"... not only is he a splendid athlete, but he personifies the determination and aggressiveness we like to associate with the nations most important product-its manhood..."
|After winning the Diamond
belt, NY Golden Gloves, Inter-city Golden Gloves & National AAU
championships - all for the third consecutive year - many
celebrations were planned for Billy.
One of my favorite stories is of a parade -with a route that wound
wind through 7 cities- which was to meet Billy at the train station upon
arrival home from San Francisco . Many sports writers & local
dignitaries were on hand with speeches ready and motion picture cameras
were set to film the event. In a time when communication was
not what it is today, Billy almost ruined the entire event by arriving
home earlier than expected.
Naturally, his parents had to tell him of the "surprise"
that had been planned in his honor. Not wanting to disappoint his
fans, Billy and his entourage went to a neighboring town - luggage and
all - and boarded another train that would arrive in the station at the
appointed time. The fans got their celebration & their hero
never let on that the surprise was almost on them.
It seemed the whole world knew about the celebration - except for
Billy's then fiancée, his widow Dorothy Speary. She was at work
when he boss told her of the throng filled streets & that her sweetheart
New York Daily News, Tuesday, May 2, 1939
There's a big party over in the little town of Nanticoke, Pa.,
tonight. It is in honor of Billy Speary, a Welsh-American school bus
driver, a lad who's scarcely bigger than a fire hydrant. Speary has
engaged in 155 contests he has won 145 and, in return bouts, he either
defeated or knocked out every boy who won a decision over him.
Speary holds 13 amateur boxing titles. Professional managers and
promoters constantly besieged him with glamorous offers to turn pro.
It's a cinch Bill can lick most pros his weight. He knows it. But his
heart is set on the 1940 Olympics.
118-POUND TITLEHOLDER GETS ROUSING RECEPTION
Underway to Honor Him at Dinner
A two-fisted champion, deserving of all the laurels
showered upon him, returned to his native town of Nanticoke yesterday
afternoon in a blaze of glory as the band blared its martial music and
several thousand proud citizens shouted and extended a warm welcome to
The hero, William "Billy" Speary, three times
winner of the National A.A.U. championship, alighted from a train at
Lehigh Valley Railroad Station yesterday afternoon shortly after
3:30. Nanticoke's Mayor Stanley Ostroski, city and school officials
together with leading civic-minded citizens and the Nanticoke high school
band were already gathered to give him a rousing welcomed.
He stood briefly on the steps of a coach and abroad
smile of acknowledgment, then was escorted to the center of a circle
formed by the band, where he shook many hands as the band played and
photographers snapped pictures. His pants, wearing proud smiles, his
two sisters and a little nephew greeted the champion warmly, showering him
Several thousand people were lined on Broadway, Main
and Market streets in that city to greet Speary on his return home after
winning his latest championship laurels in San Francisco.
Speary recently won the National A.A.U. bantamweight
championship in San Francisco and the flyweight championship the
previous two years. He is now being groomed for position on the U.S.
Olympic boxing team, and ambition which has marked his entire fight
BOXING CHAMPION TO ARRIVE HERE TOMORROW
William "Billy" Speary, will be given a royal welcome tomorrow afternoon when he arrives at the Lehigh Valley station and 3:37. Speary, three times national A.A.U. champion, will be escorted by a motorcade to Nanticoke where he will be greeted by Nanticoke high school band. The streets of Nanticoke have been decorated for the occasion and the motorcade will come down Main Street, up Market, to Central Park. At the Park, an address will be delivered by Mayor Stanley Ostroski. Amplifiers have been erected for the crowd that will be in attendance.
Pictures of the entire event will be taken by Ed Connolly of the State Theater and will be shown in the near future.
Streamers for cars that will make up the motorcade can be secured at the Wilkes-Barre newspapers office, 5 West Main Street. Any person desiring to secure one may do so by calling at the office.
Billy Speary Welcomed Home
Billy Speary is pictured being welcomed home
yesterday afternoon by his neighbors in Nanticoke. The reception was
the biggest accorded a son of Nanticoke since the World War.
Those with Speary are, left to right: Ruth Condu
(sister), her son Phillip, Speary's father, Mrs. Margaret Boyes, sister of the champ,
Billy Speary and his mother. Members of the Nanticoke High School
band, their director Prof. George V. Shedder and members of the
reception committee are to be seen in the background. A score of
Nanticoke sport fans and followers were on hand to greet the
Champion Speary when he arrived at the Lehigh Valley Railroad
Station yesterday afternoon.
The testimony Nanticoke is planning for William "Billy"
Speary, amateur boxer, marks the dawn, we hope, of a new era in community
spirit. Too many towns have been in the habit of neglecting to honor those
which brought distinction to them.
Young "Billy" Speary is, at the moment, Nanticoke's most
illustrious son, even if adopted. His victories in the ring have made his
name a household word in the realm of sports. He is a familiar figure from
coast to coast and is headed for international fame as Uncle Sam's
representative at the Olympics unless fate intervenes.
"Billy" Speary typifies the ideal American youth in more
respects that one. He not only is a splendid athlete, but he personifies
the determination and aggressiveness we like to associate with the
nations most important product-its manhood.
Nanticoke has reason to be proud of him for the fame he has brought to
his native city in sharp contrast to the unfavorable publicity that
attends the activities of so many of this generation. We are elated to
think that the community's gratitude is a public acknowledgment that needs
There are "Billy" Spearys in other towns of northeastern
Pennsylvania who deserve the recognition he is receiving. Let us hope that
these young men (and young women, too) will be awarded suitably. Towns
should be as willing to cheer as they are to condemn.
"BILLY" SPEARY IS GIVEN WELCOME IN NANTICOKE
William "Billy" Speary, three-time national A.A.U. champ, who defended his bantamweight title on the West Coast last week, was given a royal welcome this afternoon at the Lehigh Valley station in Wilkes-Barre, when the train carrying the fighting party arrived.
RING FANS TO HONOR SPEARY TOMORROW NIGHT
Boxing fans of the coal region will honor Bill Speary, three times national A.A.U. champion, tomorrow night at Lou Wilski's Forrest Inn Cafe on Alden Mountain. A number of nationally known and local sport writers will attend.
Among those invited for the event are Jimmy Powers of the New York Daily News, Stan Baumgartner of the Philadelphia Inquirer and George Jones of Williamsport, state boxing commissioner.
Swing along Athletic Row
By F.S. Nonnemacher
To honor Mr. Speary-Allentown, Pa.,
-there's to be a testimonial dinner of rather unique significance in
Bethlehem on Friday night when "Bill" Speary, Nanticoke boxer,
is to be feted. Why Bethlehem should be selected for such an affair
aroused the curiosity of the writer, satisfied after making several
queries and learning that Thomas Thomas, resident at Ninth Street and
Lehigh Avenue, is an uncle of the former amateur battler. It appears that
Mr. Thomas is very much interested in Mr. Speary and, proud of his
achievements in the prize ring, has with the co-operation of a number of
local friends and admirers of the battler, arranged for the affair. The
dinner will be served at the Old Brewery Tavern Friday at 8:45 PM, and
Billy Sheridan, Lehigh University's wrestling maestro will be toastmaster.
Other guests will be Jack Saurino and William Stark, the latter wrestling,
boxing, swimming and soccer instructor at Bethlehem High.