Subscribe to Spirit Magazine

Dr. E. King Gill ’24 is a household name to most Aggies, but few know about his life after he was called to be the 12th Man in 1922. Recently, Doug Vorpahl ’80 donated several documents and photos to Cushing Memorial Library and Archives that give Aggies a glimpse into the legend’s later years and tell a story of two best friends who became family. 

The love for A&M is not born outside. It is born within its walls. You must live it and have it touch your heart. Devotion to one’s country should be the same. That is and was the true A&M tradition.
— Dr. E. King Gill, Class of 1924

Doug’s father, Lucky Vorpahl, entered Gill’s life in 1941 while Gill was serving as a surgeon at Majors Army Airfield in Greenville, Texas. Though Lucky had no medical training, Gill made it a point to keep him in his medical detachment, even promoting him so the Army wouldn’t transfer him to another base. The reason? He wanted Lucky, an excellent athlete in his own right, to play on his intersquad sports teams, especially basketball. 

After Gill retired from the Army, the two remained close even as Lucky started a family and Gill focused on his medical practice in Corpus Christi, specializing in eye, ear, nose and throat care. Gill served as pseudo-grandfather for the six Vorpahl children, Doug included, though he never had kids himself. 

Gill was always humble despite his campus fame, never demanding recognition but still enjoying the tradition his actions created. “He just thought it was something any Aggie would have done,” Doug said. 

(Top Left): Lucky and Norma Vorpahl; Myrtle and King Gill, circa 1970. (Top Right): King Gill with the Vorpahls - Lucky, Norma, Shannon, King, Peggy, Geri, Doug and Donnie, 1962.(Bottom Left): King Vorpahl, King Gill, Lucky Vorpahl and Doug Vorpahl, 1960. Copyright @2021 Douglas G. Vorpahl.

Do you have a Good Bull story to share? Send your submission to our editor, Dunae Reader ’15, at the bottom of this page. 

  • Dunae Reader '15

  • Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications/Spirit Editor/Maroon Co-Editor
  • Call: 979.321.6343

Make Your Impact

Give Now