Goshen News, Goshen, IN

September 1, 2013

FROM THE SIDELINES: Memories of a local treasure


GOSHEN — Notre Dame started its 2013 college football season Saturday, minus one of its more loyal fans from Goshen.

Lamar Paflas, “Mr. Olympia” in our city for his many years as owner of the famed candy store and restaurant, died on July 27 at the age of 89.

Lamar graduated from Goshen High School in 1941 and spent his freshman year at Notre Dame before Pearl Harbor was attacked on Dec. 7. Paflas and most of his buddies then enlisted for military service during World War II which didn’t end until 1945.

The Irish were 8-0-1 under Coach Frank Leahy during Paflas’ one year on campus. ND had a 0-0 tie with Army to spoil a perfect season and the last game was a 20-18 win at home over USC on Nov. 22, just 15 days before Pearl Harbor.

Paflas was on campus with such Irish legends as Angelo Bertelli, Creighton Miller, Bob Dove, Wally Ziemba, John Kovatch, Bernie Crimmins, Paul Lillis, George Murphy, Milt Piepul, Bob Saggau, Bob Osterman, Steve Juzwik and Harry Wright.

Paflas was a long-time season ticket holder at Irish games, having four front-row seats on about the 30-yard line behind the opponents’ bench.

PAFLAS’ father, Nick, was born in 1890 in Prgos, Greece and came to the United States at the age of 15. He and Chris Angelo purchased the store from Sam Hussmuss on July 9, 1924 and renamed it The Olympia. The 100th anniversary of Goshen’s treasure was last year.

Lamar became owner of The Olympia in 1964 and he passed it on to daughter Kathy in 1982. Her son, Kare Andersen, is now principal operator of the business.

Paflas was a member of the First United Methodist Church since 1943 and was among charter members of Maplecrest Country Club where he enjoyed playing golf.

Lamar was my partner in the MCC Dick Swartz Monday Night League for two years, earning individual point honors in our division in 1987.

YOU could be having a difficult day and just a few minutes with Lamar Paflas would make it a much brighter one. There was something good about every day to him.

Scores of youngsters enjoyed their first working experience at The Olympia including 1962 GHS graduate Kirby Whitehead who has been involved with the store for 55 years.

Theresa Hoopingarner Evans wrote in a funeral home web site tribute, “Lamar was my first boss when I was at the age of 14. He taught me about job ethics, organization and to always have humor in the work place.”

Paflas was in Okinawa with the U.S. Army Aircorp during the war. He later was a member of both the American Legion and VFW in Goshen.

LAMAR dabbled briefly in politics, being a Republican candiate for Mayor in 1963. Ralph Schenk would go on to win the election.

Paflas, nicknamed “Dynamite” during his GHS football career, was also a devoted fan of the Chicago Cubs. “We’ll get ’em next year,” he had been saying every year since 1945.

Until shortly before his death, Paflas would still show up bright and early at The Olympia a couple days a week to make the potato salad.

In 1990, Lamar was very proud to see a fellow GHS graduate (Rick Mirer) become starting quarterback for the Fighting Irish.

He was equally thrilled a year ago when Notre Dame emerged from two decades of mediocrity to notch a 12-0 regular season and No. 1 ranking.

Lamar Paflas of Goshen has crossed the goal line of life — as a winner.

CONCERNING the current Notre Dame team, the Irish could be better overall than a year ago but it’s highly unlikely that they will go 12-0 again.

The defense was spectacular and offense opportunistic throughout 2012, but the Irish were very fortunate to come out on top in a couple games.

But then, Alabama was also lucky to be in the national title game. The Tide lost at home to Texas A&M, should have lost to LSU and could have lost to Georgia.

Baylor cost ND its best national title hope by upsetting Kansas State. The Irish probably could have handled KSU, but never Alabama and probably not Oregon or Georgia.

Saturday’s victory over Temple at steamy Rockne Stadium got the new campaign started. We’ll see where it leads.