“Gone”: Ira South, 1918

It’s true that there were no fatalities on the Rice campus from the 1918 influenza epidemic, but we did lose one exceptional person to the disease while he was away serving in the military. His name was Ira South and he was one of several South siblings who attended the Institute in its early years. Rice was a very small community at the time and the death of such a creative and promising young man made a deep impression on his fellow students. This appeared on the front page of the May 1, 1919 Thresher:

(I talked about Ira’s sister Ruby, who’s mentioned in the article, here. If you haven’t read it, go take a look. She’s truly worthy of admiration.)

This is the only image of Ira South I’ve ever come across:

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5 Responses to “Gone”: Ira South, 1918

  1. Interesting find. But I hope Rice was producing better poets than Mr. South, who seems to have been heavily influenced by Robert Service. Perhaps he would have grown out of it if he’d lived longer, poor devil.

  2. Melissa Kean says:

    Can’t disagree. He was all they had, though.

  3. Galloway Hudson '60 says:

    Very sad story about Ira South. I suggest everyone read about his sister Ruby, if you have not already done so, by clicking on the link Melissa provided above Ira’s photo.

  4. effegee says:

    This was a beautiful piece, Melissa. I enjoyed sharing it with his grand niece and am about to forward a link to his great grand nephew and great grand niece. All 3 are Rice grads.

    I found a photo on Ancestry.com of Ira, Dudley, Ruby (‘19) and Helen (‘21), taken when Helen was no more than 2. So it’s about 1901-2 when Ira was about 8-9. Siblings Ida (‘31) and Joe (no Rice connection) would have been more than 8 years in the future.

    Ruby would name her third son Ira South Lowry in 1930.

  5. Maria Lowry says:

    I’m one of Ruby South’s granddaughters. I would appreciate links to information about Dudley or Joe. Other trivia: Ira and Ruby’s father Horace South coached football at Texas A&M in 1896.

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