Jack Townley Biography from the Hall of Fame Sports Banquet, April 28, 1986.
At age 91, Jack Townley, Jr., is the oldest charter member of this first Fergus Falls Chamber of Commerce Sports Hall of Fame. It is noteworthy that he was the first Fergus Falls High School graduate to play sports at the University of Minnesota, as a member of the Gopher football squad, later playing pro football with Knute Rockne.
Born October 8, 1894, Townley was a star high schol player in Fergus Falls (football, basketball, and baseball) prior to World War I, a forerunner of sorts to various star athletes who were to follow in his footsteps. He graduated from Fergus Falls High School in 1912.
He played as a member of the University of Minnesota football team in 1913, 1914 and 1916, taking a year away from the playing field in 1915. He was the largest member of the 1916 Gopher team at 6-2 and 205 pounds, playing tackle and making the all Big Ten team in 1914. He was named center on the All-Western team of 1916.
In pro football during 1916 Townley played with, and against, some football greats in the persons of Knute Rockne, Jim Thorpe, Doc Spears, and Burt Baston. He was a teammate of Rockne (who later became Notre Dame coach) on the Massillion Tigers team. That squad played against Thorpe's Canton Bulldogs. He also played a game with Johnny McGovern's All-Stars versus the Minneapolis Marines, a semi-pro team at Nicollet Park.
Serving his country overseas during World War I, Townley was with the 90th Division. He was in the St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne offensives in France, later serving in the Army of Occupation.
Townley married Madeline Guttersen on June 14, 1919. He was appointed Fergus Falls City Attorney in 1923 and was elected County Attorney in 1926. He was appointed Fergus Falls Postmaster in 1935 and retired in 1964 to Laguna Hills, California.
Mrs. Townley died earlier this spring in California. Their son, John Townley III, resides in Calgary, Canada, and was a tackle on the U of M football 1941 national title squad. There is also a daughter, Doris.