The Obit For Ethel Stratton

Ethel Stratton dead at 90

Published: August 22, 2006 01:51 am

Herald-Banner Staff

Ethel Ester Stratton, who helped her late husband Monty Stratton with his courageous comeback in baseball from a hunting accident in 1938, died at the age of 90 on Monday in Arlington.

Monty Stratton was the winningest right-handed pitcher in the Major Leagues when the hunting accident ended his career with the Chicago White Sox. Stratton was hunting rabbits on his mother’s farm just outside Greenville when his holstered revolver accidentally discharged, creasing his right thigh with a bullet. The bullet severed an artery and caused Dallas doctors to amputate Stratton’s right leg.

With Ethel’s help, Stratton made a successful minor league comeback in 1946, winning 18 games and losing only seven while pitching with a wooden leg for Sherman in the East Texas League.

His comeback earned Stratton “The Most Courageous Athlete Award” in 1946 and prompted the making the MGM film “The Stratton Story,” starring June Allyson as Ethel and Jimmy Stewart as Monty. The film won the Photoplay Gold Medal for the best picture of 1949 and the Box Office Award.

Mrs. Stratton said she always got a “funny feeling” all over when she watched the film again on television.

“It makes me feel how fortunate I was to have been around Monty,” she said for a 1996 story in the Herald-Banner.

The Strattons, who lived for many years on a 93-acre farm in the Ardis Heights community, were members of Wesley Methodist Church and were also active in the Greenville community. Monty Stratton helped start the Greenville Little League baseball program and was recognized for his efforts by the naming of Monty Stratton Field near Greenville High School.

Ethel Stratton worked at Tannenbaums dress shop in downtown Greenville and volunteered much of her time as a “pink lady” for Presbyterian Hospital in Greenville.

“I think any volunteer work is rewarding, especially when you’re not expecting anything in return,” she said in 1996.

Monty Stratton died at the age of 70 on Sept. 28, 1982.

Mrs. Stratton, who was born on Jan. 6, 1916, died at the home of her granddaughter Denise Davis, who’d cared for Mrs. Stratton during her lengthy illness.

Graveside services at Memoryland are set for 10 a.m. Wednesday. Visitation is from 6 to 8 p.m. today at Lynch Funeral Home.