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RIP Rex Cawley


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  • RIP Rex Cawley

    Rex Cawley has died although that's about all we know. If anybody finds an obituary or more information please let me know.

    1964 400 hurdles gold medalist

    From Olympedia:

    At the 1959 AAU, “Rex” Cawley made track history by becoming the only athlete ever to place in the first six in all three hurdles events. The 18-year-old schoolboy finished fifth in the 110y, third in the 220y, and sixth in the 440y hurdles. In the fall of 1959, Cawley entered Southern Cal. After failing to make the 1960 Olympic team, he had excellent seasons in 1961 and 1962 despite injury problems in those years. In 1963 he enjoyed a full season and won the AAU and NCAA 440y hurdles, also placing second in the open quarter at the NCAA with a career best of 46.0. In 1964, Cawley set a world record of 49.1 for the intermediate hurdles and went on to win the Olympic title. His last major championship came when he won the AAU in 1965. Cawley later worked in the medical/electronics industry and then became a travel agent.

    Personal Bests: 440y – 46.0 (1963); 110H – 13.9 (1959); 400H – 49.1 (1964).

  • #2
    A nice remembrance at the blog of George Brose, who also does not know obit specifics.

     I just heard from Russ Reabold of the USC Trojan Force alumni group that Rex Cawley passed away recently.  It's been a tough month for USC ...


    • #3
      He was just before my time, but as an aspiring 440H dude, I sure knew who he was. Great Champion.


      • #4
        Wow, very sorry to hear about his death. I met Rex a few times, but the first time was just after he won the 1964 U.S. Olympic Trials with a world record (49.1) in the L.A. Coliseum. He signed my program and seemed like a great guy and, of course, he was a very talented guy.


        • #5
          A prodigy as a prep, world ranked in 110H (10th) and 400H (8th) as a high school senior in 1959.


          • #6
            Originally posted by dj View Post
            A prodigy as a prep, world ranked in 110H (10th) and 400H (8th) as a high school senior in 1959.
            Sad to read of Rex Cawley's death. He was 5th edtion HS T&F Annual Athlete of the Year and led or was in top 5 all time hurdler in all hurdle events. Saw him in several AAU meets and in 1964 OT and he was a very smooth natural hurdler. Came out of the midwest to go west to USC. Much too young to a RIP notice.


            • #7
              Originally posted by midwestfan View Post
              Much too young to a RIP notice.
              81 is better than the "three score and ten" we're 'promised'.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Atticus View Post
                81 is better than the "three score and ten" we're 'promised'.
                81 is becomming to seem younger all the time.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by KDFINE View Post

                  81 is becomming to seem younger all the time.
                  I still unable to find an Obituary on internet but did find an Obituary of his very accomplished wife, Sharon who passed sadly at age 50 in 1989 and left husband Rex and four children (one daughter and three sons. They lived in Pomona, CA.

                  For Stats enthusiasts on aging: Of the 13 OG Gold medalists in 400 Hurdles (1900-1964 with no event in 1912) Rex Cawley was 5th oldest GM to pass on at age 81. The other four who were older were between 83-94 yrs old. The other eight GM 400 m Hurdles died at an average age of 70 year (all were over 60+ years).
                  Farmington High School legend still thriving since 1888 and should have some tribute to their greatest and most famous graduates.


                  • #10
                    I noticed that the obituary called him "Rex", with quotation marks. Was that not his real first name?


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by noone View Post
                      I noticed that the obituary called him "Rex", with quotation marks. Was that not his real first name?
                      Originally posted by wiki
                      Warren Jay "Rex" Cawley (July 6, 1940 – January 2022)


                      • #12
                        Hello all- thank you for all the kind words. My father passed away late January. I am trying to get to as many T&F sites as I can. The Trojan folks are helping a bit. Here is the Obit we are using on social media

                        Warren Jay “Rex” Cawley passed away Friday, January 21st, 2022 at the age of 81 in his home in Orange, California. Rex was a beloved husband, father, brother, uncle and grandfather. He is survived by his wife of 29 years, Lynn, his children, Dena and Grant, his siblings Jay and Valerie, and his five grandchildren.

                        Rex was born in Highland Park, Michigan to Harry and Erna Cawley. He attended Farmington High School, where he began his athletic career and set the school’s record for the 100-yard dash. His record still stands today. At 18 years old, Rex was named Track and Field News’ “High School Athlete of the Year” after becoming the only athlete to place in the first six of all three hurdle events at the 1959 AAU championships. Rex went on to attend the University of Southern California, earning a Bachelor of Science in sales administration and participating as a member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity. Despite battling injury, Rex ran several excellent track seasons at USC, winning two AAU championships and earning an NCAA title in the 400-meter hurdles. In 1964, Rex set a world record time of 49.1 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles at the Olympic trials, making him a favorite entering the Tokyo Olympic games. During the 1964 Olympic games, Rex won the gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles, beating his nearest competitor by 0.5 seconds. Rex’s renowned athletic career led to his induction into The National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2006, the University of Southern California Hall of Fame in 2009, The Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 2012, and The National High School Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2019.

                        While his legacy as an athlete left an indelible mark on the world, those close to Rex celebrate him most for his kindness, competitive spirit, and strong faith. Rex loved problem solving, both for leisure and for the benefit of others. In addition to enjoying thought-intensive games, Rex had an impressive ability to fix just about anything. Rex was a music lover and could often be found with headphones on, entranced in song. In his later years, he blended his love of music with his love for Jesus Christ, teaching himself the keyboard so he could play alongside the “youngins” in the church band, as he fondly referred to them.

                        Finding strength in God and with the support of his family and church, Rex displayed stoicism and uncomplaining courage throughout his battle with cancer. He will be dearly missed and lovingly remembered.