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The WAWLI Papers, page 1


ACCIDENT MAY COST McGUIRK HIS ONE GOOD EYE

Associated Press, February 8, 1950


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. --
A freak accident may cost professional wrestler LeRoy McGuirk, Tulsa, his one good eye.

The eyeball and eyelid were severely lacerated.   He underwent surgery this morning and his doctor said it will be some time before full effect of the injury can be determined.   At Arkansas Baptist hospital here, it was reported that McGuirk was thrown against the windshield.   The impact broke his glasses and the broken glass cut his eye.

McGuirk was not driving.   The driver was Bob Clay of Muskogee, wrestling protege of McGuirk.   He stepped on the brake, which "grabbed," throwing McGuirk into the windshield.   Clay was not hurt, and didn't lose control of the car.

McGuirk and Clay were driving downtown to eat after wrestling on the card in Little Rock.   McGuirk reached in the back seat for his hat and had to get up on his knees to reach what he wanted.   At that instant a truck pulled from the side of the road directly in their path.   Clay was forced to slam on the brakes.   The sudden stop threw LeRoy into the windshield.

McGuirk lost one eye in childhood, but became a top-ranking amateur wrestler at Oklahoma A&M.   He has been a well-known professional wrestler for many years and is recognized as the national junior heavyweight champion.


CHEER FROM FRIENDS WOULD HELP LEROY McGUIRK

Tulsa World, February 9, 1950
by B.A. Bridgewater, Sports


Friends of LeRoy McGuirk -- and he has them in Tulsa by the hundred -- could boost his spirit no end by sending telegrams of good cheer to him in the Little Rock hospital where he awaits the verdict on the operation that followed his eye injury.

It's a bleak outlook for the one-time Tulsa Central and Oklahoma A&M star athlete who achieved brilliant success despite the handicap of having only one eye.   If he is reminded that friends are rooting for his recovery it will help his morale and very possibly improve his chances to win the fight against infection.

Mrs. Virginia McGuirk is with her husband at Little Rock.   She flew over yesterday immediately after being advised of his injury.


LEROY McGUIRK GRANTED DIVORCE IN DISTRICT COURT

Tulsa World, February 10, 1953

LeRoy McGuirk, former junior heavyweight wrestling champion of the world, Monday was granted a divorce from his wife in Tulsa district court.   He charged her with gross neglect and extreme cruelty.   McGuirk, who held his ring title for 11 years until he was blinded in an automobile accident in February, 1950, was granted custody of the couple's 13-year-old daughter and was given all the couple's real and personal property.

His wife, Mrs. Virginia Lee McGuirk, signed a waiver permitting the suit to be heard the same day it was filed.   The peitition did not list any specific charges other than claiming gross neglect and extreme cruelty.   McGuirk's request for custody of the girl, the family home, at 3707 S. Sandusky Ave., and an 800-acre farm in Rogers County were not contested.   The couple was married October 25, 1930, in Muskogee.


EXCERPT FROM TULSA WORLD ARTICLE

January 10, 1982

"I guess you might say it was my fault," McGuirk says today.   "I was twisted in my seat and not properly braced.   I insisted on wearing my dark glasses most of the time because I didn't think my false eye matched my good one."   Tragically, the lens over the good eye was the one that shattered and the broken bits destroyed his remaining vision.   The lends over the false eye was undamaged.

Doctors at Little Rock treated LeRoy to no avail and on the advice of his Tulsa opthamologist, the late Dr. Charles G. Stuard, LeRoy went to Baltimore for conferences, operations and treatment.   Finally the word came down; he probably would never see again.   You don't recover from such a situation easily.   But LeRoy did with the help of multitudes of friends and admirers.   Wrestling had been good to him and he had made money, too.

Over the years, he had been buying grazing land east of Claremore.   The ranch embraces about 1,600 acres now, including four houses, he estimates.   He bought a half-interest in Sam Avey's wrestling promotions in Tulsa and a half-dozen other cities.   When Avey -- the Tulsa wrestling boss since 1924 -- relinquished the promoter's reins,, McGuirk fell heir in 1958.   Aided by Strangler Lewis, McGuirk conceived the idea of promoting wrestling shows throughout the country to raise funds for the Leader Dog Schools for the Blind.   He was able to raised $55,000 from these bouts for the construction of a new dormitory for blind students at the Rochester, Mich., school.

He and his second wife, Dorothy, eventually incorporated as Championship Wrestling, Inc., with offices in the Expo Pavilion where the weekly wrestling bouts are put on, carrying on the match-making chores for a half-dozen or more professional wreslting centers in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.

LeRoy's office has pictures of wrestling and entertainment figures he has encountered the past 45-50 years.   Some are obvious, with or without autographs -- persons such as Sam Avey, Ed (Strangler) Lewis, Johnny Mullins, Jack Dempsey, Gene Autry, Curtis Huff, B.A. Bridgewater, Jack Benny, Hugh Finnerty, an Oklahoma A&M wrestling team (including LeRoy) sporting cowboy hats, W.C. Fields, James Cagney and many others.

He has his typewriter at his desk and points out he uses the touch system, learned in high school when his ambition was for a newspaper career.   He had a year or two of the fundementals of printing then, too.

A nationwide radio network broadcast by Ted Malone from Chicago honored LeRoy in 1952 for his work in helping blind persons obtain Leader Dogs.   He was inducted into the Oklahoma Athletic Hall of Fame in 1977.

 
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