John Happenny (Anaconda Standard, August 17, 1923)

John Happenny

This article was written by Kurt Blumenau

John Happenny (Anaconda Standard, August 17, 1923)On athletic fields – both baseball and football – John Clifford Happenny was eclipsed by Hall of Famers. Only after his retirement from sports did his light fully shine, as the former Chicago White Sox infielder (32 games in 1923) became a senior executive at utility companies in Oklahoma and Illinois, and a leader in his communities.

Happenny was born on May 18, 1901, to Canadian immigrant John William Augustus Happenny and the former Lillian Dolan, in Waltham, Massachusetts.1 Waltham was known at the time for watchmaking, and many of the family’s neighbors in Waltham’s Sixth Ward worked in watch factories, but the senior Happenny was a machinist in a screw factory during his son’s youth.2

Like some men who share their fathers’ first names, John Clifford Happenny commonly identified himself by his middle name.3 He is listed in baseball records as John Happenny, but most sources from his youth and his athletic career call him Cliff or Clifford, including his high-school and college yearbooks and newspaper articles.4 (When he ascended into corporate management, his name changed again: In most news coverage from his business career, he is J.C. Happenny.)

Happenny batted and threw right-handed. Box scores show the teenager playing shortstop and catcher for the Waltham High School baseball team, going 3-for-4, stealing two bases, and fielding flawlessly in one game against nearby Melrose High.5 He also earned mention in the fall 1917 caddies’ tournament at a local country club, winning in the first round of play but losing to the tournament’s eventual champion in the second round.6 There was more to the boy than sports: The 1918 Waltham High Mirror student newspaper credited “Clifford J. Happenny” as graduating with a “creditable record” from the school’s technical course of study.7 He also served as one of two athletic editors of the Mirror, a precursor of his many later involvements in extracurricular and community activities.8

From Waltham High, Happenny moved on to the Lowell Institute School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he studied civil engineering.9 The Lowell Institute School, founded by the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, offered two-year programs in engineering and other technical subjects, initially targeted at industrial foremen looking to broaden their knowledge.10 (Some sources credit Happenny with attending MIT and even winning varsity sports letters there, but this appears to be incorrect.)11 He continued to play amateur baseball.12

By the early 1920s the athletic and accomplished Happenny was a big man in search of a campus.13 He found one at the University of Illinois, where he entered as a member of the Class of 1924.14 Between the fall of 1921 and the spring of 1923, Happenny joined the Newman Club, a Catholic social ministry on campus; pledged both the Sigma Tau engineering fraternity and the Phi Kappa Catholic fraternity; served as an officer in Skull and Crescent, an interfraternity society; received honors from Sachem, a junior honors society; and was one of seven members of the school’s Men’s Honor Commission.15

Like any Big Man on Campus, Happenny was a multi-sport varsity athlete when he wasn’t joining clubs or winning honors. He played a single season as a varsity football halfback in 192216 under coach Bob Zuppke, a future College Football Hall of Famer. Illinois’ football squad was a team to be reckoned with in an era when college football was king. The school had won the national and Big Ten championships as recently as 1919.17

Unfortunately the 1922 season was a letdown for the Illini gridders, who posted only two wins against five losses. Happenny lost time with injury18 but was credited with playing well in games against the University of Michigan and the University of Iowa.19 On defense he made a fourth-quarter interception in Illinois’ upset win over the University of Wisconsin.20 One news account from that fall predicted that Happenny would “flash to fame on the western gridiron next year.”21

Instead, Illinois football fans essentially forgot Happenny’s existence the following year. Happenny had left school by the fall of 1923, and that year’s Illini team introduced the sporting world to a dazzling new halfback: Red Grange. A once-in-a-generation talent, Grange led the ’23 team to an undefeated season and national and Big Ten championships. After two more seasons with Illinois, Grange became professional football’s first marquee star and a member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

On the baseball front, Happenny played on the “freshman varsity” team in the spring of 1922.22 That seems to have been enough to impress the Chicago White Sox. In January 1923, before Happenny had made full varsity, a newspaper reported that the White Sox had offered the athletic young man a look-see “any time he decides to try professional baseball.”23

