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Alfred M. Partin

Alfred M. Partin, 96, of Champaign, Ill., died on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at Carle Hospital in Urbana, due to complications from colon cancer.

partinHe was born in Portsmouth, Va., on Jan. 31, 1922, to Charles and Nancy Partin. He had one sister, Doreen, who preceded him in death.

Al graduated from Proviso East High School in Maywood, Ill., in 1941, the same year he won the Illinois State High School wrestling championship at 175 pounds, his first year out for the sport.

Partin served in the U.S. Navy from 1942-46, receiving an honorable discharge as a Boatswain's Mate Second Class. He served on destroyer escorts, accompanying convoys throughout Latin America and to Murmansk in the Soviet Union.

Using the G.I. bill, he attended Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, graduating with a BA in art in 1950. While at Cornell, he was a four-year starter on the wrestling team, a squad known as the “Dream Team” for winning the NCAA championship at the University of Illinois in 1947, and, two weeks later, the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) national championship in San Francisco. Cornell, with a then enrollment of 600 students, remains the only team to have won both championships in the same year. Al placed in the top six in the 1948 U.S. Olympic trials at 160.5 lbs.; third in the National AAU meet at 190 lbs. in 1949; and placed second in the National AAU Meet at 195 lbs. in 1950.

Partin was hired as head wrestling coach at the University of Nebraska in 1950 and coached the Cornhusker grapplers for four years before taking the head football and wrestling coach jobs at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., in 1954. Partin earned a master’s degree in school administration from Bradley University and served as director of physical education at Knox until his retirement in 1983. He also served an alderman in Galesburg, and ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 1969.

His hobbies included golf; fishing off the coast of Florida, where he and Gen lived for many years; traveling; and painting oil landscapes. An adept jitterbugger, Al said his favorite course to teach was swing dance. At Knox, a small liberal arts college, Partin found his niche. Al commented that his athletes came from many different backgrounds. “They were all individuals,” he noted, “but they could be themselves around me because I was something of a bohemian myself.”

Jim Valentine, Knox class of 1961, enjoyed the experience of playing for Partin. “It was fun for us. You learn about philosophy, history, and you learn about football. We called Al ‘The Schemer.’ We respected him, and yet he was like a buddy.”

Partin is a member of the NCAA Wrestling Hall of Fame, the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame, and the Athletic Hall of Fame at Cornell and Knox colleges.

He also was an involved, loving, and caring father and husband, who taught his children the values of being honest and never giving up.

He is survived by his wife, Genevieve, Savoy, Ill.; his daughter, Patricia Partin of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; his son and daughter-in-law, Richard and Paula Partin of Champaign; and three grandsons: Chris and Tate Long, and Trevor Partin, all of Champaign.

Heath and Vaughn Funeral Home, 201 N. Elm, Champaign, is handling arrangements.

Condolences to the family may be offered at www.HeathandVaughn.com.

 

Condolences

Pat and family:

My condolences to you and your family. I am so sorry for the loss of your father. I never met your father, but he sounds like a wonderful man who had a very productive life.  

Love, Coni

 

To The Family of Al Partin:

I wrestled on the team that Al coached for 2 years starting in 1966. He was a wonderful mentor, friend and coach who helped me through some tough times. He will be missed by all who knew him.

Ronald Weingart