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Nemeth, Edward L., 1925-2014



Edward L. Nemeth was born on June 25, 1925 in East Chicago, Indiana, the son of Hungarian immigrants. He was a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division in World War II, serving at Bastogne and Berchtesgaden in Germany. After his military service, he entered the Northwestern University School of Speech (now School of Communication). He played the position of left guard on the Northwestern football team from 1946 until 1950 under head coach Bob Voigts. Nemeth was involved in wrestling as well as football at Northwestern, and lettered in both sports during his career. He was also a member of the Beta Theta Phi fraternity, and participated in the chorus of the 1949 Waa-Mu show.

            The most notable game of Nemeth’s Northwestern football career was in 1949, at the 35th Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. After a successful season, with an 8-2 record, the 1948 Wildcats football team, second in their conference, received an invitation to the Bowl. The rules prevented Michigan, which was first in the Big 9 Conference and had played in the Rose Bowl the year before, from playing two years in a row, so Northwestern got its chance.

            The Wildcats, including Nemeth, traveled by train to Pasadena in late December of 1948. On January 1, 1949, a crowd of 93,000 people gathered to watch the big game. The Wildcats’ opponents, the University of California Golden Bears, were undefeated and favored to win. In the final minutes of the close game, Nemeth threw the key block for Ed Tunnicliff’s 43-yard run for the winning touchdown, and the Wildcats won the 1949 Rose Bowl, 20-14.

            After graduation in 1950, Nemeth went into the steel industry, first at Inland Steel in Indiana, then Phoenix Steel in Delaware, then in Birmingham, Alabama. He married Nancy Ann Myers (Northwestern University, College of Arts and Sciences, Class of 1951), in 1954, and they remained together for 60 years until his death. Nemeth became president and general manager of the Southern United Steel Company in 1974. Edward and Nancy had three daughters: Paula, Sally, and Carolyn. Paula graduated from Northwestern in 1979 and lettered in swimming and Sally graduated from Northwestern in 1981 and lettered in field hockey. As a result, they became one of the first father-daughter letter-winner combinations at Northwestern. Nemeth died at the age of 88 on May 11, 2014, in his Birmingham home, survived by his wife, three daughters, and five grandchildren.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Edward L. Nemeth Scrapbook

 Collection — Box 1
Identifier: 31/6/152

This scrapbook, containing mainly news clippings and photographs, was compiled by Nancy Ann Meyers Nemeth, wife of Edward Nemeth (left guard on Northwestern's football team), and documents Northwestern's winning participation in the 1949 Rose Bowl football game.

Dates: 1949; Other: Date acquired: 11/01/2016