That might seem unusual at first glance. But the Illinois baseball program had a strong big-league pedigree, starting with coach Carl Lundgren, who had pitched eight years for the Chicago Cubs and scouted for the St. Louis Cardinals. That same January 1923 report noted that recent Illini players Harry McCurdy, Dick Reichle, and Otto Vogel were all on the verge of big-league trials, with other players looking ahead to minor-league opportunities.24 In previous years the college had produced veteran major-leaguers Jake Stahl, Cy Falkenberg, Ray Demmitt, and Jeff Pfeffer.25

Lundgren’s 1921 and 1922 teams won Big Ten titles, but the ’23 team fell to third in the conference with a 7-4 mark, despite an overall record of 14-6-1.26 Happenny began the season at shortstop, but was moved to first base after displaying an unspecified “nervous tendency” – manifested, perhaps, in dropped balls or airmailed throws.27 His play was still strong enough to get him described as a “great infield luminary” and “one of the most promising infielders the Illini have seen in years.”28

On June 22 the campus newspaper broke the news that the “speedy halfback and sterling infielder” was reporting to the White Sox the next day for a tryout and did not intend to return to the university that fall.29 White Sox manager Kid Gleason’s wire of invitation reached Happenny in a clubhouse in Lynn, Massachusetts, where Happenny was playing with a Boston-area amateur team called the Cornet All-Stars.30 Happenny became the 11th former college player on the White Sox roster, and one of about 50 to sign with major-league teams that season.31 Other college men who reached the majors in 1923 included future Hall of Famers Lou Gehrig of the New York Yankees and Happenny’s White Sox teammate Ted Lyons.32

The youngster made a splash right away, reportedly being ejected from the White Sox’ June 26 game against the Detroit Tigers before he’d ever taken the field for the team.33 Happenny made his unofficial debut with the White Sox on June 27, entering late in an exhibition game to play shortstop against the Postum Cereal company team in Battle Creek, Michigan.34 His official first game followed on July 2, when he took over at second base for the final three innings against the St. Louis Browns and had one unsuccessful turn at bat.

With Grange looming over Illini football, Happenny found himself overshadowed by yet another future Hall of Famer in the world of baseball. Eddie Collins, a .324 hitter in 1922 and a college man himself,35 was the team captain and had a lock on the White Sox second-base job. Collins earned an annual salary of $15,000, one of the highest in the game, and was still going strong in his 18th season in a major-league uniform. At age 36 in 1923, Collins hit .360, led the AL with 48 stolen bases, and finished second to Babe Ruth for the Most Valuable Player award. It was clear that Happenny was signed as a current “understudy” and possible future successor to Collins.36

It was Happenny’s temporary good fortune, however, that Collins was injured in early July 1923, having twisted a knee.37 From July 3 through 19, the newcomer played 15 games at second base, starting all but one. He earned praise for his spirited play and batted .279 over those 15 games, which included his best offensive day in the majors, a 3-for-3 performance with two RBIs against the Boston Red Sox on July 19.38 One account of the day called him “a whirlwind.”39

Collins’ return pushed Happenny out of the starting lineup on July 20, but the rookie caught breaks as other infielders went down with slumps or minor injuries. Between July 30 and August 6, Happenny replaced Hervey McClellan as Chicago’s starting shortstop; on August 9 and in the first game of an August 11 doubleheader, he spelled Willie Kamm at third base. Happenny’s versatility won him notice in the August 23 issue of The Sporting News, which ran his photo on Page One under the headline “He’s All Their Reserves.” “He did all the jobs so well that he leaped into the limelight,” the paper reported. “He’s of the makeup, so they say, to win.”40

Happenny’s determination to succeed couldn’t prevent one embarrassing rookie gaffe in an August 20 game against the New York Yankees. With one out and New York’s Joe Dugan on third, Ruth skied a high pop to Happenny at second, who made the catch with some difficulty. Apparently thrilled by his accomplishment, Happenny fired the ball to White Sox center fielder Johnny Mostil – forgetting about Dugan, who trotted home with a gift run. The mistake gave the Yankees a 12-0 lead in a game they won 16-5, so it didn’t cost the White Sox much.41

