glad that she and Bob were blessed with 30 years together. God Rest His Soul and Peace be with his family and friends.
“Did Bob have a brother/brother in law in the navy stationed in NYC during the 70’s.
worked for bob at bob mathias camps…very fond memories
“I went to BMSGC the year it opened and then again a couple of more times after that. I always went second session. Here are my favorite meories: the HI LO call, meeting at the logs, overnight campouts, Hume Lake, our own lake, the lovely dining lodge, the smell of the pines and the mountains, spying on the boys skinny dipping, the plays, especially You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (I was Lucy), watching the moon landing in ’69, courtesy bites, lunch with Melba, “”Winnie”” “”Lark”” and “”Flicka””, my first counselors, capture the flag, good friends, songs, skits and that final campfire. People I remember: Kiki Flores, Cathy Campbell, Diana something- very talented girl who played Snoopy, Lisa Whitehead and Jenny Baron who is still my best friend.
I wonder what has become of the camp today. Anybody know? “
“I am very sorry to hear about the loss of such a great american hero. I knew his daughter Megan in 1980; she told me of her father’s contributions to the games; she was very proud of her father. She was a very kind person. Please give her my email address, I’d like to catch up.”
He was my hero. I named my son after him.
My daughter and I enjoyed looking at your site. My family and I lived next door to the Mathias’s in Tulare in the 1950’s until the late 1960’s. Growing up, I knew Bob’s parents pretty well. Dr. Charlie was our family doctor, and I have more than one memory of him bringing his doctor’s bag with him as he visited me for one childhood ailment or another. I used to visit them as a kid, and I remember sitting with Dr. Charlie on the side steps of their house on Cherry Avenue and eating the pecans that fell off their trees there. I can’t think of any people that I grew up around who were more graceful or generous than Bob’s folks. Although he was out of the house before my time, I remember the awe of the neighborhood kids when word got around that Bob was in town for a visit. I too remember Lillian allowing my friends and me to go into the trophy room and look at all of Bob’s trophies and memorabilia. Quite a diversion in Tulare in the early ’60’s!
My brothers were part of the crowd of people in the Bob Mathias Story. I’d love to locate a copy of that, but I have never been able to find one. Thanks for the neat memories of people who are forever part of my own childhood, and whom I will always have a warm place in my heart.
Best, Brian McMurdo”
“A great admirer of Bob Mathias. Being born near his hometown in Sanger California in 1956 and raised in Los Angeles. As a young teenager I participated in track in field while in school. We as student athletes we all looked up to Mr. Mathias as our mentor and the standard we all tried to achieve. What an example he was on and off the track and field. The San Joaquin Valley producing the two greatest decath stars of our time. God rest your soul Mr. Mathias.
Your grandfather’s camp was heaven to me. From 1966-1980 I absolutely had to go to camp, first as a 9-year old, and eventually as a counselor. (Unavoidably, I did miss a couple of summers.) It was an amazing place where we had fun and learned to be good people. As proud as we campers are to have known Bob, he always seemed to be really proud of us too. That’s one of the things that made him so special.
I am so grateful for the opportunity that Bob created for so many of us in building the camp. And thanks to you for creating this website so that we all can continue to remember your wonderful grandfather. It would be awesome to meet you at the next camp reunion — and bring Romel, Megan and Marissa too.
“Someone, please comunicate with me! Please tell me where the specific location was of bmsgc and that awesome rock slide is. I would like to visit these locations some…..40 years later!
Any campers out there from ’71-’73?”
As a child I remember Bob’s brother lived next door to us in Campbell, California. This was in the late 1950’s and he was doing his residency at Santa Clara County Medical Center. We used to watch him through the slats in the fence when he came to visit. It was always quite exciting for us…or at least for my uncle. I was only a small child and he could have been the anyone for what I knew of him. Bob’s niece Jana Mathias was my best friend and I know she loved him and was always excited when he was coming to visit. If you have a way of contacting her, please give her my email address and tell her I have lovely memories of my first bestest friend…I believe I still have her first grade photo in a box somewhere back in the US.
Kindest Regards and I certainly enjoyed visiting this site and being able to brag that I met him.
Kimberly Lamoureaux Jones”
“I knew Bob’s daughter, Megan, at George Washington University. She was a fine person and I remember spoke very fondly of her father and family.
All the best to you and yours.
I have three pics of Bob. One is at Kiski Prep at a track meet with Mercersburg Academy. The other two are from a tour he took in Ft. Myers about three years ago.
“Thanks Alex….I just received “”The Bob Mathias Story”” in the mail. I’m going to invite it some friends over to view it with me tonight.
