A SOLIHULL man who became a noted athlete after his potential as a 15-year-old school leaver in 1936 was spotted by his first boss, has died aged 88.
Recruited to Solihull Motor Company, Bill Humphries went on to win many half mile and mile events for Sparkhill Harriers, of which the firm’s owner and pre-war Olympic team member Joe Kinchin was a key figure.
At age 18, Bill’s development with the Harriers was interrupted by World War II, during which he boxed successfully at lightweight for the Royal Artillery during seven years in uniform.
His track performances were even better on his “demob” and in 1948 he won the Everall Cup and became team captain and later president of the Harriers for some 20 years. He also boxed for the amateur club at Catherine de Barnes.
When sales and spares manager for Solihull Motor Company in the early 1960s, Mr Humphries left to start his own motor spares business specialising in brake and clutch components.
He built up the firm in Acocks Green until selling it on retirement 30 years later.
Mr Humphries was born, the oldest of five, to parents living in the old Drury Lane, Solihull and went first to St Alphege church school.
His secondary education was at what later became Sharmans Cross School.
He was president of Yardley and Sheldon Rotary Club in 1984, being involved in that year’s world convention of the organisation in Birmingham, and an associate member of Solihull Lions.
He and Irene, Solihull News receptionist for many years who survives her husband, married in 1951. They have a son Robert and lived successively in School Road, Broad Oaks Road and Ashleigh Road, Solihull. They were regular attenders of St Francis Church, Elmdon Heath where Mr Humphries became a churchwarden.
In 1992, the couple moved to Alcester, joining the congregation of St Nicholas parish church where the funeral will be conducted at 11.30 am on Wednesday 14 April by the rector, Canon David Capron.