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Iowa History Daily: April 30 - The Death of Nanny Pape

Iowa History Daily: On April 30, 1936, Iowa State Patrolman Oran “Nanny” Pape passed away while serving in the line of duty. An all-time Dubuque Senior and Iowa Hawkeye great on the gridiron, Pape’s extraordinary life ended abruptly after a routine traffic stop.

Born in Waupeton, Pape excelled athletically from an early age. A standout basketball, football, and track athlete at Dubuque Senior, Pape also served as a lifeguard at Eagle Point Beach where records credit him with saving many lives. After briefly enrolling at the University of Dubuque, Pape eventually ended up at Iowa.

Pape gained statewide fame in 1928 when he ran a 67-yard touchdown to give the Hawkeyes a 7-6 homecoming win over Minnesota. The bane of Gophers everywhere, the following year Pape again ran in a touchdown, this with under two minutes to go, to put Iowa past Minnesota by a score of 9-7. Pape went on to play professionally for at least seven teams after college before joining the Iowa State Patrol in 1935.

During late April of 1936, Pape stopped a Chevrolet sedan reported stolen from Bloomfield on Highway 61 near Muscatine. The driver, Roscoe Barton, pulled a gun and demanded Pape get in the car. A struggle ensued, resulting in Barton’s death and Pape shot in the stomach. Pape passed away at Mercy Hospital in Davenport the following day. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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