1932 – 2015 | ObituaryLonnie V. Spurrier (Lon), a proud Cal graduate who set the world’s record in the 880 yard run in 1955, passed away peacefully on June 23rd at the age of 83. A world class athlete, he represented the United States in the 800 meters, during the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne Australia, coming in 6th.
Lon was born on May 27, 1932 in the rural farming community of Douglas County, Missouri. He was one of six children of John and Golda Spurrier, who migrated to the Central Valley of California during the Dust Bowl, eventually settling in the agricultural town of Delano, about a half-hour north of Bakersfield. Following in the footsteps of his two older brothers, he loved playing sports, and by the time he graduated from Delano High in 1950 he had established himself as an all-around athlete playing Varsity Football as halfback, Basketball (named outstanding defensive player of the year), and both Baseball and Track. Lon was also active socially in high school where he was Student Council President and voted by classmates as best all-around senior boy. In his senior year, he was encouraged by his high school coach to switch from Baseball to Track, where he participated in a wide variety of events. Track proved a natural fit, and by the end of the season he’d set the school record in the low hurdles, and finished 6th place in the California State meet in the 440, the third time he’d ever ran that distance.
It was at the University of California at Berkeley, under the tutelage of legendary Cal track coach Brutus Hamilton, that Spurrier’s newfound interest in track flourished. He won the Pacific Coast