Frank Neuhauser, a Washington area patent lawyer who made headlines more than 85 years ago when he won the first-ever national spelling bee, died March 11 at his home in Silver Spring. He was 97 and had myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood disease.
The son of a Kentucky stonemason, Mr. Neuhauser was 11 years old in 1925 when he spelled “gladiolus” correctly to win the nation’s first spelling championship. His prize was $500 in gold, a bicycle and a trip to the White House to meet President Calvin Coolidge.
When he returned home to Louisville, he was greeted with a ticker-tape parade and crowds bearing bouquets of his new favorite flower — the gladiolus, a member of the iris family.