Fundraising effort underway to build memorial to honor Terry Householter
Terry Householter is a Concordia legend.
For those who know their track & field history, his name is still spoken in awe. 52 years after he last wore a uniform for Concordia High School, many of his CHS, NCKL, and state records still stand. Because of the conversion to metrics in racing distances some of his records will never be broken.
Householter was the greatest all-around sprinter to ever walk the halls of CHS, and his name should always be mentioned when there is talk of the greatest runners in Kansas history.
But there is also a caveat when talking about Terry Householter: "what might have been".
Less than two years after he graduated from CHS, Householter was killed in the Vietnam War.
Jane Jewell and John Paul Breault are spearheading an effort to build a memorial at Harold M. Clark Stadium to honor Householter's athletic achievements.
"The idea came from a Marine," Jewell said. "Terry Householter made the ultimate sacrifice. He gave his life for his country."
In August, 2017, Jewell and Breault began raising private donations to build a limestone bench memorial that would blend with the existing limestone wall near the track. The memorial will also include a plaque honoring Householter.
"USD 333 is excited to embrace a combined effort from some local donors... to honor a Marine veteran who lost his life in Vietnam," said USD 333 superintendent of schools Quentin Breese. "This bench will include an engraved Concordia Panther logo, home of the 1966, 1967, 1968 Track and Field State Champs, in Memory of LCPL Terry Householter."
Householter was raised by his grandparents, and by all accounts he matured into a well-liked but spirited personality who sometimes perplexed and annoyed his friends and coaches. By the time he left high school he was the fastest sprinter in the state of Kansas, but he also smoked cigarettes and trained when he felt like it.
When Householter graduated from CHS in 1967 he owned school and NCKL league records in the 100, 220, and 440 yard dashes, the 880 relay, the medley relay, and the broad jump. He set state records in the 100, 220, and 440 yard dashes.
How fast was Terry Householter? At a track meet in 1967 he ran a timed 100 yard dash in 9.6 seconds. The 100 yard dash was later discontinued in favor of the universal 100 meter race. If Householter's 1967 time was amortized out to that distance, it means that 52 years ago he would have run 100 meters in 10.4 seconds. The current state record is 10.37 seconds.
Householter's athletic potential seemed limitless and was adored by many. But he was also very much his own individual who lived by his own rules. He enrolled at Fort Hays State University on a track scholarship, but then decided to drop out after one semester.
He wanted to join the Marines. At the height of the Vietnam War.
Years ago Tom Clark wrote a story that quoted letters Householter wrote from Vietnam to his former track coach at CHS, Herschel Betts. In those letters Householter expressed regret about the decision he made, and how eager he was to return to Fort Hays State and run track again.
He never made it.
On June 23, 1969, while in combat with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, Mike Company - less than two months before his tour of duty would end - Corporal Terry Householter was Killed In Action while trying to rescue wounded Marines.
He was 20 years old.
For his bravery under fire, Householter was awarded the Bronze Star posthumously.
Jane Jewell estimates that it will cost about $2,000 to build the limestone bench and plaque honoring Householter. They have raised $1,200 in private donations so far. No USD 333 funds will be used in the project.
Terry Householter is a legend in the annals of Concordia High School athletic history. He almost single-handedly led CHS to its first state track title in 1966, and then repeated the feat in 1967. But he passed from this Earth before his potential could be fully realized.
This memorial - a permanent place at the track he elevated to greatness - would symbolically give Terry Householter the final race he deserves.
Perhaps in this way "what might have been" can finally be seen through to the end.
If you would like to help honor a former CHS athlete and American soldier killed in the line of duty, contact Jane Jewell at 785-275-3194.