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If you follow my writing - especially the Legacy of Iron series, where he appears as one of the
main characters - you know that I'm a big fan of Harry Paschall, the long-time feature writer for
Strength and Health, and one of the best and most popular writers in the history of the Iron Game.
Harry was a true triple threat - a highly talented lifter who was both an artist and an author, and
who illustrated his articles, books and training courses with his own inimitable Bosco cartoons.
Harry began training with an old globe barbell that he purchased from Alan Calvert, who ran the Milo
Barbell Company back then. This was after having seen the legendary Arthur Saxon perform his world-famous
strongman act. Harry quickly added 25 pounds of muscle to his frame, and posed for some photos - sent them
in to the old Strength magazine, where they were published - and suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, he was
an international sensation.
Harry went on to become one of the first USA National Weightlifting Champions and Record Holders (back in
1926), when he was training with Sig Klein and Mark Berry.
The snatch was always his favorite lift, and he
performed it (in split style) with blinding speed.
He was one of the first American-born lifters to snatch
200 pounds in official competition, and always extolled the virtues of the snatch as an all-around exercise.
His personal best in the snatch was something like 235 pounds, at a bodyweight of 165 pounds - which was
great lifting in those days.
But Harry was more than a great lifter. He was a personal friend and training partner of many of the great
champions and coaches of the 1920's, 30's, 40's and 50's, including Sig Klein, Mark Berry, Bob Hoffman,
John Grimek, Steve Stanko, John Davis, Tony Terlazzo, John Terpak, Joe Hise, Gord Venables, Dick Bachtell,
Roger Eels, Fraysher Ferguson, and so many others.
Armed with his unique personal insights into the training programs of the champions, Harry wrote his wonderful
"Behind the Scenes" series for Strength and Health.
In this hugely popular and long-running series, Harry
told his readers exactly how the champions really trained. He taught them what really worked, and he made
it his personal goal to separate strength training truth from the hokum and bunkum so many others inflicted
on gullible readers. In Harry's own words, his goal was "to offer personal notes on training in as honest
and truthful a manner as possible."
For almost his entire adult life, Harry corresponded with readers around the world. He always answered every
letter sent to him. He was passionate about helping the members of what he referred to as "The Lonely Hearts
Club" - barbell men who trained at home, on their own, without guidance and without instruction other than
what they could glean from the magazines of the era. Harry always did everything he could to help these men,
to answer their questions, respond to their concerns, teach them how to train better and more efficiently,
and keep them motivated, inspired and upbeat about their training.
Harry died of a heart attack in September, 1957. At the time, he was working as the Managing Editor of his
beloved Strength and Health. He was driving from York, Pa. to Silver Spring, Maryland to deliver galleys
to the printer when he suffered his fatal attack. Thus, he literally died "in the saddle" - much like the
great Coney Island strongman, Warren Lincoln Travis, who died while harness-lifting an enormous cannon
during one of his performances.
Back in September, I was researching something for one of the upcoming books in the Legacy of Iron series,
and I found a reference to Harry and his parents in an on-line genealogy forum. That led me to do some more
specific research - and contact some other researchers by email - and after several hours of intense work,
I knew the exact location of Harry Paschall's grave. I even had some old aerial photos of the cemetery
and some photos showing how it looks today.
Surprisingly, Harry Paschall is not buried in York, Pa., as one would have expected. Instead, he's buried
in an old country cemetery in north-central Ohio, not very far from where he was born. And since I live in
Louisville, Kentucky, that meant that Harry's resting place isn't too far away from me. That being the case,
since I've been such a big fan of Harry Paschall for so many years - and since I write so much about him -
it seemed that going up to pay my respects was the right thing to do.
And so it happened. Two weekends ago, Trudi and I went to visit my folks in Dayton, Ohio - and then we
drove on up to north-central Ohio on Sunday morning to find Harry's grave.
It's in Delaware County, in a small, country cemetery next to an old church built back in 1810. And
there are graves in the cemetery with markers older than that. Veterans of the Revolutionary War are
We drove for almost two hours, and went through all the back roads and side roads Ohio has to offer.
And finally, after only a couple of wrong turns, we found the cemetery.
We parked the car, got out and went over to Section A. Harry is buried in A12.
It was gray, wet and cold. The cemetery is on a slight elevation, and the wind comes whistling from
the north. It was somber and cold.
We used a map of the cemetery that a genealogy researcher had forwarded to me. That made it pretty easy.
First, we found his mother's grave -- and next to her grave, his father's resting place.
Then we found his brother's grave. Harry's brother died in November, 1957, just about six weeks after
Harry passed away.
And then -- we found Harry's grave.
There was only one problem.
Harry Paschall - the most popular Iron Game author of his generation, and one of the nicest
and most wonderful men who ever graced the field -- is buried in an unmarked grave!
There's no stone -- no marker -- no anything.
It was really sad. It broke my heart. There we stood in this old, open cemetery, with the wind
whistling all around us - and Harry Paschall, who I know so well that he seems like part of my
family, lay there alone in an unmarked grave.
We filmed it. You can see it on YouTube. Filming the visit was all we could do for Harry.
We finished filming, said goodbye to Harry, turned, and walked back to the car. It was so cold
that Trudi's hands were numb and she could barely open and close her fingers.
We weren't very far down the road, when Trudi turned to me and said, "You know what we have to
do, don't you?"
"We need to get a marker for Harry," she continued. "We need to make it happen. He deserves one."
I nodded again.
"All of your readers would help pay for it," she added. "They all know about Harry -- and
they all love him. They'd all want to help out."
I nodded a third time.
"You could set up a special fund for Harry and solicit donations for his marker. That way,
everyone could contribute."
Another nod. Another "Yup."
It's easier to just nod your head and say "yup" when you have a lump in your throat the
size of Texas.
Anyhow, since then, I've located and talked to the Sexton at the old country cemetery -- and
talked to the local monument company, which has carved many fine markers for that old
cemetery -- and it's all set up and ready to go.
I've already signed a contract to purchase a gray granite marker for Harry. It will include
a Bosco cartoon and will look something like this:
Yours in Strength,
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