The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana on May 16, 1985 · Page 27
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The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana · Page 27

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Indianapolis, Indiana
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Thursday, May 16, 1985
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Page 27
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LifeStyle The Indianapolis Star THURSDAY, MAY 16, 1985 PACE 27 Madison's oldest attorney oversees trusts and estates . S ; vA'h. r.llii'M u 1 differ in ?, . -.'.f , T' ty,jr If 1 i ' ' i I - ? 4 i J t. , ' .-.,-' M &Jl. m n t I r'Hl Hit ; i: p vfcR h ?! : tot STAFF PHOTO JEFF ATTEBERRY United States Auto Club historian and statistician Donald Davidson denies having a photographic memory. - Man with the amazing memory remembers his checkered career By VYILUAM E. ANDERSON STAR ASSISTANT CITY EDITOR 0 K TRIVIA FANS. Try this one. How can you tie these three things together, auto racing, boxing and the Academy Awards? There is a way. Donald Davidson, the personable transplanted Englishman who amazes persons with his uncanny knowlege of the 500 Mile Race, is an expert in all three fields. He has almost total recall on movies, Academy Award winners and boxing. He finally found the way to tie all three together with this question: What Academy Award winner, who was also owner of an auto race track, fought the world's heavyweight boxing champion? It's tough guy Victor McLaglen, who at 6 feet 3 inches and 230 pounds and an Englishman, earned his early living as a professional boxer in a circus. He offered $25 to anyone who could stay in the ring with him for three rounds. No one collected. In 1909, he had the opportunity to fight heavyweight champion Jack Johnson in a non-title exhibition. McLaglen lasted six rounds, but lost. In 1920, McLaglen started making movies and later moved to the United States. In 1935 he won the Motion Picture Academy's best actor Oscar for The Informer. Also a race fan, he later purchased a track in California. T) AVIDSON HAS AN upstairs room in his modest Speedway where else? home piled high with Indianapolis Motor Speedway memorabilia. Also included are books on music, boxing and movies. He uses the room to test his memory and improve his knowledge. , He denies having a photographic memory. "I just seem to store information on subjects I enjoy. Racing, boxing and movies are favorite subjects. Really, my boxing knowledge is limited to heavyweights and light-heavyweights." Davjdson and his wife, Sherry, have three children, Tim, 14; Heather. 13, and Natalie, 7, His 30 Days In May full time job is historian and statistician with the United States Auto Club. In addition, he has a Speedway show on WIBC radio. On the wall of his upstairs den is a silk banner listing the previous 110 Kentucky Derby winners. "Oh, no. I'm not into to that. I love sports, but it's horsepower of a different type. Besides, with this year tha would be horses' names to remember." U OWEVER, HE can rattle off every Wimbledon tennis champion since 1922. Davidson, who came to the United States in 1964 to view his first "500," came by his movie knowledge because of his father. "He was a movie cameraman and we often discussed the actors and actresses and the movies. I found it fascinating and I guess, as a result, I started to store information about the subject. "But auto racing was really my favorite. I , read everything on the subject since I was a youngster. I started saving money to come to America to see the race. I wrote Sid Collins (the late "Voice of the 500" on WIBC). He encouraged me and I finally made it in 1964." Davidson said he was afraid at first to talk to the drivers when introduced by Collins. "He would tell them I could recite nearly everything about their careers. But I had this notion they were tough guys who would be difficult to know. This impression came from -seeing their pictures with stern looks and wearing the old type beaked helmets that gave them a more serious look. "However, instead, I found them to be warm, -fun-loving guys, who enjoy what they do. They joke a lot, they're serious about their work, but they are, as a group, as fine a people as anyone. They needle you, but just in jest" .rYAVIDSON SAYS his most memorable occasion was in 1964, when as a newly arrived stranger about to see his first "500," he was taken to the Indianapolis Press Club for a race party. "They had wall to-wall celebrities and race drivers. Sid (Collins) came over later and said he had another appointment and had to leave but wanted me to stay and enjoy myself. He told me he would arrange for someone to drive me home because I had no driver's license. "A short time later a man came over and said I'm Tony