Stories from the Grave

Rigney L. Dwyer: 1896-1944

Posted September 29, 2020

Let me introduce myself, my name is Rigney L. Dwyer, but all my friends call me Riggie. I was born on April 18, 1896 in Ontonagon, Michigan. My father moved the family to Green Bay a few years later, and we settled on the west side of the city. I attended St. Patrick’s Grade School, then went West High School, where I fell in love with the sport of football and basketball. It was in High School that I became a star football player, playing right end mostly and scoring numerous touchdowns. I graduated from West High School in 1916 and serving our country during the Great War (World War I), I became an apprentice in the machine shop of the Milwaukee Road.

It was August of 1919, when an article appeared in the newspaper about setting up a football team for the Indian Packing company. I went to the meeting along with my younger brother Clem, and we joined the team. Earl Lambeau or Curly as many called him coached the new team. It was very interesting, many of my new teammates were once high school rivals, putting our past behind us, we made a hell of a great football team. The following year I returned to the team for more football. It was on November 24, 1920, about 2 o’clock in the morning, while working my railroad job, when I tripped or fell, I really don’t remember which, and ended up under the train. My left arm and my left leg were crushed. It was screams that alerted the other workers, who rushed me over to St. Vincent’s Hospital. My leg and arm were amputated, and I began a long road to recovery. To help pay medical bill, my fellow teammates played a charity game where they raised a little over $4,000. I stayed a total of 14 weeks in the hospital, thank goodness I had my Victrola to help pass the time that is until those darn nuns took it away stating it violated the hospital blue rules.

People were amazed that the loss of an arm and a leg never stopped me, it slowed me a bit. It was two years after my accident when I ran for Register of Deeds for Brown County and won, I held that office for 22 years. I took my last breath on August 2, 1944, dying at the age of 48. Before my death, I had completed the election paperwork for the upcoming primary in August. And I won election by a about 200 votes, even in death I can still win a public office.