Former Conference High Jump Champion Passes Away

Oct. 18, 2012

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Former Kansas high jumper Dale Shannon passed away Wednesday at the age of 96.

Shannon, a native of Hamlin, Kan., was recruited by Kansas Athletics Hall of Famer Glenn Cunningham to be a high jumper for the track and field team. He had a highly successful career in Lawrence, which spanned from 1935-37. He won his first league high jump title in 1936 at the Big Six Outdoor Championships and would claim the Big Six indoor high jump championship the next season in 1937. He went on to graduate from the Kansas School of Law in 1938.

Following his time at Kansas, Shannon served in the army for three years during World War II. He practiced law in Fort Collins from 1938-1954, including serving as Deputy District Attorney. In 1954, he was appointed District Judge of the Eighth Judicial District and was elected for four terms. He retired undefeated after 23 years on the bench in 1976 and worked for three years as Trust Officer with the First National Bank.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m., Monday, Oct. 22 at the Good Samaritan Chapel at 508 West Trilby Road in Fort Collins, Colo. Memorials may be made to Good Samaritan Society, Fort Collins Village.

The following is an open letter written by Shannon on April of 1970, in honor of his former coach H.W. (Bill) Hargiss:

It was not athletics which brought me in off of the farm in Kansas in the drought and depression years of the 30’s to attend the University of Kansas but I went to the University with an objective to study law and had no thought that I could ever join that special club the “K Club”. In the required freshman P. E. course I chanced to become acquainted with Glenn Cunningham, a senior, who suggested and urged that I go out for track. I didn’t take seriously the urging of this great athlete until he brought around to see me our good friend and coach, H. W. (Bill) Hargiss and was told that my equipment was waiting at the stadium and that I simply must report for track. I could not begin to enumerate the help that has been given to me by my participation in track at the University of Kansas, all of which was under the tutorage of Coach Hargiss. He convinced me that if a high jumper got up in the air he could come down and would not need to worry about aspects of the procedure, etc., etc. Without his encouragement and guidance I am sure I could never have overcome the mental block of jumping higher than six feet which was pretty high for a country boy in those days.

During 32 years of law practice and public service in the offices of Deputy District Attorney and now District Judge, it is strange how repeatedly my participation in track at the University has followed me into the latest of times as mentioned in any news coverage pertaining to my activities. I mention this simply because when my athletic activities are mentioned nowhere does the name of H. W. (Bill) Hargiss appear. Yet, as with me, and with hundreds of other students at the University down through the years, Coach Hargiss has made a contribution to each one of us which has contributed through our lives in ways too numerous and complicated to herein define and describe. The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.