For This WWII Veteran, a Final Touchdown Run Put the Exclamation Point On An Extraordinary Life

By Jack Day

At 89 Bryan Sperry is the kind of man who you wouldn’t mind having a sporadic conversation with in the park while walking your dog. He could probably tell you about some pretty amazing things he’s seen in his lifetime. Like when he played football for the University of Kansas at 17 along side his older brother Kenneth and cousin Jack Fink. Or what it was like growing up during the Great Depression. He might even mention the war.

As a freshman at Kansas Bryan was busy scoring touchdowns and going to class, but as the United States was pulled into World War II his agenda would change. Both he and his brother were drafted and shipped over seas where they would fight for the next three years.

This might be the part of the story where Bryan would mention The Battle of the Bulge and stun you with details of the violence.  It never ceases to captivate the mind as to what these guys went through.

After his heroic service he made it out alive and found his way back to the University of Kansas, and of course football. Bryan and the Jayhawks would even make it as far as the Orange Bowl in 1947, before he finally graduated and started a family.




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Bryan married a young woman named Reita, and the two had 6 children. Now grandparents to 15 little ones and great grand parents to 6, the couple is expecting their first great-great grandchild.

Nearly 70 years after leaving the University of Kansas Bryan returned for a final run down the field. He wasn’t sure if he could get up to speed, but he did pretty good for an 89 year old I’d say. I think the same can be said about his inspiring life story.

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What do you think about the unstoppable Bryan Sperry? What a brave man to have made the ultimate sacrifice for his country at such a young age. Please share your comments and experiences.

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