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John Oscar Pfleger

4-11-1907 to 10-3-1927








He died at age 20,

before he could






John broke his neck playing football. Articles on his death are transcribed below. Eleanor recalled he was carried home from the field on an ironing board.


His older brother, Herbert, died in an accident as well, getting hit by a truck in 1915 when John was 8.



Oscar Pfleger


Annie Wirtz


maternal grandparents:

Hubert Wirtz


Mary Krump


paternal grandparents:

Johann/John Pfleger


 Maria Grimm


maternal aunts & uncles:

Gertrude Wirtz & Emil Wiedemann, Barbara (Sr. M. Louise), Mary Wirtz & Edwin Enk, Charles Wirtz, Tony Wirtz


paternal aunts & uncles:

c. 1878-Henry Pfleger & Louise Lift; 1883-Lou Pfleger & Gert Bornhofen; c.1885-Dell Pfleger & Harry Wachdorf; 1888-Irene Pfleger & Edward Wachdorf


To see Pfleger ancestors going back to the 1600s, click here: Pfleger Family tree

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John mislabeled as Herbert, 1907

1914 John and Herbert, looks like Palm Sunday

John and Herbert

John and Herbert with their cousin Marie Enk

John on far right. Full label below photo gallery

From left: Harry Wachdorf, Oscar Pfleger, John (I think), either Edwin Enk or a Wirtz brother, and Emil Wiedemann (I think)

John in the center at wedding of Tony Trulley and Marie Enk (bridesmaid Eleanor Enk)

article on his death, transcribed below

John's death certificate, essentials transcribed below

John's tombstone (next to his parents' stone) St. Mary's Cemetery, Evergreen Park, IL

photo caption of group shot above: back row from left, Gert Wirtz Wiedemann, Edward Wachdorf (husband of Irene Pfleger), child in arms unknown, Dell Pfleger, Oscar Pfleger holding unknown child, Irene Pfleger Wachdorf, Mary Wirtz (Enk), possibly Charles Wirtz? Front row from left: Tony Wirtz, unknown, Mary Wirtz (mother of Annie, Gert, Charles and Tony), unknown child, Maria Grimm Pfleger (mother of Oscar, Irene and Dell), Annie Wirtz Pfleger, her son Herbert behind her with his aunt Irene's hand on his shoulder, two unknown children in front of Hubert Wirtz (father of Annie, Gert, Charles and Tony), and on the far end, John Pfleger


IIn 1923 John Pfleger was named godfather of his cousin Francis Wachdorf (his aunt Irene Pfleger Wachdorf's son). The godmother was his cousin Marie Pfleger (his Uncle Lou's daughter).

John Pfleger broke his neck playing football. Articles transcribed below. Death certificate essentials: occupation: clerk (company name not fully legible), home address 5648 Wells. Results of inquest: died from a broken vertebrae or broken neck due to exterior violence when deceased was knocked down during a game of football.

Article from gallery above (don't know what paper it was in): First Grid Injury in Six Years Proves Fatal to Youth, 21/John Pfleger, Winchester Star, Breaks Neck in Prairie Football Game: After playing prairie football for six years without serious injury, John Pfleger, 21, 3648 Wells st., was fatally injured Sunday when his neck was broken in a game between the Winchester A.C. and the Tokio A.C. at Sherwood field. Pfleger, a star halfback and one of the organizers of the Winchester club, made a hard tackle as a Tokio man broke loose to skirt the Winchester end. The impact of their collision is believed to have broken his neck. He was rushed to a doctor's office and then taken home. He died at 8:30 Monday morning. Pfleger had been playing a stellar role in the 18 to 0 victory of the Winchesters when the fatal accident occurred. His play had been brilliant during the first three periods of the game, marked by his strong defensive work and clever passing on offense.

2nd article, Enlgewood Times, repeats essentially the same with some differences "...Pfleger was injured Sunday afternoon while playing a game at Lyle field, 57th st. and Shields ave., between his team, the Winchesters of 57th st. and Princeton ave. and the Tokio Juniors of 61st st. and Indiana ave. In attempting to make a tackle he was thrown onto the ground and trampled upon. The injured boy was rushed to St. Bernard's Hospital, where it was found that he was suffering from a fractured spine. His neck was also broken and he died the next morning at 5 o'clock..."

His sister (who was 9 when he died) recalled that he was brought home on an ironing board.

Connection: his paternal aunt was Irene Pfleger Wachdorf