seal  Purdue News

January 14, 2004

Life of 'Voice of Purdue' John DeCamp to be celebrated this week

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University will celebrate the life of the late John R. DeCamp – known to Boilermaker fans as the "Voice of Purdue" – with a WBAA radio show on Friday (1/16) and a memorial service on Saturday (1/17).

John DeCamp

The radio show "Remembering John DeCamp," a one-hour program that first aired on Dec. 13, will start at 2 p.m. Friday on WBAA AM920. The show examines DeCamp's impact on people throughout Lafayette, West Lafayette and Purdue.

DeCamp, a Kendallville, Ind., native, was the voice of Purdue football and basketball for 43 years. In addition to Purdue head basketball coach Gene Keady, Boilermaker football great Leroy Keyes and DeCamp friend Jack Ehrsmen, the show also features some of DeCamp's memorable play-by-play moments from the WBAA archives.

The memorial service will start at 2 p.m. on Saturday in the Shively Center of the Ross-Ade Stadium Pavilion. Jim Vruggink, Purdue's director of special projects, will be master of ceremonies for the service, which is free and open to the public.

Elinor DeCamp said she wants the service to be a celebration of her late husband's life rather than a somber event.

"I want it to be an upbeat occasion for people to see the many parts of John's personality, the fact that he did the play-by-play, that he was a mentor at WBAA for people wanting to go into broadcasting, and that he did the same in the athletic department for students and young employees wanting to go into sports promotion," Elinor DeCamp says. "He wasn't an official mentor. He just wanted to see young people get ahead in their desired professions. He just tried to help them by lending his experience and knowledge. He also had friends from all walks of life, which I think is great."

Ten of DeCamp's close friends and former co-workers will speak about the contributions DeCamp made at Purdue.

DeCamp, who was 82 when he died Dec. 5, had been station manager of WBAA, which became the flagship station of the Purdue Sports Radio Network. He finished his career as director of public relations and promotions for intercollegiate athletics and retired in 1986.

DeCamp also was part of the Indianapolis 500 Radio Network team for 22 years. He was named Top Broadcaster of the Year in Indiana in 1971, was inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame in 1974 and was given the Sagamore of the Wabash award in 1986 by Gov. Robert Orr. Ten years later, DeCamp was inducted into the Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame.

"He meant so much to so many different people, and his intentions were always to help other people and to make them laugh," Vruggink says. "We want him to be remembered for all the good he has done for the Purdue community and for all the lives he has touched in a positive way."

The memorial service is open to the public. Shuttle transportation will be provided from the Ross-Ade parking lot to the pavilion.

Writer: Reni Winter, (765) 496-3133,

Source: James Vruggink, (765) 494-2086,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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