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03/22/2011

Frank Neuhauser, first spelling bee champ, dies at 97

March 22, 2011 |  9:04 pm

Frank Neuhauser, who in 1925 won the first national spelling bee with the word "gladiolus," died March 11 at his home in Silver Spring, Md. He was 97.

He was an 11-year-old from Louisville, Ky., when he won the championship, now called the Scripps National Spelling Bee and televised nationally. His prizes included $500 in gold and a trip to the White House to meet President Calvin Coolidge.

Neuhauser, who became a patent lawyer, had attended some of the national bees over the years. That included 2008, when he said the contest was a lot easier during his youth.

He said he'd never make it in the current format.

-- Associated Press

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