Hulman.' He asked me if 30 minutes would be OK. Within 30 minutes, Tony and I walked outside to a parking lot and suddenly I was aware we were alone and he was going to drive me home personally. I never will forget that." Davidson also has fond memories of actor James Garner. -"He's a fan who puts on a Goodyear jacket, walks to the first turn, usually alone, talks to people, accepts beer from fans on the turn and just enjoys the race as a fan, not a celebrity." II E ALSO RECALLS when the Beatles were 1 here in 1964 and stayed in the Speedway Motel. "Fans never guessed they were there, but we knew because George Harrison is a big fan and would sneak over to the track." Oh, yes, Davidson has another trivia question. What race driver was named after a heavyweight boxing champion? Give up? You'll have to when you learn the answer is the late Tony Bettenhausen. Tony Bettenhausen? Sure, said Davidson "When he was young man, he was a battler and could really handle himself. His real name was Melvin Eugene Bettenhausen. Gene Tunney was the boxing champ and Bettenhausen acquired the nickname "Tunney" that later was pronounced and spelled it "Tony." By TOM CHIAT STAR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT Madison, Ind. At 98, Judge Harry Nichols is like most jurists even remotely close to his age he is retired from the bench. But unlike his aged peers, he still practices law. He's had a lot of practice. "Of course most of my clients are gone now," he points out with a smile. "They died off." Nichols has plied his trade for 68 years. He served as Jefferson County judge from 1941 to 1959. During that time, he tried more than 5,000 cases in the 13county circuit he traveled. Since then, he has continued to practice law in Jefferson and Scott counties. Pursuing an understandably slower pace now, Nichols primarily oversees estates and trusts and does "just enough to keep my hand in" the legal profession. "I suppose I'm one of the oldest practicing attorneys in the state," says Nichols, who labels 'as youngsters similarly active men in their 70s. A person of considerable interest to this southern Indiana community, the judge recently bought a full-page ad in his local newspaper outlining his life and accomplishments. "People often ask me about this and that so I just decided to put it all in there to answer most of their questions," explains Nichols. I went from a newsboy to a judgeship." In fact, the former newspaper carrier turned judge held numerous political offices in the city and county between 1911 and 1935. "I was even the postmaster here from 1931 to 1935. Once had dinner with President Hoover when he visited Louisville." Lately the recipient of a birthday card from President and Mrs. Reagan, he takes pride in his record as a judge who was upheld in two of only three cases of his that were appealed. Never did he invoke the death penalty. "I did give one man a life sentence for murder," he adds. "Sent him to (the Jndiana State Prison in) Michigan City, and I understand that he is still in there serving his time" Nichols also has a long record of volunteer service. "I have served on the local Salvation Army board for 50 years and have been a member of the Madison Chamber of Commerce since 1924." According to Chamber of Commerce officials, Nichols is the last surviving charter member of. the group. "I was born here in Madison on April 8, 1887, and this has always been my home," he notes, recalling a time when his was the only house in the dense countryside of his youth. if .""K .-Mr-' - I kVSGO IT) T MC '" 1 STAFF PHOTOTOM CHIAT Judge Harry Nichols displays full-page announcement that outlines professional, personal achievements of his lifetime. , "They used to play ball in the fields over there." he says, gesturing across the street. "I guess I can remember things that happened 85 or 90 years ago better than I know what happened the other day." One of those remembrances was the town's first horseless carriage in 1904. "We had never seen anything like it," he says of the Waverly automobile that fascinated townfolk. "Horse drawn wagons were all you had back then. When it drove down the street, all the kids would chase after it." These days, the judge doesn't chase cars anymore, but he still drives one: "I do all my own driving around town. Don't need anyone to go with me." But he reckons that the town's oldest lawyer cannot yet claim the title of Madison's oldest motorist, however. "There was a fella over here, ran the lumber business, he drove until he was 100 years old." the judge recalls. "Until they (Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles) stopped giving him a license. So I guess I've got a couple of years to go yet" The judge, a lifelong bachelor who lives alone and fends for himself, plans to slow down. But he's not sure when. "I suppose I'll give