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1940   Mary Sinsel     Queen of Heaven Orphanage (Denver)
          winning word:  schismatic
       Harold Kayser     Gove Jr. High
          word missed:  effluence
             DPS top ten finalists:
               Harold Kayser        Gove  (2nd place)
               Marjorie Danielson   Smiley  (4th place)
               Otis Highbaugh       Gove  (5th place)

1941   Phyllis Hendren     Baker Jr. High
          winning word:  enigmatic
       Patsy Coates     Gove Jr. High
          word missed:  repellent
             DPS top ten finalists:
               Phyllis Hendren   Baker  (1st place)
               Patsy Coates      Gove  (2nd place)
               Irwin Pepper      Gove  (3rd place)
               Dolores Conzett   Gove  (5th place)
               Georgia Taylor    Byers  (6th place)

For an interview with Irwin Pepper and a picture, scroll to the bottom of this page.    

1942   Irwin Pepper     Gove Jr. High
          winning word:  deteriorate
       Barbara Selby     Gove Jr. High
          word missed:  meridian
             DPS finalists:
               Irwin Pepper       Gove  (1st place)
               Barbara Selby      Gove  (2nd place)
               Loretta Heisel     Cole  (8th place)
               Phyllis Sampson    Smiley  (8th place)
               Evelyn Norell      Skinner  (13th place)

1943    No spelling competition held due to World War II

1944                    "

1945                    "

1946   Eleanor Edie     Smiley Jr. High
          winning word:  cavalier
       Nancy Eicklin     St. Louis  (Englewood, CO)
          word missed:  missent
             DPS finalists:  

1947  Sharon Dougherty     Gove Jr. High
         winning word:  olfactory
      Mary Louise Lousberg     Sacred Heart (Boulder, CO)
         word missed:  connoisseur
           DPS finalists:

              Sharon Dougherty   Gove (1st place)
              Mike Cornwall      Gove (4th place)
              Ann Marie Levitt   Smiley  (7th place)

                      others unknown

1948  Clark Weston     Westwood  (later Kepner Jr. High))
         winning word:  digitalis
      Zelda Jo Campbell     Yampa, CO
         word missed:  dysentery
            DPS finalists (12 out of 27):
              Clark Weston         Westwood  (1st place)
              Joyce Honda          Skinner  (3rd place)
              Mary Frances Boyle   Cole
              Mike Cornwall        Gove
              Delora Cotter        Morey
              Bruce DeBlanc        Westwood
              Norma Goldberg       Gove
              Russell Mead         Byers
              John Moore           Gove
              George Neighbors     Gove
              Jackie Shere         Gove
              Donna Ward           Gove

1949   Joan O'Bryan     Westwood
          winning word:  phlox
       Rowland Glaser     Wray, CO
          word missed:  sacrilegious
             DPS finalists (13 out of 28):
               Joan O'Bryan        Westwood  (1st palce)
               John Moore          Gove  (3rd place)
               Betsy Warren        Grant  (6th place)
               Dave Card           Smiley  (7th place)
               Jean Sheppard       Skinner  (8th place)
               Judy Fine           Gove
               Kay Glows           Lake
               Michael Halloran    Gove
               Virginia Mosgrove   Skinner
               Lorraine Newell     Skinner
               Roberta Rabinoff    Byers
               Connie Shidler      Lake
               Steve Susman        Gove

On a Saturday morning in October, 2008, I had the honor of visiting with Mr. Irwin Pepper, the 1942 Colorado-Wyoming Spelling Bee champion.  Mr. Pepper reminded me that he also finished in 3rd place the previous year.  A 13-year old student at Gove Jr. High at the time, he remembers taking the City Written spelling test at Morey Jr. High and qualifying for the state bee which was held that year at the Shirley-Savoy Hotel in downtown Denver.  On the way to the State Spelling Bee he was asked by another speller who he thought was going to win.  He replied, "Why, I am!"  He was right.  When Barbara Selby, his classmate at Gove, misspelled "meridian," Irwin corrected her mistake and aced "deteriorate" to become champion.  Shortly thereafter a Latin teacher at Gove, Maud Smith, volunteered to tutor him before he left for the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D. C.  She took Irwin to Cheesman Park each Sunday and drilled him on "every word in the dictionary."  Irwin was accompanied to Washington by his mother and younger brother, Miff.  He did well at Nationals also, finishing in 5th place.  He, of course, remembers the word he missed--anise (a fragrant seed used in seasonings).  A newspaper article from 1942 states that "Pepper spelled 41 words correctly before stumbling on anise, including embryo, superfluous, chrysanthemum, gullible, guttural, pistil, fossil, accost, mezzanine, galleons, deuce, humerus, apothecary, ukulele, and rheostat."  Mr. Pepper later graduated from East High School in 1946 and the University of Denver in 1950.  He attended two years of law school before having a successful career with Merrill Lynch.  Married with two children, Irwin now lives with his lovely wife Ellie in Cherry Hills Village.  He attributes a photographic memory and a love of words for his spelling success.  His love of words has lasted for a lifetime (the words malaprop, formidable, octogenarian, and eclectic came up in our converstaion) and he cringes at misspellings he sees in the newspapers and mispronunciations he hears on television.    


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