Boxer in the Cemetery

Written on back: Picture 1938. Glen Rice and Don Lucas "guarding" Gamma's hiding place of Boxer in a Forest Grove cemetery. (A metal plate attached to tombstone could be unscrewed.)

Jan. 17, 2013

Jean Allin Shirley '39 shares memories and photos from a Boxer flash in the 1930s. 

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Boxer made it to many places before he disappeared in the late 1960s — and apparently a tombstone was among them.

Jean Allin Shirley ’39 recently shared these two photos from her days at Pacific University.

“I remember these two ‘boys,’ Glen Rice and Don Lucas, members of Gamma Frat, who unscrewed metal on this tombstone to ‘flash’ Boxer, which was hidden inside,” Jean wrote. “It was near the entrance of a cemetery in Forest Grove. Hope these pictures help locating the grave, and possible Boxer.”

The grave, it turns out, is in the Mountain View Memorial Gardens cemetery in Forest Grove. It belongs to Ann Eliza Curtis Burk, who died Feb. 20, 1903. Census records indicate that she was born in Ohio and married in Iowa. She and her husband, Hamilton William Burk (H.W., according to her tombstone) moved to Forest Grove sometime between 1880 and 1900.

Why and how the Gammas chose her grave marker as a hiding place for the Boxer is unknown.

We do know, though, that Boxer was seen again — and hidden again — after that day. Read more stories about the infamous statue here.

We also know that Glen Rice '38 and Don Lucas '38 both went on to become doctors and join the military, serving in World War II, according to university records. Glen graduated from medical school in 1942 and joined the U.S. Navy, serving as a battalion surgeon with the 4th Marine Division in the Pacific during WWII. He received several service awards from the U.S. Marine Corps, then completed his OB-GYN residency at Johns Hopkins. He went into private practice and retired in 1986. He and his wife live in Seattle. Don, meanwhile, served in the U.S. Navy and WWII and later worked as a doctor. He died in California in 1998.

Jean married, had three children and earned her RN. She is retired and living in Portland.

Do you know more about the time the Gammas hid the Boxer statue in this tombstone, or do you have more stories to share about Boxer? Send them to us at pacificmag@pacificu.edu or mail them to Pacific magazine, Pacific University, 2043 College Way, Forest Grove, OR 97116-1756. We’re happy to scan and return your original photos.