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Dr Benjamin Franklin “Frank” Roller

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Dr Benjamin Franklin “Frank” Roller

Birth
Newman, Douglas County, Illinois, USA
Death 19 Apr 1933 (aged 56)
Manhattan, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Newman, Douglas County, Illinois, USA
Memorial ID 181643103 View Source
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From farm boy to physician, university professor, and three-time American Heavyweight Champion wrestler, he was a scholar who earned his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania where he graduated with honors. At age 14 he passed an examination to become a school teacher in Illinois, but was not allowed to teach due to his young age. At about age 16 he attended De Pauw University where he earned his undergraduate degree with honors during which time he participated in athletics including football and track, and represented the Chicago Athletic Association in discus throwing and broke the world's record. While attending the University of Pennsylvania, to earn money for his education, he became a professional football player. After graduation and a short time after practicing medicine, he became a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle in 1905. During his tenure there he became a professional wrestler at age 30, with his first match in 1906. He defeated many of the known wrestlers of his time including Charlie "Kid" Cutler, Westergard, Ordemann, and Ed Lewis. Before the handicap match in 1906, Frank Gotch declared he would throw him two times in an hour and he did not. Gotch admitted that during the match he thought he was going to be thrown by him. They met three more times and Gotch defeated him each time. Gotch, considered by many to be the best wrestler of all time and also a three-time American Heavyweight Champion, did not hesitate to hail Dr. Roller as the second best wrestler in the United States. Dr. Roller's comments about Gotch included his belief that Gotch was a most wonderful athlete. In 1909 Gotch stated, "… is every bit as good as any foreigner I've met, if not a shade better." After his final retirement in 1918, he continued his medical career. New York City Municipal death records state that he was buried at Ferncliff Cemetery, in Hartsdale, New York, in 1933. However, his remains were removed from the Ferncliff Mausoleum and interred beside family members near the home of his birth.

"Another miscarriage of justice in the annals of professional wrestling history is the general
disregard for one of the most important wrestlers of the early 20th Century. To this day, perhaps wrestling has never seen someone more well rounded than Dr. B.F. Roller, combining a robust education and a natural aptitude in multiple sports". Source: Tim Thornbaker, legacyofwrestling.com


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