Thanks Again….I do apprciate the effort you have put into getting this movie for me. I only wish my brother Mike was with us so he could view it also.
“Alex….Thank you so much….I have been looking for this movie for a very long time. I was in a scene that was in front of Bob Mathias family home. They lived on King Street just off of Cherry Ave. I live on Apricot Ave just about 2 block from his home. I was their paper boy. Mrs. Mathias (Bob Mathias Mother) was so nice to me. Each time I went to collect for the paper she would ask me in to look at Bob Mathias trophies and he had a ton of them. I knew his brother Jim and Sister Pat very well. Pat actually saved me from a fight with some bullies. I was standing in front of Tulare High School when some bullies started picking on me. I was only thirteen years old and very small. Patricia, Pat, came up and scolled them and told them that she was going to tell Jim. So they left me alone.
Thank You so much….you can’t image what this mean to me.
“Hi my name is Donald Mathias and I live in Colorado, was born and raised here. Not sure if we are related at all. But saw the site and thought that I would say hello. “
“I liked the wild jeep rides with Bob while at Camp. We’d drive anywhere except on the road. Bob was an inspiration. He taught me to go for your dreams, explore the wild side and to think outside the box.
The whole Bob Mathias Sierra Boys Camp experience was great!
Wish I could find a clean DVD copy of the Minotaur and The Bob Mathias Story… saw them every year at camp and I want my girls to see them!
I still have an autograph that Bob signed after a workout of my St Petersburg High School(Florida)track team. I remember how inspired we all were when he visited us.
“My family used to watch the Bob Mathias story back in the 80s & we enjoyed it very much. My husband would compete in the Decathlon during the CA Police Olympics every year. My husband never took home the Gold but has many medals in Silver. Our young son (8 at the time) used to say that if he had a son he would name him Mathias.
Well lo & behold my now 31 year old son & his wife just had twins! They were blessed with a girl & boy. Guess what? He named his son Mathias.”
In honor of Tommy.
“I was privileged to spend two summers at the Bob Mathias Seirra Girls Camp. It was a time in my life that I recall often — wonderful memories that never seem to fade. I was able to meet not only Bob and his wife Melba, but their daughter Marissa. She was my “”camp best friend”” one year and even though I never spoke with her again, I have never forgotten her and the bond we formed. Since learning of Bob’s death, she has been on my mind and I just wanted to reach out to say hello. I really enjoyed reading all the postings here from all those that were touched by your father and your family — including me. Vicki “
“Just looking around to see what kind of presence BMSBC has on the web. I was a camper, for two consecutive summers, as a Pioneer, in Sutter cabin, I believe the ’71-’72 years. My sister was also a camper at that time. I remember one of my councelor’s name was Scarecrow. Boy, that was a long time ago. One of the summers, all eight campers were named John, thus the need for the nick names!
Two of the best summers of my life.”
“I was telling my son about a visit a long time ago from Bob Mathias’s mother Lillian. I looked at the wonderful book she put together on the family tree. If you do not have a copy of that I will send it to you. I guess you would consider me your 4th cousin. I live in San Diego and have my own Health Insurance agency.
Let me know if you would like a copy of that Family History booklet your Great-Grandmother wrote.
Rhonda Hughes Norton”
“I was born in Tulare myself & grew up around the corner from the Mathias home. In the early 60’s, I was a child and remember walking by the Mathias home and Dr. Marthias, (Bob’s father) invited us in to see Bob’s trophy room. How excited we were to see all of his accomplishments. From that day forward I always wanted to be a track star like Bob. He is truely a hero in my mind.”
“Thanks so much for this website. I hope you are able to add many pictures here. As a high school teenager I was able to meet Bob Mathias, and was properly enthralled! It was so exciting. I attended New Canaan High School and he came there for a shooting, I believe a commercial. I think that was the moment I fell in love with him. The only one I’m sure! lol
I am disappointed in the articles I read and the reporting I hear during the Olympics. They seem to have forgotten his awesome athletic feats as well as the rest of his life. Maybe something can be done about that. I just read an article posted about the decathalon winners and no mention of him was made. That is a shame.
Thanks again and good luck with this.
Nice site I am currently attenting TULARE UNION HIGH SCHOOL and i ran on the same track Bob did ^-^ in the school they have his jersey and a few other things up.
“I was eleven when Bob Mathias gained fame as an athlete, and was held out to me as an example of integrity, dedication, and achievement. I followed his career through the years, and am happy to say he never failed me. While I didn’t rise to his heights of accomplishment, I maintained an honest and forthright path through a useful career, partly as a result of Bob Mathias’ inspiration.