up the re maining law practice soon. One of these days I'm going to get old." With a final smile, he adds, "I might even get senile." Miracles happen when the spirit moves Sister Grace NEW YORK TIMES Brookfield, Conn. The spirit is moving her now, and Sister Grace is pointing to a section of scats to the right of the stage in the packed auditorium. "There's someone here with a pain in Jhe shoulder and neck." she says. "Yes, the lady in the turqudise sweater. Jesus wants you to feel better." The woman stands and is touched on the neck. "Is the pain gone?" Sister Grace asks. And the woman, rolling her head, replies, "Yes, it's gone. "Praise the. Lord!" says Sister Grace, one finger pointing upward. "Let's give Him a hand!" Before the end of the service, held in the rented high school auditorium , she will proclaim healings "in the name of Jesus" of complaints and diseases ranging from partial deafness to bone cancer. Two people on crutches will discard them and walk up the aisles to cheers and shouts. A man will throw away his hearing aid and a nun from the Bronx will tell the audience that doctors have confirmed what Sister Grace told her earlier that she has been healed of a chronic bone disease. It's like this almost every night for the slim, black-haired woman in the floor-length gown, the flowers in her hair, the air of perky piety and the laying on-of hands touch that drops her devoted followers by the dozens into an ecstatic swoon. To her followers, she is "Amazing Grace." Her real name is Grace DiBi-carri, and she is the head of the Grace Vessels of Christ Ministries Inc., in Brookfield, Conn. She also is one of the hottest new faith healers on the East Coast. "She is probably the leading healer east of the Mississippi River," says Cliff Dubrawsky, publisher of The Love Express, a monthly tabloid for evangelicals in New England. "That's certainly true as far as women go." For years, the medical profession derided or ignored claims of miraculous, psychic and faith healings. Many doctors remain skeptical, but others concede that there are great gaps in what science knows about the power of the mind 'in healing. Into this gap have stepped scores of faith healers across the country, among them the Rev. Ralph DiOrio, a Catholic priest in Worcester, Mass., who has the approval of his bishop, and Francis MacNutt of Bradenton, Fla., who quit the priesthood a few months, ago to marry. (He and his wife, Judith, are still superstar attractions on the healing circuit.) Oral Roberts rose to fame as a faith, healer. Other big-name healers include Don Barto of Canton, Ohio, a Presbyterian; Willard Fuller of Jacksonville, Fla., a Baptist, and Catholic brothers Dennis and Matthew Lynn of Omaha. ' Generaly, faith healers stay close to home because they occupy church pulpits, and they usually do not make healings the focus of their ministry. "Only a handful have a gift for healing full time," says the Rev. Ralph Heller of Bound Brook, N.J., who is associated with the healing Order of St. Luke the Physician. Sd" far, Ms. DiBicarri has confined her movements, to New England with trips to Pennsylvania and -New York. But that may change. She is considering requests to appear in sports stadiums, concert halls and TV studios all over the country, and a biography. Amazing Grace, by Elizabeth Fuller, is in the works. Ms. DiBicarri is a relatively new kid on the healing circuit She started full-time healing only six years ago, after several years as leader of the Grace and the Vessels gospel singers. (Accompanied by the ringing rhythm guitar of business adviser Larry James, she still opens every service "with a medley of handclapping gospel favorites, ranging from Hank Williams' classic Saw the Light to what else? Amazing Grace.) "We were appearing in a church in Danbury (Conn.) about 10 years ago," she recalls. "One man sat in a" wheelchair, so paralyzed he couldn't even speak. I felt a sudden urge to 'call him out and I did, and he got out of the wheelchair and walked to the" front of the church. There was this big gasp and most of the other people in the church started to come forward. I waved my hand and they just keeled over. That was the first time . . ." She was baptized a Catholic, but does not identify herself by denomination. (According to friends, Grace feels closest to the Assemblies of God, a fast growing fundamentalist denomination.) Asked if she has been ordaitied, she replies, "I was ordained by God." She often adds, "And I've got a B.A. and an M.A., too I'm Born Again and Mightily Appointed." ,. . She does not have her own church. "I bloom where I'm plarr-ted," she says. "My pulpit's the supermarket, the car wash or wherever the Lord sends me." "Famous Maker" Pants & Skirts SAVE i - -a u0 i OFF NATL ADV. PRICES Nat'l. 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