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DC Patent Lawyer Who Won First National Spelling Bee Dies at 97

Posted Mar 22, 2011 6:48 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Frank Neuhauser’s first big claim to fame was his ability to spell the word “gladiolus.”

He was 11 years old and the year was 1925, the Washington Post reports in an obituary for the patent lawyer. His correct spelling of the word made him the first champion of the national spelling bee and the winner of $500 in gold, a bicycle and a trip to meet President Calvin Coolidge. A ticker tape parade was held in his honor in his hometown of Louisville, Ky.

Neuhauser died March 11 at the age of 97. He worked for General Electric as a patent lawyer after the company sent him to law school. Later he worked at Bernard, Rothwell & Brown before retiring in 1988.

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