I think of him frequently, and thank him each time. Members of more recent generations have a difficult time finding such genuine public figures for patterning their ways of being. We were lucky.
Thanks to Bob Mathias, and to his family, for making this site available.
“Happy Father’s Day Dad… sure do miss you. Love, Romel”
Good to see the many changes you’ve made! Keep in touch!
“I’m a student at Dartmouth College. Some of my friends here are named ‘mathias,’ and I was just wondering if they’re possibly related to this Mathias, because they’re good friends of mine and people I respect a good deal. I don’t know if there’s any way to even figure this out, but I was just wondering. Thanks!”
“Trying to find the movie ‘The Bob Mathias Story’- not on Ebay. My nephew just discovered he has track & field talent. He has dyslexia so need the movie.
Your grandfather was a great man. I attended his funeral. patrick dunning”
“Just obtained a copy of one of the books about him named Across Fields of Gold, I believe.
Great book! Great man! I’m proud to say I was a member of the Armed Forces (USAF) as he was.
The way he maintained his humility throughout all
of his fame is an example for all of us to follow today.
Thank you for this fine website.
“Alex…You’ve done a good job with this website. I think of your grandpa every day. He was my hero and my close friend.
I loved watching the videos. We in the San Joaquin Valley were so proud of Bob as an athlete and as a fine young man !
“I remember my Grand mother talking about your grandfather her maiden name was Mathias and she lived in Mt Carmel,PA. She said that he was a cousin. But that when joined the military that she lost touch with him. She now Lives in Lancaster PA with my Parents.”
I was honored to meet Congressman Bob Mathias in Porterville CA when he was running for re-election. I had just turned 18 and it was going to be my first opportunity to vote in an election. It was a great pleasure to meet such a wonderful human being!
“Glad to find this site. My mother from Pittsburgh recently died. In going thru her papers, I found an 8×10 glossy of her uncle, a local sports writer. His name was Robert “”Buzzy”” Klingensmith. He is in the photo with a KISKI prep track member. In searching the web, I am guessing that it is Bob Mathias. Would you be interested in copy? Lila”
Bob was part of the good years that I remember so well.Very sad he is gone.A great athlete
“His story was very inspiring to me, and I thank the Lord for his gift of inspiration for his generation and for the next generation of athletes. You can be very proud of your grandfather and for the athletes that followed him.”
“So sorry to hear of Bob’s passing,I have known him from way back building the Camp, my parents owned Snowline Lodge, I last heard from Bob in 2004 He will be greatly missed, Barbara”
“Hello Bob, I had been wondering about you & how you are the e-mail address I have is not a good one. I am not living in Greece anymore the Olympics were great. Formerly Barbara Sulsberger”
Proud to call Tulare home.
“I worked with Bob at the Colorado Springs training center. I was over the food services, still have a silver plated cake server he gave to me first day at the center. Bob was a man of his word and alway had a open ear to any one that needed to talk. He will be missed. Doug Karstrom”
“I had the pleasure and honor of meeting Bob Mathias in 1952 in Moshi, Tanzania. I mention him in my “”memories”” page….. http://www.angelfire.com/pa5/markpa/“
“Hi, My grandmother was Bob’s babysitter. I have a picture of her with Bob and his sister. Bob looks to be around 8 years old in the photograph. I can email you a scanned version, if you like. firstname.lastname@example.org“
“I worked at the camp (Bob Mathias Sierra Boys/Girls Camp) summer of ’72. I was a dishwasher, so I actually got to see the girls at the girls camp. Bob was getting a serious challenge for his Congress seat that year, so he was around more than in other summers, or so I was told by others who’d been there before. They showed The Bob Mathias Story and The Minotaur, both starring Bob & his wife, to each session of campers. I have a bit of a story about my time there at http://www.geocities.com/johns1952/skunks.htm.”
It’s great to share the same name of such a legend.
An all around good guy. What a rewardful life he had and such amazing accomplishments.
tulare union loves u!!!
Bob was the man
“i have a story you might like to hear.i got a phone call in 1987 from some lady from the sullivan awards.i was living in indianapolis.she said is this bob mathias,i said yea,she said thee bob mathias,waitng a second and said yes well she got very excited said she thought i lived in the midwest but was not sure.she wanted me to speak at the awards.so after about ten minutes of information i asked her what is the sullivan awards.she thanked me for wasting her time.i was born in 1960 named after your grandfather. well that was my brush with greatness.i got the movie some years back. our name was originally spelled matthias take care bob mathias”
“Alex, You did a great job with the video tribute to Bob!!! Thanks for posting it! Hope to see ya at the reunion.”
