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Athletic doctor left lasting influence on city schools

Mary Phillips Published: March 11, 2013

When Dr. H.H. (Harry Howard) Cloudman arrived in Oklahoma City in 1908, he was already a celebrated athlete and medical doctor. And his work in physical education still affects our state today.

Late last year, Cloudman was posthumously inducted into the Bowdoin College Athletic Hall of Honor in Brunswick, Maine.

He represented the class of 1901 and was recognized as an international track star.

In 1939, he was named one of the Maine college’s “greatest athletes of all time.”

The Bowdoin College Athletic Department Web page states: “In the Maine State Meet in 1899 he set a new record of 9.8 seconds in the 100-yard dash, tying the world record. The time was since matched by Howard Mostrum ’27 and Gordon Milliken ’53, but it has never been bettered. It is the longest-standing athletic record at Bowdoin, and it will not be surpassed, since track and field events transitioned to the metric system in the 1970s.”

In 1909, Cloudman was hired by the Oklahoma City Schools as physical director.

His obituary published in The Oklahoman on Dec. 6, 1950, gave the attributes of the man:

“Known by many generations of city school children, Dr. Cloudman inaugurated physical education in city schools and was the first school doctor.

“He was an athlete, a soldier and a pioneer in the field of preventive medicine here.”

“He was elected physical director of schools and high school coach here. He was the first secretary of the Oklahoma State Highschool Athletic Association (now called the Oklahoma Secondary School Athletic Association or OSSAA) and first city Boy Scout commissioner.”

“In 1911, he began physical examinations in all schools. He arranged clinics for children who could not afford medical care and he set up a system of consultation with parents.”

“The physician was with the 45th division for 18½ years, and was a lieutenant colonel when he left the division in 1941 after a year’s active service as a sanitary engineer. This was one of three military leaves he took from the school during his period of service.”

He retired in 1946 after 36 years of service to the Oklahoma City Schools.

Cloudman and his wife returned to Maine where he died in 1950.

So if “dressing out” for gym was not your favorite activity in school, you now know who to thank.



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