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Charley Boswell, who lost his sight during World War II but gained re

October 23, 1995

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) _ Charley Boswell, who lost his sight during World War II but gained renown as a blind golfer, died Sunday night. He was 78.

Boswell, whose health had been failing since suffering a blood clot on the brain during a fall in March, died at HealthSouth Medical Center.

Boswell was a star football and baseball player at Alabama. But life as an athlete appeared over when he was blinded by a German artillery shell that exploded after he pulled a crew member from a tank in 1944.

``I’ve often said that it took a lot of courage to go back into that tank and get that soldier,″ said Alston Callahan, development director at the Eye Foundation Hospital. ``But all of the things he did after losing his sight, they took real courage.″

Boswell, along with founding an insurance company, raising a family and serving as state revenue commissioner, learned to play golf despite the loss of his sight. He once shot an 81.

He became well known as host of the Charley Boswell Celebrity Golf Classic, with duffers such as Bob Hope participating.

``I think Charley’s favorite story was the time he told Hope that he would beat him at golf, he’d even spot him a few strokes,″ said Bill Lumpkin, retired executive sports editor of the Birmingham Post-Herald. ``Hope said, `OK, when? and Charley said, `Midnight.′ ″

Boswell’s tournaments raised $1.5 million for the Eye Foundation Hospital.

``One thing that stuck with me is that he told me blindness was not a handicap, just an inconvenience,″ said Gene Hallman, tournament director of Bruno’s Memorial Classic. ``That summarized how he viewed life. He didn’t let his handicap stop him from being a successful person in all regards.″

Bowell is survived by his wife, Kitty, sons Steve and Charles Boswell Jr., and daughter Kay McCarty.

Funeral arrangements were pending.