Francis Schultz was a track star in Forest Grove as the sport was gaining popularity in the U.S.

Reading about Francis Schultz’s accomplishments at Forest Grove High School, one takes a trip through the mists of time.

Schultz ran track for Forest Grove in 1938. The No. 1 song that year was Artie Shaw’s “Begin the Beguine.” The No. 2 song was Ella Fitzgerald’s “A-Tisket A-Tasket.” Joe DiMaggio was in his third season with the New York Yankees. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the president. Two years before, Jesse Owens had become the biggest name in track and field, winning four gold medals at the Berlin COURTESY PHOTO  - Forest Grove High School track and field star Francis Schultz poses with a car around the time of his high school graduation in 1938.

The sport of track was completely different. There were no Nike shoes in 1938. In fact, that was the year Nike co-founder Phil Knight was born. American track had not even started using the metric system.

At Forest Grove, Schultz ran the 100-yard dash and the 220-yard dash, and also competed in the broad jump. In 1938, Schultz was the fastest prep athlete in Oregon.

Schultz came into the state championship meet his senior season knowing how close he had come to stardom the year before. As a junior, Schultz took third place in the broad jump with a leap of 22 feet, 10 inches. He took second place in the 100-yard dash with a time of 10.02 seconds and fourth place in the 220-yard dash with a time of 23.2.

His senior year, Schultz would not be denied. In the district meet that year, he won all three of his primary events. His time of 9.8 seconds in the 100-yard dash set a new state record, which was previously held by Bobby Grayson, who went on to become an All-American football player at Stanford.

Schultz was unable to break his own record in the 100-yard dash during the state meet, but his time of 10 seconds flat was good enough to win first place. He also won the 220-yard dash with a time of 21.9 seconds, and took second place in the broad jump with a leap of 21 feet, 6 inches.

Schultz died in 2002 of colon cancer, but for what he accomplished three quarters of a century ago, he will be inducted into the Forest Grove High School Athletic Hall of Fame as a member of the 2012 class.

As talented as Schultz was, he was also “what you would call a humble man,” according to his son, Greg Schultz.

Francis Schultz did not tell his children much about his accomplishments. It was not until Greg Schultz was 9 or 10 years old that he first realized what a successful athlete his father had been.

“When we visited my grandmother, she had an album with newspaper clippings and there were medals lying around,” Greg Schultz says. “I didn’t initially know anything about it.”

Seeing everything that his father had accomplished made Francis Schultz even more of a hero to his son.

“When you’re children, parents are heroes to you anyway,” Greg Schultz says. “So I looked upon that with certain pride.”

Part of the reason that Francis Schultz did not talk too much about his accomplishments was because by the time his children were born he had already moved on to a new life as a photographer.

Francis Schultz ran a portrait studio in Junction City, where he shot portraits and weddings, as well as chronicling the events of the small town during the 1940s and 50s.

“A lot of the talents that

allowed him to be a good

athlete — the timing, the perception, the eyesight — were things that led very directly to him being successful as a photographer,” Greg Schultz says.

Francis Schultz continued working up until he was diagnosed with prostate cancer so that he could make sure his family was provided for.

“He was a very caring, very responsible person,” Greg Schultz says. “He was very responsible for his family right up until his death. He provided for everyone.”

His other son, Brad Schultz, says that even though his father is not alive to see it, knowing that Forest Grove High still remembers Francis Schultz and that for as long as the school is standing people will know everything that he accomplished means a lot to the Schultz family.

“It’s really very cool,” Brad Schultz says. “It makes me proud and I’m glad to be his son. He deserved it.”

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