Several readers in Dayton, Ohio, said that they knew of the story from their local paper, the Dayton Journal-Herald
, which had mentioned specific names. I also got a letter from Woodfin ("Woody") Jones,
who was a witness to the incident and had been the source of the first printed version [published on 15 August
According to Woody Jones, he and two Beta Theta Pi fraternity brothers, Jim Stuckey and Ed Steiner, were involved in the event, which took place in Spring 1949.
According to Jones, Stuckey was the one who picked up the woman's shoe along with the grate; another student behind him stepped over the hole; and Ed Steiner, a baritone, fell into it.
I also checked with Woody's former college classmates. James A.
Stuckey backed his two fraternity brothers with this elegant testimonial he sent me: "I, James Albert Stuckey, was a member of the Hanover College Choir in the spring of 1949 who, during the recessional, spied the shoe caught in the grate of the hot air register in the center of the aisle. Being the kind of courteous, thoughtful freshman so highly prized in those days, I stopped to retrieve the shoe ...
and the grate ...
tucked both under my copy of the hymnal and continued down the aisle.'"
Edwin C. Steiner, Hanover class of 1950, also confirmed the story: "Yes, it was certainly I who fell into that hot air duct. I hit the hole cleanly; I didn't even scrape my toe on the edge. It was like stepping off a gigantic stair step, and I went into the hole all the way up to my thigh."