AUSTRIAN NOBLEMAN LIVED IN OBSCURITY. ~ Hugo V. Watterich, Who Died on the Street Friday.

August 2, 1908

Hugo V. Watterich, Who Died on the
Street Friday.

There is a mystery in the life of Hugo V. Watterich 41 years old, who dropped dead at Twenty-sixth and Pennsylvania avenue Friday evening. About thirteen years ago Watterich came to Kansas City and became an artist, doing etching and pencil drawings. He was an Austrian of pleasant manners but of imperfect English, and he was very reticent about his past life. No one, except his wife, whom he married soon after coming to Kansas City, could extract from him any reference to his life before coming to this country.

And yet Watterich was a man of apparently excellent education. When the children in the neighborhood where he lived caught any strange insect or animal they would take it at once to the artist who immediately classified it. His manners, also, betokened that he had moved in society better than that in which he was thrown daily.

About four years ago he was employed by the management of Fairmount park to be swimming instructor there, a position for which his athletic prowess made him competent. He made a capable instructor and seemed to be on the road to prosperity when an accident happened which resulted in the sickness that brought on his death. A man was drowned at the bathing beach one night. As soon as Watterich heard of the accident he set about to find the body. He plunged into the water in his swimming suit and searched for the corpse. Time after time he dived, searching every part of the bottom of the lake where it was likely to be found, but without success. Cold and exhausted, he gave up search at 1 o'clock the next morning. Then he went home in a state of collapse.

From that day he never regained his health. Heart trouble, resulting from overstrain, set in, and he was soon compelled to give up his position at the park. He then became unable to work and his young wife began taking in dressmaking to support them and their small son. In periods, when he felt stronger, Watterich did a little drawing and lettering at his home, 3425 Garfield avenue. Friday night he was walking at Twenty-sixth street and Pennsylvania avenue, when he suffered a hemorrhage and dropped dead. Dr. E. A. Burkhardt was called, and sent the body home in an ambulance.

"Before he died my husband told me many things about his life," said Mrs. Watterich, "but he charged me to keep them a secret. All that I am permitted to tell is that he came of a noble family in Austria and was educated in one of the best universities in Europe. He left his fatherland while he was yet a young man for reasons which he charged me not to reveal. He then spent several years roving over every part of the world, but finally settled in this country. He never told anyone of his past life except me."

Besides the widow a 12-year-old son, Vincent, survives. Funeral services will be held at the residence Thursday morning at 9 o'clock. Burial will be in Union cemetery.