- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 3, 2004

Remember Everett Hosack, the centenarian who attempted a world-record shot put last year? Host Jay Leno invited Hosack to be a guest on “The Tonight Show” after the longtime Cleveland resident recorded the fastest 100-meter dash by a 100-year-old. Hosack demolished the existing record in April 2002 at Penn Relays, running in the 75-and-over division and finishing in 43.00 seconds to smash the record of 58.29.

On July 29, 2004, Hosack died. Word of his death is circulating only now after an obituary was posted Tuesday on the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Web site, and the question being asked by friends and admirers is, why was his death kept secret for two months?

“It was so sad that [son David] didn’t want anything in the paper,” said Alana Baranick, a veteran obituary writer who authored the obit. “All I know is that somebody up here called [Asheville] North Carolina to Everett’s son’s house to check up on him, and his son said, ‘Oh he’s dead.’ I had to get his actual date of death from the Social Security Administration.”

Plenty of theories abound, but the one person who knows the truth about his death is Hosack’s son and only survivor, and he isn’t talking.

“[David] never bothered to let anybody know,” said Rex Harvey, who considered himself one of Hosack’s closest friends, a fellow competitor at the Over the Hill Track Club and training partner who frequently drove Hosack to meets. “I don’t think it is some big secret. He wouldn’t tell us anything when we called him.

“We asked for a death certificate so we could write an obit, and he said no. We asked him where Everett was buried, and he said, ‘I’m not saying.’ We asked him which funeral home was used, and he said, ‘It’s not your business.’ That was really sad. The son seems to be really indifferent.”

David Hosack did not return a call from The Washington Times. Baranick said she received the same response from David as Harvey.

Harvey said there was no indication of a falling out between father and son, although he had the impression they were not close.

Furthermore, according to Harvey, after Everett’s wife Elsa died in November 2002, David Hosack hired an attorney to take significant funds from his mother’s accounts — going against the instructions on a written note Elsa gave to Everett before she died so Everett could afford to keep their large home.

“This is the same son who then came and took the furniture, and so forth, that he wanted from the house, but left what he didn’t want, including Everett,” said Harvey, a vice president of World Masters Athletics and a 1976 Olympic Trials qualifier in the decathlon. “And then when Everett, the eternal optimist, did move, in October 2003, to his son’s house, the son refused to help in the least way so Everett had to get other friends to do it for him.”

According to friends, the beginning of the end for Hosack was the death of his wife of 67 years, which brought on depression. His move to Asheville was motivated by the love of his grandchildren, Harvey believes.

The running community knew he wasn’t doing so well last summer when his doctor advised him against traveling to Puerto Rico for the 2003 World Championships. By winter, Harvey said, Everett was living in a senior center in Florida.

Apparently, according to one of Baranick’s sources, Hosack got sick and had at least a couple of blood transfusions for anemia but never got his red blood cell count up. Eventually, he returned to Asheville before his death.

“Although he participated in a track meet [in Clermont, Fla.] in March, his stats indicate that his motor functions were on the decline,” Baranick said. Still, he won three gold medals in three events because he was the sole entrant.

Aside from a short stint with the hurdles at the University of Florida, Hosack’s track and field career began only in 1980, but he set more than 50 world records. It is sad to see him go, but even sadder to know there are many questions left unanswered.

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