“Alex, thank you so much for doing this. Mowgli is right- The camps were a great leagacy. Most of my dreams are of my days at his summer camp. Thanks again. 831 685 8533″
“Dear Alex, Thank you for taking on this web page. If I had a Beta machine I’d send it…. I can’t wait to see more. Your mother is a beautiful lady. I knew her and her wonderful family when she was a girl. And I miss them all very much. God bless you! Denis”
I went to Bob Mathias Sierra Girls Camp every summer from 1969-1978. This camp is one of Bob’s great legacies. He had a profoundly positive impact on the life of every child who attended. Bob is part of the very best part of us all.
“Hey Alex, Your grandfather was an awesome man! I was priveliged to be a camper from 1966-1972 then a counselor in 1973. Rich “”GAF”” Fischbeck. I live in Irvine Ca. 949 551 9002.”
Camp alumni. Thanks for the 9 great years of memories. I owe much of who I am today to my camp experiences. A truly amazing man and hero.
“Alex, I met your Grandfather in 1980 at the camp he once owned. I worked there several years and enjoyed every moment of it and the camp has played an important part of my life. Within the past few years we alumni started a camp reunion web site for staff, campers and families and we have had 2 large reunions at camp and several mini reunions throughout california. The latest reunion at camp was about 2 weeks after Bob’s passing and it was quite an emotional time. we celebrated his life while sharing many memories. A couple of his closest friends were there. I have made a tribute to Bob on DVD and shared it with everyone who was there and Bob’s wife has a copy as well. I would like to put it up on your site if possible. Anyway, I invite you to join the web site and go through the many messages left by past staff members regarding your Grandfather, I think it will touch your heart as it has with all of us. Please contact me at your earliest convenience. Chuck”
“Congratulations on doing the Bob Mathias website, Alex. I loved the two videos because they have such a great “”feel”” of Bob’s spirit. Not only was your grandfather the incredible athlete that he is so famous for, but he was such a kind and great person. I was fortunate enough to meet Gwen and many of his friends and that was also a great measure of the man, by how much everyone loved him. Working with him on the Across the Fields of Gold book, was a great honor for me. What a great guy. Good luck and best wishes to you.”
“Am doing some research for a book on former athletes who appeared in movies and since he was my favorite T&F of all time, thought I would start here.”
Alex…..I have admired your grandfather for over 40 years..use that love and inspiration…..FINISH THE SITE!!! Philip Bourdon
I saw Bob Mathias at Stanford do an exhibition on hurdling he was magnificent
i heard a tape your grand father gave at an amway convention. it made a great impression on me.i would love to be able to get a copy of it. thanks
“Is there any way to get a copy of the movie “”The Bob Mathias Story””? I’ve been searching online all night and I can’t find it anywhere. Please let me know.”
“I met your grandfather several times during the ’96 Olympics here in Atlanta. Our daughter was attending Stanford at the time, and when we introduced them a day later, Bob was so gracious and nice to her. Bob was my 1st idol when I was growing up in So. Ca. When I finally met him ( in my 50s ), I was still impressed!”
i never knew bob but i know him as him being a champion. P.S. I NEED HELP ON MY HISTORY CAN YOU HELP ME FIND HISTORY ABOUT HIM.
I’ll never forget that moment I experienced in London.My other sports moment was hearing the PanAm capt announce the US Hockey team win as I was flying between India and London. Both proud moments for an American but Bob Mathias’ tops my list.
“BOB MATHIAS, YOUR GRANDPA, WAS MY INSPIRATION TO PARTICIPATE IN TRACK AND FIELD. I WENT ON TO POLE VAULT, BROADJUMP, AND RUN THE 1/4 MILE WITH SOME SUCCESS. I WISH I COULD HAVE TRIED THE DECATHALON, BUT THINGS DIDN’T WORK OUT THAT WAY. READING HIS LIFE STORY AND SEEING HIM STAR IN HIS MOVIE WILL ALWAYS BE FOND MEMORIES. A GREAT MAN. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK WITH HIS WEB SITE.–REGARDS, RICH PALLONETTI”
I miss my grandfather and because of all of the things that he did something always reminds me of him. For example I work out at the Air Force gym in Colorado Springs and they have all of the Olympic posters up on one wall. When even I walk by I look for ’48 and ’52 and remember him and all of the extraordinary things that he did. But most of all I remeber how great of a grandfather he was.
