Flashback Friday: Political Icon, 16-Month Old's Trip to the Hospital 70 Years Ago

July 29, 2017 07:45 AM

For decades now, Charles Thour wondered if it was all just a tall tale.

A story his parents made up or at least embellished.


But the confirmation is right there - in a front-page story in the July 28, 1947, edition of the Minneapolis Morning Tribune.

RELATED: Minnesota's Humphrey Made Historic Speech 68 Years Ago at DNC in Philadelphia

Seventy years ago, the then-16-month old really did fall ill in Excelsior, and his parents really did rush him to Fairview Hospital in Minneapolis.

His father Charles A. Thour really did flag down an official-looking car en route, hoping for a speedy escort.

And the driver of that car was indeed the then-mayor of Minneapolis, who went on to become a U.S. Senator, Vice-President and the 1968 Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

Yes, Hubert H. Humphrey, perhaps the most iconic name in Minnesota political history, personally guided Thour to the hospital that Sunday afternoon.

"They mentioned it a lot over the years," Thour said of his parents. "But I thought they were just kidding me, so it turns out it actually happened? I really thought they were funning me all these years."

According to both the tale Thour has always been told, and the story in the Tribune, his parents crossed paths with Humphrey in St. Louis Park.

He was on his way back from the Raspberry Festival in Hopkins driving what was described as "an official looking car with red lights."

The Thours flagged the mayor down and asked him to escort them to the hospital. He took them as far as Franklin and Hennepin in Minneapolis where he used a police radio to summon a squad car to take them the rest of the way.

At the hospital, it was determined Charles had a temperature of 104 and a case of acute tonsillitis.

"I didn't get my tonsils out then," said Thour, 71, who now resides in Cedar, and worked for the University of Minnesota as a facilities manager before retiring 10 years ago.

"I remember when that happened. I was about four or five years old and they took me down to Rochester because my Dad believed in the Mayo Clinic. That was scary."

Of course, he didn't have a political legend escorting him that time.

"I know my folks were supporters and voted for him over the years," Thour said. "The closest I ever got to Hubert was when I was working construction out near his place (near Waverly), and we had to be careful we didn't disturb the secure phone cable that went over to his house."

Thour is grateful Humphrey took the time to lend a hand that day 70 years ago, though he suspects he might have had motives that went beyond being a Good Samaritan.

"He was a politician, and they're always on the lookout for votes," he said with a chuckle. "They didn't call him windy for nothing."


Frank Rajkowski

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