Hall of Fame mourns passing of Conrad Hitchler

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The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame joins with the family of Conrad Hitchler in mourning the passing of the former Missouri Tigers football All-American.

Hitchler, born Jan. 15, 1938, in Kansas City, Mo., to Angela and Harold Hitchler, passed away Sept. 12, 2016. Conrad attended Paseo High School before enlisting and playing football, basketball, and running track for the USMC.

After four years in the Marines, and earning the rank of Sergeant, Conrad played for the Missouri Tigers where he graduated and was awarded All-American honors in 1962. He played in the East-West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl, and the Coaches All America game. Conrad continued to play professionally for the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders for two years before ending his career due to an ankle injury. In 2000, he was inducted in the University of Missouri Hall of Fame, and the State of Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.

Survivors are his loving wife of 28 years, Lee (McCabe) Hitchler, his children, Conrad Goode, Elizabeth Lodge, Janell Hitchler- Goode; step-children, Spencer Lomax and Cori Hostetter, and seven grandchildren, Alexandra, John-Henry, Townes, Hampton, Althea, Emerson, and Lincoln, and siblings, Harold Hitchler, and Maxine Hayes. Memorial service will be at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, at Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 West 47th Street, Kansas City. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Conrad’s honor to The University of Kansas Cancer Center, 3901 Rainbow Boulevard, Kansas City, KS 66160. Arr.: Johnson County Funeral Chapel, 913-451-1860. Johnson County Funeral Chapel, 913-451-1860.

The following was the bio of Hitchler during our 2013 ceremony:

His father was a musician and drummer who played with the big bands of that era.  When Conrad and his brother were young, they often slept in the dresser drawers of hotels while traveling with his family on the road.  After his sister was born, his father took fewer road trips and played locally instead.  This entertainment background explains his love of singing and his son Conrad Jr.’s involvement in both the music and film industry.

Patriotism ran deep in the Hitchler household, so after leaving high school, Conrad joined the United States Marine Corps.  While serving in the Marines, he competed in pole vaulting and discus with the track team. But he also had the opportunity to play football with and against some very fine players.  It was good training for what was to come.  In 1959, after receiving an honorable discharge from the Marine Corps, Conrad contemplated the several scholarship offers.  He chose to play in his home state at the University of Missouri.

Big, strong, fast and with an exceptional set of hands, Conrad was a standout two-way end for Coach Dan Devine, lettering from 1960-62. He led Mizzou in receiving in 1961, and was an all-Big Eight Selection in both 1961 and ’62. Hitchler earned all-America status as a senior, and then went on to play in the East-West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl, and the Coaches All-America Game. In the Blue Bonnet Bowl, Hitchler was voted Outstanding Lineman. During his career at Mizzou Conrad also received the Knute Rockne “ Lineman  of theYear”  Award for his stellar play on the gridiron.

Upon his graduation from Mizzou, Conrad Played for the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League for two seasons, 1963 and 1964.  Hitchler was recruited by his former Coach Dan Devine, who had taken the reigns of the Green Bay Packers and he soon accepted an invitation to participate in the Packers pre-season training camp and the eventual pre-season games. Unfortunately for both Hitchler and the Packers, his season and career was cut short due to a spinal injury.

After leaving football, he worked in the insurance industry, sold sporting equipment, owned and operated a sports embroidery company, and worked for Lafarge Corp.  After retiring from Lafarge, Conrad started his own company, Innovative Construction Materials, which specializes in insulated concrete forms.

While at Missouri, he married Lucinda Herrmann.  The couple had three children, Conrad Jr. who was an All American at MU and played for the New York Giants and for Tampa Bay and is currently an actor, screenwriter, and producer in Los Angeles and Elizabeth, who is an actress and designer in Naples, FL and Janell, who is an educator in Chicago.  He later married Patricia Lee  McCabe Hitchler who is a theater educator. She has two children, Cori and Spencer, and together they have four grandchildren.

Hitchler was inducted into the University of Missouri Athletics Hall of Fame in 1999.

Conrad has stated that he has been very fortunate to have played with such great teammates and coaches. He has been further blessed with good health and a fulfilled personal life and is looking forward to his next comeback.