“Bob Mathias has been one of my heros since I was a teenager. I have been trying to find a movie he stared in called: It Started in Athens. Bob played the role of the young Greek who won the marathon in 1896. Netflix does not have it, but it is a movie worth showing.”
“Hello Alex, Appreciated your grandfather much! He influenced me when I was young, with his wholesome movie “”The Bob Mathias Story.”” I became a winning pole vaulter, now I’m a Pastor. How can I get a copy of that movie? Thanx Dick Bashta Crown Point, Indian”
“When I was a girl growing up, my brother and I attended Bob Mathias Sierra Boys and then also Girls Camp. I have so many wonderful memories from those years and had the priviledge of meeting him, and also seeing the movie about him! What a wonderful way to tribute such an incredible man.”
“I had an unusual event lately that involved Bob Mathias. I met Bob briefly at a B & B in Twain Harte, CA in early June of this year. Apparently him and his wonderful wife were in the area for a family wedding. He did not look very well, and later his wife explained he had just had some cancer treatment and felt weak. The next morning at the breakfast table, there were several people VERY interested in speaking with Bob, and later many were posing for pictures with him and his wife. I really didi not know who he was at the time, but the owner of the B&B said “”Oh, that’s Bob Mathias, one of the greatest athletes ever””. Well, just last weekend I was in Incline with a group of friends and one had this wonderful story of how years ago he spent a weekend at Stanford as a football scholarship prospect. It was a very special weekend because he was hosted by Bob Mathias the entire weekend. He stayed at his faternity and was truly amazed with this man. Just wanted you to know that your grandfather touched many people in his life, and I’m lucky to have met him once.”
“You are doing an important thing. Your grandfather was not only a rare and special athlete but, more importantly, a rare and special man.”
Great memories and a tribute to Stanford with his wonderful talent and contribution to the world’s sports. My best to Melba. Sara Lee Anderson O’Connor
“Just about the coolest guy ever. Still can’t believe that I met him before I even knew who he was, and then flipped out afterwards. hah, excellent man indeed.”
“My name is Gary Bastien, back in 1983 I had the third highest decathlon score in the United States when Bob Mathias was the director of the U.S. Olympic training center in Colorado Springs. While we were staying there, Bob Mathias and his wife Gwen were gracious enough to invite all of the decathletes over to their house for dinner. To this day it is one of the highlights of my life and I am so glad they did that for us. (we had the top 10 U.S. decathletes at the training center at the time) When I was in 8th grade, in 1973 I came across a book in the Grandville library about Bob Mathias. Like Bob, I was from a small town too, and I could see that I had some of the same skills athletically to set out and try to be like Bob. You can imagine the thrill I had to be eating dinner in his house just 10 short years later, having reached my dream of being one of the best decathletes in the United States. I so thank you and Bob for opening your home to us. Gwen, thank you so much. And Bob thank you for being one of the last TRUE American heroes, drug free and modest in victory. Gwen, Bob signed one of those nice large posters that were painted of him and I have it here in my office. Down in the corner I have the picture with me, Bob, Harry Marra and Coach Bozeman. I will cherish it forever. Most importantly, I will continue to try to give to other kids the way Bob did, and only hope to have the modesty and dignity he displayed the short, yet precious time I got to know you and him can become part of who I am. I grieve for your loss and his passing. He touched so many people and really, Bob Mathias will live on forever. With all my deepest regrets, and thanks to Bob for inspiring me and paying for my college education. (via track scholarship) Gary Bastien Saline, Michigan 1983 Pan American Games team member and third place at Sr. Nationals, decathlon event”
You have no idea how much I admire your Grandpa Alex
I’ll miss coming over and hanging out with you and gwen for dinner. You were very kind and hospitible. A lot of people will miss you.
“Alex, Your grandfather was a great inspiration to me when I was 14 years old. I became a discus thrower and shot putter in high school & college. You are blessed to be kin to this wonderful person. Best to you in your own road to greatness. RJA”
This is going to be a great website and tribute to your grandfather:) He must be very proud to have such a grandson who would do all this for him:) you’re awesome Alex
“A wonderful tribute to a wonderful man…who I am proud to call my friend and more. May this web-site inspire countless individuals, just as Bob himself did. People of the world could learn a lot from him on how to live your life, treat your fellow man, and make the world a better place simply by your own actions and the morals/values that you uphold. May this web-site continue to help others realize their own potentials.”
“I have researched his accomplishments and have always been impressed. I am glad to share a name with a man like him. Thank You for setting the bar high. Bob Mathias Prior Lake, MN”
I love you Grandpa Bob!