BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — Maumee lost a friend last week with the passing of Richard Kazmaier. Kazmaier, a 1947 Maumee High School graduate, was a formidable athlete who earned 17 letters in football, baseball, basketball, track and golf. He went on to play football at Princeton University, where he was named Heisman Trophy winner in 1951. He was also named the Associated Press Athlete of the Year. He turned down an opportunity to play professional football with the Chicago Bears, opting instead to attend Harvard Business School. He served in the United States Navy during the Korean War and later formed a financial investment company in Concord, Mass. He passed away in Boston on Thursday, August 1. He was 82. “He never forgot his hometown,” said Maumee Mayor Richard Carr. In 2007, Kazmaier donated his Heisman Trophy to MHS, where it is prominently displayed in a special case, making Maumee one of only four high schools in the country to house such a statue. In a 2007 interview with The Mirror, Kazmaier said Maumee High School was a logical place to donate the trophy because of his close ties to the city. “I have a certain amount of affection for, and attachment to, the trophy,” he said. “I have a lot of identity with it, but on the other hand, I’m realistic enough to know that it is a chunk of metal and wood. I think it will have a lot more meaning now and hopefully will benefit the school.” His MHS jersey No. 21 was retired following the donation. For nearly two decades, he hosted the Kazmaier Golf Open, raising over $200,000 in scholarship money for MHS student athletes. In 1993, he was inducted into the Maumee Athletic Hall of Fame; in 1998, the MHS football stadium was named in his honor; and, in 2010, he received the MHS Distinguished Alumni Award. Maumee school district superintendent Dr. Greg Smith said Kazmaier was one of the most generous alumni MHS has ever had. “We lost a tremendous individual and a humble man. He never forgot where he came from and he never forgot what was important in life,” Smith said.
Kazmaier also served as a director of the American Red Cross, director of the Ladies Professional Golf Associa-tion, trustee of Princeton University, director of the Knight Foundation on Intercollegiate Athletics, chairman of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush and president of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame. The NCAA gave him its Silver Anniversary Award. He also received the National Football Foundation Distinguished American Award. Carr ordered all city flags to be flown at half-staff through the week. A bouquet of purple and yellow flowers were sent to his family on behalf of both the city and school district and a tribute book – where personal messages can be written – will be available at the Maumee Summer Fair. The book will be sent to the Kazmaier family. “We should celebrate his life and pay honor to a life well led,” Carr said. Kazmaier divided his time between Concord, Mass., and Florida, but returned to Maumee annually until recent health issues prevented him from traveling. Kazmaier and his wife Patricia (Hoffman) Kaz-maier were married 60 years. They raised six daughters and have eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. His daughter Patty precedes him in death. A memorial service will take place Friday, August 23 at 11:00 a.m. in St. Anne’s in-the-Fields Episcopal Church in Concord, Mass.