Frank Neuhauser, Winner of 1st National Spelling Bee in 1925, Dead at 97

Mar 23, 2011, 07:51 by David Hope

Frank Neuhauser, a retired patent lawyer who made headlines in 1925, died March 11 in Maryland, the Francis J. Collins Funeral Home said. He was 97.

The son of a Kentucky stone mason, Neuhauser, then 11, won the first national spelling bee with the word, "gladiolus," The Washing Post reported.

Returning home to Louisville, Neuhauser was greeted by crowds with bouquets of gladioli.

More recently he appeared in the 2002 film, "Spellbound," portraying how the spelling bee was transformed from a regional curiosity into a national contest.

Since then, young competitors in the Scripps National Spelling Bee have regarded Neuhauser as a hero, seeking him out for photos and autographs.

After retiring to Maryland, Neuhauser enjoyed gardening and took special pleasure in cultivating gladioli.

He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Mary Virginia Clark Neuhauser of Silver Spring, four children and five grandchildren.

Source: UPI