Photo Blog featuring USC Football, Basketball, and The Spirit of Troy

USC and more importantly, USA loses a great hero

Update:4/17/07 article in Kerrville Daily Times

April 16, 2007, 12:24PM
There until the end for Ralph Heywood, former football and military hero

By BILL BEGLEY Kerrville Daily Times
© 2007 The Associated Press

KERRVILLE, Texas — The move from a 10-acre spread just south of Bandera to living in a horse trailer wasn’t one Suzie Heywood wanted to make.

But it was one she had to make.

“It was just stuff,” she said. “Just possessions. They didn’t mean anything. I figured I could live without them. The only thing I couldn’t live without was him.”

And so, Heywood sold her home, sold most of her clothes and many of her possessions — gave away a lot of what wasn’t sold — and began paring down, first to an RV, then a travel trailer and finally to a horse trailer that helped make taking care of her dying husband, Ralph, a little bit easier.

“We stayed in about 14 feet of living space for about 18 months,” she said. “It was what I had to do to take care of him. I didn’t want to do it, but I knew what was coming. So, I sold everything I could and put the money in the bank, because I knew we’d need that money to help take care of him.

“I’m not a martyr. I don’t want pity, and I don’t want charity. I just wanted to do everything I had to do to take care of him, because I loved him and because he deserved it. And, I know he would have done the same for me. No matter what it took, no matter what the sacrifice, we were going to do what we had to do.”

Right up to April 10, when Ralph Heywood — college football All American, professional football player and career Marine — died at the age of 85, laying in Suzie Heywood’s arms as she softly sang to him.

“The Marine Corps Hymn,” she said. “Sang it to him until I was hoarse, and then sang some of his favorite hymns. He was laying there, quiet, with his eyes closed. And then … he was gone.”

In this day of throwaway relationships, when as many marriages end in divorce as the number that last, the idea of “til death do us part” may seem a little antiquated, a little dated, a little old-fashioned.

But Suzie Heywood took her vows seriously. Making the sacrifices necessary to be there until the end was never a debate.

“I had already decided that what I needed didn’t matter,” she said. “Those vows — for better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness and health — don’t mean just a belly ache or a hangnail. They don’t come with a guarantee of a mansion on the hill and horses running in the meadow. What it means is you love each other, and take care of each other no matter what, no matter the sacrifice. That’s all you’re guaranteed.”……continued

Ralph Heywood, 1943 All-American End, Dies
He had USC’s first-ever 100-yard receiving game.
April 11, 2007Ralph Heywood, a 1943 consensus All-American end on the USC football team who then served in 3 wars as a Marine, died on Tuesday (April 10) in Bandera, Tex. He was 85.

A funeral service will be held on April 16 at 10 a.m. at the Kerrville (Tex.) Funeral Home Chapel, with burial at 2 p.m. at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. Visitation will be held April 15 from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Kerrville Funeral Home.

Heywood, who prepped at Huntington Park (Calif.) High, was a 3-year (1941-43) letterman for the Trojans and captained the team in 1943 when USC went 8-2 and shut out Washington in the Rose Bowl, 29-0. He also earned All-Conference honors that season.

He led the Trojans in receiving in both 1942 (12 catches, 205 yards) and 1943 (11 catches, 196 yards), and had the school’s first-ever 100-yard receiving game when he gained 101 yards on 4 receptions versus St. Mary’s Pre-Flight in 1943. He also led USC in punting in 1941 (37.5 average) and 1942 (37.8).

He earned All-American honors in 1943 despite being called into the Marine Corps after 5 games.

Heywood was drafted in the third round of the 1944 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions. After returning from military service, he played in the 1946 College All-Star Game, then played professionally with the Chicago Rockets (1946), Lions (1947), Boston Yanks (1948) and New York Bulldogs (1949).

He then returned to the Marine Corps, where he had a 32-year career as an officer. He served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He then retired to a ranch in Bandera, Tex., where he was active in the area’s equestrian community.

He is survived by his wife, Charlotte (Suzie), a stepson, Robert, and stepdaughter, Geri, and 3 grandchildren.

Story at USCtrojans.com USCTROJANS.COM

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