The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 2, 2013

Humphrey Award honors top student-athletes at MSSU

By Jim Henry
Globe Sports Editor

— There is no doubt that E.O. and Virginia Humphrey thought about others much more than they thought about themselves.

“They didn’t have any kids of their own,” said Bruce Humphrey, a grandson. “They adopted seven kids. They also took in foster children, and she babysat.

“There could be a time there would be 100 kids walking through the door in a day’s time. They had shifts of three breakfasts, three lunches and three dinners because there was not enough room around the table at one time.

“It was all about everybody else except them. They were trying to do what they could to better anybody else. They were willing to give everything they had for others.”

E.O. Humphrey was a teacher, track coach and football coach at Joplin High School before he became a member of the original faculty at Joplin Junior College in 1937 and the school’s first head football coach.

In 1972 the E.O. and Virginia Humphrey Award was established at Missouri Southern. It is awarded each year to the top student-athlete in the school. Dick Humphrey, a son and former director of admissions at Missouri Southern, helped set up the award.

The inscription on the award reads, “This award is to be presented each year to the outstanding athlete who has in the opinion of Missouri Southern best exemplified the following qualities: highest respect for Missouri Southern, outstanding athletic ability, outstanding leadership, respect for fellow teammates and students.”

After leaving the junior college, E.O. Humphrey became a police officer in Joplin. Then when he got older, he was a curator for the Joplin Museum.

And, they continued to help others.

“They weren’t known and rewarded for their money,” Bruce Humphrey said. “It was more the fact of all the things they did for people. They were willing to do anything to help anybody.”