The Name - The Legend - The Man
by Suzanne Law Hawes
One thing that John told his daughter about his career with the ND team was that they traveled by special train cars (before the advent of airplanes) and there were three cars… two coaches and a chapel car in between.
He claimed that there were cliques amongst the team members self-selecting who was in what car and he was continually going back and forth between the sets of men to keep harmony, enthusiasm and contact.
The newspapers following the Rockne team are replete with information about John's football career. His deep and abiding respect for his coach carried through John's life. He basically treated all of his "men" either collegian or convict with the respect that was shown to him by his great mentor. He modeled himself and his coaching after Rockne.
On April 11, 1931 he married another Yonkers resident, Helen Van Deventer, daughter of John H. and Isabelle (Stone) Van Deventer. He was an immigrant bricklayer's son and she was the daughter of an old Dutch family who first arrived in Breukelen in 1662. They had a quiet ceremony.
Following the death of Rockne, they left for Los Angeles to make the movie of 'The Spirit of Notre Dame" with Lew Ayres. It was there that they visited Will Rogers ranch and were entertained in Hollywood style.
Helen Van Deventer Law writes in her diary:
Senior year, we (her sister Mollie and herself at College of New Rochelle) were in different halls. It was an exciting year for me, with John Law captain of the Notre Dame football team. He graduated in January (1930) and went to work on Wall Street.
In June (1931) John was employed by Rockefeller Center, then being built, but stayed only until July when we left for California on an all expense paid trip to Hollywood to make a film of Rocke's life "The Spirit of Notre Dame." Among those who went were Mrs. Rockne, Christy Walsh and his wife, the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame and their wives, Adam Walsh, Bucky O'Connor, Art McMahon and Frank Carrideo.
It was somewhat glamorous adventure with spectacular parties with famous movie stars including Walter Houston, Anita Page, Jean Harlow, Ginger Rogers, Sue Carol, Kent Douglas, Mae Clark and Lois Moran. We spent an afternoon as guests of Will Rogers at his ranch, an evening at the Coconut Grove with Nick Stuart and Sally Blane, Mary Brian, Ginger Rogers; a dinner party at Sally Blane's with Loretta Young, Joan Marsh and Joyce Complin.
We left Hollywood via Sunset Limited on August 22 and visited New Orleans, returning to New York by steamer.
We found an apartment in Fieldston near Manhattan College where John was coaching football. On March 31, 1931, Knute Rockne was killed in an airplane crash, to the consternation of people all over the world and a great shock to John. He went to South Bend for the funeral.
Because it was the Depression jobs were hard to get and work hard to find especially in the world of sports. They moved to Helen's parent's home in Yonkers and their son was born in 1932.
Shortly after, John secured a job with the Alcohol Beverage Commission and they secured their own apartment.
Searching Sing for My Father by Dr. Robert L. Gold.
John B. Law was a member of the State Commission of Correction at the time of his death in 1962. To learn more about the SCOC, click its logo left to access its web site.
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