Happenny played only five games the rest of the season, including just two appearances in September. His mistake could have had something to do with that, though it seems more likely that his opportunities simply dried up with Collins, McClellan, and Kamm playing regularly. His hitting was not strong enough to force his way into the lineup: Happenny was batting .235 as of August 20 and finished the season at .221, with exactly 100 plate appearances over 32 games. News stories suggest Happenny suffered an injury during this time as well.42 It also seems possible that Gleason had seen enough of the youngster to evaluate him, and already knew where he fit into plans for the following season.43

Perhaps as he rode the bench that fall, Happenny was mentally charting his own course for 1924 and beyond, one that didn’t involve the White Sox. As late as February 29 the Chicago Tribune reported his impending arrival at spring training.44 But a month later the paper reported that Happenny had retired to go into business.45 He never returned to affiliated pro baseball, though he played several more seasons in his spare time with semipro teams, such as the Logan Square team in the Midwest League in Illinois.46

Contemporary news accounts didn’t explain Happenny’s decision. After his death, many years later, a grandson commented: “He was very cerebral. He decided being a baseball player wasn’t much of a career for him.”47 Collins later became White Sox manager and reportedly sought out Happenny to return as late as 1926, but Collins’ former understudy had firmly moved on from pro ball.48

Happenny married the former Regina Sullivan of Chicago in 1925, and they remained wed until her death in 1981.49 The Happennys had four children, a son and three daughters.50 He began his post-baseball career with U.S. Gypsum in Pennsylvania but switched to the utility business in 1929, taking a position as assistant to the treasurer of Central and South West Utilities Company of Dallas, Texas.51 He remained in the electricity, natural gas, and water business for the rest of his working life, and excelled there.

In 1933 Happenny returned to Illinois as treasurer of Central Illinois Public Service Inc. of Springfield, an electric provider commonly known as CIPS.52 CIPS was part of Middle West Corporation, a utility holding company whose sprawling assets ranged from Michigan’s Northern Peninsula to the southern tip of Texas.53

Six years later Happenny landed the president’s job at Oklahoma Power and Water, another Middle West subsidiary based in the Tulsa suburb of Sand Springs.54 Happenny stayed there from 1939 until 1948, immersing himself in community activities. He was elected president of the Sand Springs Chamber of Commerce, served on the advisory board of the Tulsa YMCA, chaired an effort to build a youth community center, and served as Catholic co-chairman of the Tulsa chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews.55 He also found time to entertain the Sand Springs Women’s Club with his violin.56

In addition to his day job Happenny was appointed commander of the control center of the local citizens’ defense corps in 1942. The position would have given him command of civilian defense forces in case of bombing or other war disaster – a sign of the community’s faith in his leadership.57 He also served a one-year term as president of the Oklahoma Utilities Association trade group at the same time.58 In his whirl of activity, few of his Oklahoma associates knew that he’d once played major-league baseball.59

Happenny returned to CIPS in January 1948, initially as assistant to the vice president. He was named vice president in charge of commercial activities in 1953 and held that title until his retirement.60 He served on the company’s board of directors in the early and mid-1960s,61 and is credited with convincing CIPS to implement a full-time public relations program to manage internal and external communications.62

Happenny stayed busy with extracurricular activities in his second stint at CIPS, joining a group of engineers from Midwestern power companies and serving as board president of the Catholic diocese of Springfield.63 In 1956 he testified during Congressional hearings on a bill to create employment programs in economically depressed areas.64 Two years later, he was one of five utility executives named to the Natural Resources Committee of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a group that advised Chamber policy on utility and natural resource issues.65

Happenny retired in 1966 and moved to Florida, where he enjoyed golf and attended at least one old-timers’ game with other former players.66 Unfortunately, all four of his children predeceased him. But three of them had married and raised families, and at the time of his death, Happenny had 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.67

John Clifford Happenny died of heart disease at age 87 on December 29, 1988, in Coral Springs, Florida. Following services in Coral Springs, he was buried in North Lauderdale, Florida.68 A son-in-law, William Campion, spoke of him in glowing terms: “He was the only man I ever met in my life who appeared to have no human frailties. He was very religious. He had a temper, but it was under control. He was a warm person, a gentleman and a man’s man.”69



The author thanks the Giamatti Research Center at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and the Sports Information Department of the University of Illinois for assistance.

