Ralph Heywood, 1943 All-American End, Dies

April 11, 2007

Ralph Heywood, a 1943 consensus All-American end on the USC football team who then served in 3 wars as a Marine, died on Tuesday (April 10) in Bandera, Tex. He was 85.

A funeral service will be held on April 16 at 10 a.m. at the Kerrville (Tex.) Funeral Home Chapel, with burial at 2 p.m. at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. Visitation will be held April 15 from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Kerrville Funeral Home.

Heywood, who prepped at Huntington Park (Calif.) High, was a 3-year (1941-43) letterman for the Trojans and captained the team in 1943 when USC went 8-2 and shut out Washington in the Rose Bowl, 29-0. He also earned All-Conference honors that season.

He led the Trojans in receiving in both 1942 (12 catches, 205 yards) and 1943 (11 catches, 196 yards), and had the school's first-ever 100-yard receiving game when he gained 101 yards on 4 receptions versus St. Mary's Pre-Flight in 1943. He also led USC in punting in 1941 (37.5 average) and 1942 (37.8).

He earned All-American honors in 1943 despite being called into the Marine Corps after 5 games.

Heywood was drafted in the third round of the 1944 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions. After returning from military service, he played in the 1946 College All-Star Game, then played professionally with the Chicago Rockets (1946), Lions (1947), Boston Yanks (1948) and New York Bulldogs (1949).

He then returned to the Marine Corps, where he had a 32-year career as an officer. He served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He then retired to a ranch in Bandera, Tex., where he was active in the area's equestrian community.

He is survived by his wife, Charlotte (Suzie), a stepson, Robert, and stepdaughter, Geri, and 3 grandchildren.

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