Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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Obituary - Charles M. "Slip" Hayden

The Globe Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
Monday, April 10, 1939, p. 1 col. 8, p. 2, cols. 1-3

Mason Cityan, Operator of Walkathons, Slain
Local Man Voiced Premonition of His Fate to Friends

A premonition he had often expressed to friends here came true for Charles M. "Slip" Hayden, Mason City walkathon operator, when he was slain in Chicago at about 6 o'clock Sunday morning as he walked from his business establishment at the Park Casino ballroom to the Midwest Athletic club where he made his home.

Hayden, who had sent his 8 year old daughter, Ann, to relatives in San Diego, Cal., for fear she might be kidnaped [sic} by racketeers openly envious of his successful business enterprise, was felled by three shots from machine guns fired in his back by tow gunmen who had apparently been waiting for the local man.

Lives for 30 Minutes

Among the first to reach the dying man were a Chicago newspaper man and Charles Caponi, associated with Hayden. Caponi, who had been in the athletic club at the time of the shooting, thought it was a backfire of a car, he told friends here by telephone Sunday. He looked outside, saw Hayden lying on the street, and thought the walkathon operator had been slugged. As he ran to him, however, he saw the bullet holes and blood gushing from them. Hayden gasped, "Take me to a doctor." The gangster victim died in a hospital.

Victim Carried Gun

Hayden recently began carrying a gun, but was unarmed when slain. He emerged from the casino at 5:45 a.m. with Ralph Olson, 2637 North Narragansett avenue, and Miss Christine Jumes, 23, of 4713 North Keating avenue, cashier at the casino.

As Hayden crossed the street to the Midwest Athletic club, where he lived with his wife, Olga, two men stepped from the shadows and fired three bullets, all of which struck Hayden, one passing through his abdomen. The men fled in a dark sedan. Olson and Miss Jumes drove Hayden to Garfield Park hospital.

Police said Hayden supplied details a few minutes before he succumbed to the bullet wounds.

"I had left the ballroom after saying goodnight to the doorman," Hayden told them, "and was walking away when a green sedan pulled up at the curb. It contained two or three men. One of them got out of the car and started walking toward me, and then started shooting. I don’t know what it was – an attempted stickup or what."

In his pockets was $14.31. A valuable ring was on one finger.

A son, Charles, 28 is acting as a floor judge at the walkathon.

After the fusillade, the hoodlums escaped in a black sedan and have not been seen since, according to the chief of detectives in Chicago, who informed Deputy Sheriff Cal Dwan of the shooting Sunday.

The inquest was continued to April 25 after Hayden's son Charles, 31, and brother, Earl, who came from San Diego by airplane said they could give no reason for the killing.

Had Been Threatened

Hayden's partner, Verne Kirk, was held up and robbed of $2,800 when they operated a walkathon in St. Louis, Mo. A few years ago, and according to friends here, Hayden had told that they racketeers there had insisted on a slice of the profits, "or else." He was threatened repeatedly in Chicago, by the same element.

When Hayden was in Mason City recently, he told friends that Al Capone, Chicago's vice czar now in a federal prison in California after serving time at Alcatraz for income tax evasion, is still the head man of the Windy City's underworld, operating through lieutenants. Hayden also is said to have told friends that he was "Paying off" to the racketeers. Hence it was believed locally that the actual slaying was probably done by a gang of hijacking gangsters who wanted to "cut in" on the Capone mob's profits.

Hayden was promoting a walkathon in partnership with Leo Nemerovsky of Chicago. Nemerovski [sic] told police he knew no reason for the killing.

Chicago police believed that Hayden was a victim of assassins hired by someone who was attempting to "muscle in" on the walkathon promotion.

Had Met Opposition

Authorities recalled that a walkathon promoted by Hayden in Chicago four years ago had been subjected to vandalism and that only recently Hayden had made an unsuccessful attempt to start a walkathon in another part of Chicago.

Police Capt. Louis Klatzco said he had opposed their operating in his district, and had warned them of arrest if they lacked the proper licenses. Klatzco said the men then obtained a temporary injunction, which soon was dissolved, from Judge Cornelius J. Harrington in circuit court restraining police from interfering.

Capt. Klatzco explained that he objected to the walkathon because he considered it injurious to the contestants’ health.

About 18 couples, most of whom make their living at walkathons and follow the promoters around the country, were on the floor when news of Hayden's death was given them. Some of the girls wept, but they continued to walk.

Police recalled that Ray Dunlap, Hayden's close friend, was kidnaped [sic] and slugged while operating a walkathon at the Rainbow Gardens, Clark street and Lawrence avenue, last fall.

Hayden, together with Kirk, had operated his walkathon at the Park Casino for about three months. Prior to that they had operated in Mason City, Los Angeles and San Francisco, Cal., Vancouver, B. C., St. Joseph and St. Louis, Mo., La Crosse, Wis., Sioux City and Peoria, Ill.

Born Near Mason City

Mr. Hayden was married twice. His first wife was Mae Lyons of Mason City. He is also survived by his second wife, a son, Charles, Jr., who was associated with him in the walkathon, and his daughter, Ann, who is now in San Diego, Cal, where he had a home; also a brother, Earl, of San Diego, and a sister, also of San Diego. A brother, formerly an attorney here, died at Bisbee, Ariz., years ago. His parents also preceded him in death.

The walkathon operator was born on a farm near Mason City 52 years ago, and attended country school, then the old Central school which was destroyed by fire 12 years ago. He was agent for the Adams Express company in 1907-08-09. In April of 1910 he was succeeded by Richard Hyde. For a time he sold flags in North Iowa, and in Milwaukee, Wis.

Served Overseas 8 Months

When the trouble with Mexico occurred in 1916, he joined the army and saw service on the Mexican border as a sergeant. Following the settlement of that dispute, he returned to Mason City. Shortly after, the United States entered the World war and Hayden again enlisted. He went in Camp Cody in Demning, N. Mex. Ironically he was a member of the machine gun batallion [sic], the 125th, of the 34th division. He was in Co. A.

The local man was sent to an officers' school in Texas, and there received the commission of second-lieutenant. He served overseas for eight months.

Upon his discharge from the army following the end of the World war, he was interested in several enterprises, including carnivals. For the past few years, however, he had interested himself exclusively in the operation of walkathons. When in Mason City he made his home at the Park Inn hotel. He was last here about one month ago, according to W. R. McBee, owner of the hotel. He had real estate near Mason City and Cedar Rapids.

He entered the race for sheriff in 1924, and was defeated by G. E. Cress, now of Colorado.

First information of his death was received here by R. C. Patrick, fourth district commander of the American Legion, who was notified by telephone by Mr. Capone [sic]. Mr. Patrick was once identified with Mr. Hayden in the operation of a walkathon at the Mason City armory, under the sponsorship of the "40 and 8."

He was a member of both the American Legion and 40 and 8.

Submission by Kay Ehlers, July 12, 2005



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