This article was reviewed by Rory Costello and Rick Zucker and checked for accuracy by SABR’s fact-checking team.


Sources and photo credit

In addition to the sources identified in the Notes, the author also consulted other news articles, particularly from the University of Illinois Daily Illini, the Chicago Tribune, and newspapers in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, area.

Photo from the Anaconda (Montana) Standard, August 17, 1923: 6.



1 Waltham is about 11 miles west of Boston. As of March 2023, Retrosheet listed Waltham as the birthplace of six former major-league players and two former umpires. Probably the most noteworthy among them is Dave Pallone, National League umpire from 1979 to 1988 and author of Behind the Mask: My Double Life in Baseball.

2 Entry in 1910 U.S. Census, accessed through on March 23, 2023. The Happennys also had a younger daughter, Ruth. According to information on accessed in April 2023, John W.A. Happenny was born in 1872 and died in 1961, while Lillian Happenny was born in 1873 and died in 1953.

3 Interestingly, on the 1910 U.S. Census, neither Happenny is identified by his first name: The father is listed as Augustus and the son as Clifford. The family name is also misspelled as Hapenny.

4 In a survey filled out for a sportswriter during his brief big-league career, Happenny’s name was written as “Clifford Happenny.” The writer then went back and wedged in the word “John” before Clifford, seemingly as an afterthought. It’s not clear whether the survey was filled out by Happenny or by the writer, Ford Sawyer, based on a conversation with Happenny. But either way, the survey emphasizes “Clifford” as a preferred first name. The survey survives in Happenny’s clip file at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

5 “Waltham H.S. 6, Melrose H.S. 3,” Boston Globe, June 3, 1917: 14; “Waltham H.S. 7, Watertown 6,” Boston Globe, June 14, 1917: 8.

6 “William Quinlan Caddie Champion of Brae-Burn,” Boston Globe, September 27, 1917: 9.

7 The Mirror credits some graduates as earning an Honorable Record, some a Creditable Record, and others with no special distinction. Presumably, the Creditable Record was a lesser distinction than Honorable, but a step above graduating with no special notice.

8 Waltham High School Mirror “Graduation Number” of June 1918, accessed via the Internet Archive on March 24, 2023.

9 Among the news stories mentioning Happenny’s Lowell Institute School studies: “Executive Appointed Defense Corps Head,” Southwest Courier (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), June 20, 1942: 2; “Happenny Named to Head County Control Center,” Tulsa (Oklahoma) World, June 14, 1942: 1; and “Happenny, Official of CIPS, Retires,” Mattoon (Illinois) Journal Gazette, May 31, 1966: 20.

10Lowell Institute School Records,” Northeastern University Libraries Archives and Special Collections website, accessed March 24, 2023. In 1996 the Lowell Institute School became part of Northeastern’s School of Engineering Technology, where it remained as of the spring of 2023.

11 One example of this misunderstanding in print: “Happenny, White Sox Recruit, Was College Star,” Brooklyn (New York) Daily Eagle, February 19, 1924: A3. The archives of The Tech, MIT’s student newspaper, are online, and the author of this biography searched the archives for the period between 1919 and 1921 for any reference to Happenny, Happenney, or Hapenny. He found none.

12 Story by Ford Sawyer included in Happenny’s clip file at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. (See endnote 4.) It’s unclear from the clip file whether Sawyer wrote his short story for a specific news outlet. Sawyer contributed regularly to the Boston Globe, but a search in March 2023 found no sign that his profile of Happenny ran there.

13 The term “big man on campus” is used here in its metaphorical sense, as a description of an accomplished young person with a high profile and wide-ranging interests. Happenny was not outstandingly large in the physical sense: At the time of his big-league career he measured 5’11” and 165 pounds.

14 One news story from the Daily Illini campus newspaper identified him as a member of the Class of 1925, but in several others, he is Class of ‘24. In any event, he left school to join the White Sox prior to graduation. The University of Illinois’ Sports Information Department confirmed via email in April 2023 that Happenny never completed his degree there.

