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Ex-Mich. State Halfback Pingel Dies

August 15, 1999

GROSSE POINTE WOODS, Mich. (AP) _ John S. Pingel, an All-America halfback at Michigan State in 1938 and member of the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame, has died. He was 82.

Pingel, who went on to a career in advertising and served as chief executive of the Ross Roy advertising agency, died Saturday in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., family friend Bill Elston said. He said Pingel had heart trouble for several years.

Pingel lived in Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., and Juno Beach, Fla.

Pingel, a member of the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame, was a two-way player for Michigan State, but was best known as a halfback. He led the Spartans to their first bowl game, a 6-0 loss to Auburn in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 1, 1938.

The Spartans went 6-3 in his senior season. He rushed for 556 yards and five touchdowns on 110 carries and completed 54 of 101 passes for 571 yards and seven touchdowns.

He played in every game during his three-year varsity career. In 1938 he set an NCAA record with 99 punts while holding down the No. 2 spot nationally in average. His 42.7 yard punting average in 1937 is still 12th best in school history.

He was a first-round draft pick of the Detroit Lions in 1939 and was with the team one season before World War II. He served in the Army, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He entered the advertising business after the war, becoming president of Ross Roy in 1962 and chief executive and vice chairman in 1980. He retired in 1982.

President Gerald Ford, who played football at rival Michigan, appointed Pingel to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness.

Pingel is survived by his wife of 59 years, Isabel, his son Roy, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

A private funeral is planned.