Nebraska Golf Hall Of Fame
- Class of 1990
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Richard L. “Dick” Spangler
Space isn’t available to list all of the individual golfing honors that Dick Spangler won during a career that began in earnest 40-some years ago. But it was a team selection — not an individual achievement — that he still lists among his most satisfying moments.
“When I was in the Air Force in the mid 50’s,” Spangler explains, “qualifying was held at all the bases to pick a five-man all-Air Force team. Miller Barber and I were two of the five to make it. Don January failed to make the cut. So did Joe Conrad, who the year before had won the British Amateur.” In the all service matches that followed against the Army and Navy teams, the Air Force won by 27 strokes.
While stationed at the Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Spangler won the Mississippi State amateur championship in 1955.
A University of Nebraska Law College graduate, Dick was a three-year letterman for the Cornhuskers. During that time he was the Lincoln City champion in 1950 and ’51 and also won the Nebraska State amateur title in 1952.
After leaving the Air Force, Spangler added two more Nebraska State championships in 1957 and ’58; and fired a course-record 63 at The Country Club of Lincoln.
A member of the Trans-Mississippi Board of Directors since 1969, Spangler has qualified for the U.S. Amateur championship nine times; and has been a U.S. Senior Amateur qualifier four times. In addition, Spangler is the immediate past president of the Nebraska Golf Hall of Fame.
Dean Candea says that golf was a different game than it was today when he grew up in North Platte.
“The only courses in the area had sand greens, the high school didn’t have a golf team, and nobody knew what a handicap was,” he said.
Thats the reason tennis was Dean’s sport until he got out of the service after World War II.
“All the courses in our area of the state still had sand greens when I took up golf,” Candea adds, “although North Platte Country Club eventually had nine grass greens and nine were sand.”
Candea is being recognized for his dominance as a sand greens player by his induction into the Nebraska Golf Hall of Fame. It is said that he considered it a bad round if his 18-hole score every exceeded 59.
He still cherishes the three gold putters he won as the state sand green champion in 1949, 50, and 51.
In the 1949 championships at McCook, Candea fired a sizzling score of 250, which was 38 under par. He had 38 birdies and 34 pars in the 72 holes – with nary a bogey.
Dean also won the Buffalo Bill Championship nine times between 1950 and 1965.
“During the golf season, I was playing in some tournament in Wyoming, Kansas, or Nebraska about every weekend,” Dean recalls.
As a result, he adds, his wife Barbara deserves special recognition, “She practically raised our two daughters single-handedly since I was out of town so much either because of my work or playing golf.”