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Gilbert Lea
Born (1912-12-16)December 16, 1912
Died May 4, 2008(2008-05-04) (aged 95)
Vero Beach, Florida

Gilbert Lea (December 16, 1912 – May 4, 2008) was an American football player, advertising executive and publisher.


Lea was born in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania.[1] His father was Langdon "Biffy" Lea, one of the greatest football players in the history of Princeton University—a three time consensus All-American tackle who went on to be a head football coach at Princeton and the University of Michigan. A history of Princeton football notes that Gilbert Lea was a "tiger from birth," as his father raised him to play football "as he had ... all out."[2]

Lea attended St. Paul's School, a private preparatory school in Concord, New Hampshire. At St. Paul's Lea was captain of the football team and received the Gordon Medal as the school's best all-around athlete.[1] Lea next enrolled at Princeton University. Following in his father's footsteps, Lea became a star of the Princeton football teams from 1933 to 1935. He played at the end position for Princeton teams coached by College Football Hall of Famer Fritz Crisler. Crisler's teams, with Lea at end, were ranked No. 1 in the nation in both 1933 and 1935. In 1935, Lea was a consensus second-team All-American, including spots on the All-American teams selected by the Associated Press and the New York Sun.[3][4][5]

During World War II, Lea served in the U.S. Army as an artillery instructor at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and then with the 13th Armored Division. He was later sent to Europe as a battalion commander of an armored artillery unit attached to the Third Army commanded by General George Patton.[1] After World War II, Lea worked in the publishing and advertising business for most of his life, for Time magazine magazine (1936–1948), Business Week, McGraw-Hill, and McCall's magazine. From 1957 to 1967, Lea worked at Ogilvy & Mather as vice president in charge of new business.[1] In 1967, Lea purchased the Tower Publishing Company of Portland, Maine, which he operated until 1982. Lea moved to Vero Beach, Florida in 1982. He died in Vero Beach at age 95 in 2008.[1]

See also[]

  • 1935 College Football All-America Team


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Obituary: Gilbert Lea". Town Topics: Princeton's Weekly Newspaper. 2008-05-21. 
  2. William Wallace (2005). Yale's Ironmen, p. 58. iUniverse, Incorporated. ISBN 978-0-595-35925-7. 
  3. Alan Gould (1935-12-07). "Lutz, Grayson Only Coast Stars On A.P. All-American: FOUR SOUTHERN ACES GIVEN LAURELS". Oakland Tribune. 
  4. "Reynolds Gets All-Star Post". Oakland Tribune. 1935-12-08. 
  5. Jack Singer (1935-12-22). "Real All-American of 1935 Season Selected". Los Angeles Times. 

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