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Bellville Times
Bellville, TX - Ernie Koy, 97, a legendary athletic figure in the State of
Texas, died Monday, January 1, 2007, in his home town of Bellville, Texas.
He continued active with his ranching operation until December 1 when he
broke his hip at home following his routine feeding trip to his ranch on Koy
Services will be at 10 am Wednesday, January 3, from St. Mary's Episcopal
Church, 24 N. Masonic Street, Bellville. The Rev. Bob Gribble will
officiate. The body will lie in state at Schmidt Funeral Home, 12029 Hwy 36
South, Bellville, from 4 pm to 8 pm on Tuesday, January 2. Family members
will receive friends from 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm.
Koy was born September 17, 1909 to Lucile and Frank Koy in Sealy, Texas. A
natural athlete, he excelled in all sports but gained his fame and place in
history in football and baseball. He was three times All-Southwest
Conference in both sports at the University of Texas from 1930-1933. He was
captain of Longhorn football in 1932 and baseball captain in 1933. He was
selected as an East-West football All-Star in San Francisco following his
senior season.
Koy was signed off the Texas campus by the New York Yankees in 1933,
spending five years in the Yankee minor league organization. He broke into
the major leagues when the Yankees traded him to the Brooklyn Dodgers for
the 1938 season. He has the distinction of homering on his first official
time at bat as a major leaguer and led the National League in triples. He
was part of the golden age of baseball history having played in the first
televised game and the first night game under lights at Brooklyn's Ebbets
Field. He was the last remaining Brooklyn Dodger who participated in the
classic Johnny Vander Meer second consecutive no-hit baseball game of 1938.
He became known as the fastest man in baseball when he defeated the great
Olympian Jesse Owens in a 100-yard dash exhibition race prior to the Vander
Meer game at Ebbets Field. Koy defeated Owens with a five yard start. Koy
said later that baseball promoters always wanted him to race Owens again but
he declined. "I told them if you could beat Owens once you'd better let it
Koy was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1940, to Cincinnati in 1941 and
to Philadelphia in 1942. He left professional baseball to join the United
States Navy at the outbreak of World War II. Following his discharge from
the Navy in 1946 at the rank of Lieutenant junior grade, he and his wife
Jane settled in Bellville where they operated Cameron's 5 and 10c variety
store from 1946 to 1980. He also farmed and ranched remaining active until
the last month of his life.
Among his many athletic tributes was selection to the University of Texas
Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1960 and the State of Texas Sports Hall of Fame in
1986. Blinn College, Brenham, named him a Distinguished Alumni in 2004. He
attended Blinn School in 1928-1929 prior to entering the University of
Texas. He graduated from Sealy High School in 1928 and received a Bachelor
of Science from Sam Houston State Teachers College, Huntsville, in 1938
while he was coaching on the football staff during his off season in
Koy was an active community leader of Bellville serving for 12 years as
president and on the Board of Trustees of the Bellville Independent School
District; active with the Chamber of Commerce, the American Legion, youth
sports and St. Mary's Episcopal Church.
Koy married Jane Cameron Koy on March 10, 1936 at St. Mary's Church,
Bellville. They celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in 2006. Koy is
survived by his wife Jane, and his three children, Ernie M. Koy and Barbara
of Bellville; Margaret and Clay Kistler of Bellville; and Dr. Ted Koy and
Valerie of Georgetown. His seven grandchildren are Robert Cameron Koy and
Barbie of Houston; Lt. Andrew Bruen Koy USN, and Elizabeth of Annapolis MD;
Jane Lucille Koy of Austin; Jess York Koy of Pearland; Lt. Daniel Koy
Kistler, USMC, serving in Iraq; Suzanne Koy Skaer and Jason of The
Woodlands; and Cameron Koy Gorman and Scott of San Antonio.
In lieu of flowers, memorial tributes may be forwarded to the Ernie Koy
Scholarship Fund, Austin County Texas Exes, Wells Fargo Bank, 2 East Main
St., Bellville TX 77418; St. Mary's Episcopal Church, 24 N. Masonic St.,
Bellville TX 77418; or to the charity of your choice.
Posted by Joy Neely


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