15 All honors are as listed in articles from the Daily Illini, the campus newspaper of the University of Illinois. In order: “O.A. Kuhle ‘22 Made Head of Local Newman Club,” November 8, 1921: 2; “Sigma Tau Pledges Thirteen Engineers,” March 23, 1923: 1; “Fraternities Make Pledge List Reports,” September 27, 1921: 1; “Skull and Crescent to Meet on Tuesday,” September 30, 1922: 6; “Sachem’s Feather on 23 Sophomores,” May 24, 1923: 1; and “Men’s Honor Commission” (photos and caption), January 21, 1923: 1.

16 2022 University of Illinois football record book: 194. Accessed online March 24, 2023.

17 2022 University of Illinois football record book: 131. Accessed online March 24, 2023.

18 “Blocked Punt, Letting Hawks Have Safety, Is Enough to Trim Illini,” Decatur (Illinois) Herald, October 22, 1922: 4; “Illinois Boasts New Sensation in Cliff Happeny, sic Shortstop,” Davenport (Iowa) Democrat and Leader, April 13, 1923: 27. Several game preview stories from the fall of 1922 raised the question of whether Happenny would be able to play that week, but none specified his injury. One example: “Football,” Mattoon Daily Journal-Gazette, November 24, 1922: 5.

19 “Blocked Punt, Letting Hawks Have Safety, Is Enough to Trim Illini;” “Zuppke Primes Backfield for Purple Battle,” Alton (Illinois) Evening Telegraph, November 1, 1922: 6.

20 “How Coach Zuppke Turned Back Richards on Saturday,” La Crosse (Wisconsin) Tribune, November 12, 1922: 17.

21 “Fast Illini Halfback,” Mattoon Daily Journal-Gazette, November 22, 1922: 5.

22 “Twenty-Two Freshmen Win Baseball Numerals,” Daily Illini, May 28, 1922: 3. The university’s baseball record book makes clear that Happenny won only one varsity letter, in 1923.

23 “Heady Collects Additional $200 in Day’s Course,” Decatur Herald, January 22, 1923: 5. It’s also possible that the White Sox scouted Happenny over the summers, instead of (or in addition to) during his time at the University of Illinois.

24 “Heady Collects Additional $200 in Day’s Course.”

25 Still another University of Illinois product, an outfielder from the Class of 1918, played 12 games with the 1919 New York Yankees before suffering a hip injury and deciding that his future lay in the nascent world of pro football. George Halas became a Pro Football Hall of Famer as coach and owner of the Chicago Bears.

26 University of Illinois 2019 baseball record book: 108. Accessed March 24, 2023.

27 “Lundgren Shifts Illini Ball Team,” Bloomington (Illinois) Daily Pantagraph, April 14, 1923: 10.

28 “Cliff Happenny Looms as Great Infield Luminary,” Moline (Illinois) Daily Dispatch, April 16, 1923: 17.

29 “Dons White Hose,” Daily Illini, June 22, 1923: 3.

30 “Happenny Told ‘Em He’d Play Second and That’s Exactly What He Did,” Indianapolis (Indiana) Times, August 6, 1923: 7. This article has Happenny beginning his studies at Boston’s Northeastern University before transferring to the Lowell Institute School. The name “Cornet All-Stars” refers to George Cornet, a Lynn businessman who supported local sports. “George A. Cornet,” Boston Globe, October 14, 1949: 38.

31 Joe Godfrey Jr., “Comiskey Turns to College Men to Fill Up Ranks of White Hose,” Daily Illini, July 21, 1923: 3; “From the Press Box,” Meriden (Connecticut) Morning Journal, January 1, 1924: 4.

32 Gehrig attended Columbia University; Lyons went to Baylor University.

33 The Daily Illini reported the ejection two days later in “Ump Chases Happenny for Peppery Comment from White Sox Bench,” June 28, 1923: 3. A news item published in various U.S. newspapers in August also reported that umpire George Moriarty had ejected Happenny just a few days after Happenny joined the team. However, Retrosheet had no record of the ejection as of April 2023, and the next day’s game stories in the Chicago Tribune and Detroit Free Press did not mention it.

