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Eugene Westover

 

Date and Place of Birth: circa. 1914, Missouri
Date and Place of Death:    December 12, 1944 Luxembourg
Baseball Experience: College
Position: Unknown
Rank: Private First Class
Military Unit: 36th Armored Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Division US Army
Area Served: European Theater of Operations

Eugene J. "Peaches" Westover was born in Missouri in 1914. He attended Drury University in Springfield, Missouri between 1933 and 1938, and is still considered one of Drury's best athletes. He was a standout in baseball, track and basketball. On the basketball court in 1937 he was "the most outstanding forward in the MCAU and by far the classiest player Drury has seen in years."

The William Jewell College head basketball coach once stated, "The best player our conference has seen in many years is "Peaches" Westover. The kid can do anything."

In January 1938, the Joplin Globe wrote the following tribute to Westover at the end of his college athletic career:

Drury to Pay Tribute tp "Peaches" Westover, Famed Cage Luminary

Drury College is preparing to pay tribute to one of the greatest athletes in the history of the college. He is Eugene (Peaches) Westover, who becomes ineligible for intercollegiate competition Saturday, January 29.

Four years ago, this husky lad from the hills of Taney County came to Drury to start his career as a college man. An orphan boy, Westover worked his way through the School of the Ozarks. Residents of the Taney county region knew of his basketball prowess and, partly through the efforts of Dr. Harry Evans, an old Drury man, Westover came to Drury.

"Peaches," as all of his classmates know him, was paired with Bob James, sensational forward from Branson, and during 1934 these two boys became the talk of the MCAU. The following year, Westover indicated that he would not return to school. However, on the death of his friend and teammate, James, he did return and won a berth on the all-conference team and honorable mention as an all-state forward. In 1935-36, by his fine playing and excellent sportsmanship, he was, made captain of the all-state team and also captain of the all-conference MCAU team. In 1936-37, he was selected as a member of both the all-state and the all-conference teams for the second consecutive year.

Drury students and basketball lovers of Springfield will honor "The Peach" by declaring the Drury - Central College game January 29 "Westover Night." A special program in his honor has been planned.


Eugene graduated from Drury with a degree in Economics. He moved to San Antonio, Texas, where he married Martha Puddephatt in June 1940.

He entered military service in November 1943 and served with the 36th Armored Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Division in Europe. private First Class Westover was killed in action on December 12, 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge. His body was not recovered until January 1, 1945.

Eugene "Peaches" Westover was elected to the Drury University All-Sports Hall of Fame in 1995.

Sources
Joplin Globe, January 20, 1938

Thanks to Davis O Barker for help with this biography. Some of this information was obtained from the Drury University website. Thanks also to Jan Ploeg of The Netherlands for identifying Westover's military unit.

Date Added February 5, 2013 Updated August 21, 2013

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