Graveside Chat: West Laurel Hill Blog

Going for the Gold - Olympians at Laurel Hill & West Laurel Hill

Going for the Gold - Olympians at Laurel Hill & West Laurel Hill

The Olympic Games, the pinnacle of international sports competitions, features thousands of athletes and never fails to unite the world by blending sport with culture while teaching the value of respect and ethical principles. Delayed a year due to the pandemic, we now look forward to this July, with Tokyo serving as host city and the backdrop to cultivate humanity through sport. In doing so, it seems fitting to reflect on the many world-class athletes who have made Laurel Hill and West Laurel Hill their final resting places.

At Laurel Hill

William Evans Garrett Gilmore (1895-1969) Gilmore was a real estate broker who served in the United States Army in World War I. Following the war, Gilmore competed in numerous rowing competitions. In the 1924 Paris Olympics, he won a silver medal in single sculls and in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, took gold in double sculls. (Section Bridge, Lot 67)

(Credit: Wikipedia)

Meredith Bright Colket (1878-1947) Although he won a silver medal in the 1900 Paris Olympics in pole vault, Colket was better known as a tennis player. After matriculating from the University of Pennsylvania, Colket practiced law and continued his athletic exploits as a member of the Merion Cricket Club’s tennis team. It was at that time he earned a reputation as one of the best tennis players in the city. (Section K, Lot 5, 6, 7 N1/2, 8 N1/2)

(Credit: UPenn)

James Benner Juvenal (1874-1942) Juvenal was a rower who won gold in coxed eight rowing in the 1900 Paris Olympics and silver in single sculls in the 1904 St. Louis Olympics. Prior to the Olympics, Juvenal won a friendly bet – that he and his girlfriend could ride from Philadelphia to New York on a tandem bike and elope. Later in life, he coached rowing and worked at the Philadelphia Electric Company. During World War I, he served as a training and athletics officer. (Section 10, Lot 125)

At West Laurel Hill

Edward R. Bushnell (1876-1951) Edward Bushnell was a middle- and long-distance runner who competed in the 1900 Paris Olympics and placed fourth in the mile run. Bushnell was also the official photographer for the U.S. Olympic team at the 1908 London Olympics. He founded and edited Franklin Field Illustrated and served as the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate Manager of Athletics. (Oxford 438)

Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915) Known throughout the world as the “Father of Scientific Management,” Taylor is less remembered for his sports accomplishments. In 1881, he won the first U.S. Open doubles tennis tournament with a racquet he designed and patented. In 1900, he competed in the Paris Olympics in golf. Taylor experimented with, and patented, several innovations within tennis and golf equipment – including a new type of tennis net he sold to H.G. Spalding. (River 124)

Donald Fithian Lippincott (1893-1962) A world-class sprinter at the University of Pennsylvania, Lippincott set several world records and took home silver and bronze medals in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. Following graduation in 1915, Lippincott served in the Navy in World War I and worked in the securities business. (Merion 364)

(Credit: Wikipedia)

Lawson Robertson (1883-1951) The winner of the bronze medal in standing high jump in the 1904 St. Louis Olympics, Scottish-born Lawson Robertson was both a world-renowned track athlete and University of Pennsylvania coach. Robertson was assistant coach to the U.S. Olympic teams in 1912 and 1920 and was head coach in 1924, 1928, 1932, and 1936. The replacement of two Jewish 4x100m relay runners in the 1936 Berlin Olympics embroiled Robertson in controversy – with speculation that he made the swap to avoid upsetting Hitler and the Nazis. (Oxford 314)

Jervis Watson Burdick (1889-1962) As captain of the University of Pennsylvania track team, Burdick set several national high jump records and earned a spot on the 1912 Stockholm Olympics team. He was however eliminated in the trials and did not compete. (Auburn 21)