34 “Stewart Farmed to Ft. Smith Nine,” Daily Illini, June 29, 1923: 3. “Sox Win Battle of Battle Creek, 3 to 1,” Chicago Tribune, June 28, 1923: 14. Game information also taken from a list of in-season exhibition games from 1921 to 2012, compiled by SABR member Walter LeConte and other contributors, posted to Retrosheet and accessed April 6, 2023.

35 Collins, like Lou Gehrig, had played at Columbia University.

36 Irving Vaughan, “Sox Drop Final of Winning Road Trip to Browns, 4-3,” Chicago Tribune, July 6, 1923: 14.

37 Irving Vaughan, “Sox in First Division by Win Over Browns,” Chicago Tribune, July 4, 1923: 16.

38 Happenny was to have received a “day” in his honor at Fenway Park on September 17, but the plan was canceled after a pass-the-hat fundraising effort yielded only $25. “Revere,” Boston Globe, September 11, 1923: 9; “Sportsman,” “Live Tips and Topics,” Boston Globe, September 18, 1923: 19.

39 Irving Vaughan, “Illini Rookie Leads Hose to 8 to 4 Victory,” Chicago Tribune, July 20, 1923: 16. (The headline is incorrect; the score was 8 to 3.) This story credits Collins’ absence to a twisted back, and it’s possible that the veteran sustained more than one nagging injury during this time.

40 “He’s All Their Reserves,” The Sporting News, August 23, 1923: 1.

41 Paul Castner, who was on the mound for Chicago at the time, recounted the story in an untitled column by Joe Soucheray in the Minneapolis Tribune, October 9, 1977: 1C. A contemporary game story that confirms Castner’s memory is “Yankees Give Second Trouncing to Chicago White Sox, 16 to 5,” Binghamton (New York) Press, August 21, 1923: 8. Retrosheet’s box score for the game also confirms that Dugan scored on Ruth’s sacrifice fly to second base in the sixth inning.

42 An August 15 game story refers to Happenny as “another invalid,” but doesn’t specify the nature or extent of his injury. Irving Vaughan, “Crippled Sox Return Home; 2 Games Today,” Chicago Tribune, August 15, 1923: 14.

43 At least one news story indicates that Gleason had other young players to shuffle into his lineup in September: Frank Schreiber, “Sox to Use Rookies on Next Road Trip,” Chicago Tribune, September 6, 1923: 17. In any event, Gleason didn’t return to manage the White Sox in 1924; he resigned in October. Irving Vaughan, “Sad Parting as Old Roman Tells the Kid Good-by,” Chicago Tribune, October 18, 1923: 25.

44 Frank Schreiber, “Johnny Evers Starts South with Sox Today,” Chicago Tribune, February 29, 1924: 19.

45 Happenny, who never played in the minor leagues, finished his one-season career with a .221/.256/.279 slash line in 86 at-bats across 32 games. He hit five doubles, no triples, and no home runs, and collected 10 RBIs. Baseball-Reference assigns him a negative 0.4 Wins Above Replacement rating.

46 “Cliff Happenny to Play Second for the Squares,” Chicago Tribune, March 30, 1924: 2:3. Other former and future major leaguers played with and against Happenny in his semi-pro years, including Charlie Pechous and Herb Kelly in Illinois and Frank Grube, Carl Husta, Hob Hiller, and Harry “Socks” Seibold in Pennsylvania. “Squares and Niesens in Exhibition Today,” Chicago Tribune, April 13, 1924: 2:2; “Bi-State Player List is Announced,” Allentown (Pennsylvania) Morning Call, May 14, 1925: 21.

47 Vickie McCash, “John Happenny, Played Pro Baseball,” Fort Lauderdale (Florida) South Florida Sun-Sentinel, January 1, 1989: 6B.

48 “Lookin’ ‘Em Over,” Shamokin (Pennsylvania) News-Dispatch, August 24, 1926: 2. Happenny was working and playing semi-pro ball in Pennsylvania at the time.

49 “News of Chicago Society,” Chicago Tribune, August 2, 1925: 8:3; “Deaths,” Miami Herald, September 16, 1981: 6BR.

50 Their son, John Clifford Happenny Jr., was born in 1926 and died in 1928, according to a listing on, accessed April 7, 2023. Their daughters were Susanne (1930-1986), Jeanne (1931-1988), and Phyllis (1934-1983). “Campion,” Chicago Tribune, July 12, 1986: 1:6; “Jeanne Quinn,” Anne Arundel County (Maryland) Sun, May 25, 1988: 3; listing for Phyllis Happenny Driscoll, accessed April 7, 2023, and additional and U.S. Census research.

51 Kenan Heise, “Ex-Athlete, Executive Happenny,” Chicago Tribune, January 5, 1989: 2:13; “J.C. Happenny, Vice President of CIPS to Retire,” Effingham (Illinois) Daily News, May 26, 1966: 10.

52 Heise, “Ex-Athlete, Executive Happenny;” “Annual Meeting of C.I.P.S. Co. Held,” Mattoon Daily Journal-Gazette, April 1, 1937: 1. As of 2023, the former CIPS operations are now part of Ameren Illinois, a division of St. Louis-based utility holding company Ameren Corp.

53 “Middle West Faces Revamping,” Chicago Tribune, March 5, 1940: 25.

54 “Happenny Is New O.P.W. President; McClure to Kansas Power Co.,” Sand Springs (Oklahoma) Daily Leader, July 20, 1939: 1; “New President for O.P. and W.,” Tulsa (Oklahoma) Daily World, July 20, 1939: 2. According to these stories, Happenny got to know the Tulsa area while working in Dallas in his first utility jobs. He also got to know his predecessor as Oklahoma Power and Water president, R.W. McClure, who apparently put in a good word for him.

55 “Inter-Faith Organization Announces Cochairmen,” Tulsa Daily World, July 13, 1941: 8; “Business Leaders Want Community Center for Youth of Sand Springs,” Sand Springs Leader, February 6, 1941: 1; “Happenny Heads Sand Springs C.C.,” Tulsa Daily World, January 30, 1942: 15.

56 Brief, unheadlined item in the Sand Springs Leader, November 13, 1941: 6.

57 “Happenny Named to Head County Control Center,” Tulsa Daily World, June 14, 1942: 1.

58 “Happenny Heads Utility Group,” Sand Springs Leader, December 10, 1942: 1.

59 “Happenny Heads Sand Springs C.C.” By coincidence, future major-league infielder Jerry Adair was a boy growing up in Sand Springs during the years Happenny worked there, but there’s no record of their crossing paths.

60 “J.C. Happenny, Vice President of CIPS to Retire,” Effingham (Illinois) Daily News.

61 “CIPS Re-Elects Mattoon Man,” Decatur Herald, April 24, 1964: 9.

62 Jimmie B. Finkelstein, “Public Relations at Central Illinois Public Service Inc.: A Case Study,” master’s thesis in journalism, University of Wisconsin, 1970: 81.

63 “Power Engineers Attend Great Lakes Power Club Conference Here,” Mattoon Daily Journal-Gazette and Commercial-Star, October 15, 1960: 3; “Officers Meet,” Alton Daily Telegraph, October 4, 1958: 14.

64 The bill in question, S. 2663 (“A Bill to Establish an Effective Program to Alleviate Conditions of Excessive Unemployment in Certain Economically Depressed Areas”), was discussed at a series of hearings between February and April, 1956. Happenny spoke at a hearing on February 27. A summary of the hearings spans 1,170 pages; Happenny’s testimony starts on page 712.

65 “Five Executives Named to National Commitee,” American Gas Association Monthly, October 1958: 45.

66 “J.C. Happenny, Vice President of CIPS to Retire,” Effingham (Illinois) Daily News. McCash, “John Happenny, Played Pro Baseball,” includes an incorrect date for Happenny’s retirement but mentions his membership in a country club. Old-timers’ game: “30 Oldtimers Accept Invitations,” Fort Lauderdale (Florida) News, February 4, 1976: 5D.

67 McCash, “John Happenny, Played Pro Baseball.”

68 McCash, “John Happenny, Played Pro Baseball;” Heise, “Ex-Athlete, Executive Happenny.”

69 Heise, “Ex-Athlete, Executive Happenny.”

Full Name

John Clifford Happenny


May 18, 1901 at Waltham, MA (USA)


December 29, 1988 at Coral Springs, FL (USA)

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