Albert Preston "Bert" Baston was born
on December 3, 1894. He was a sports phenom as far back as
1911, when he signed up for football at age 14. At Park High
as a fullback and even coached the team before the days of
professional coaches. The team prevailed even though there
was only one football.
Bert was a two-time All-American
football player (left end) at the U of M (1915 and 1916). As a
receiver, he teamed with Pudge Wyman to give the Minnesota
Gophers their first passing combination. He was
captain of the team his senior year, all while studying law.
During World War I he served with the 17th Company of the
5th Regiment of Marines. He was a Captain and fought in
France. He suffered a critical leg injury
while serving in the Battle of Belleau Woods, with a hole in
his leg “big enough to stick a broom handle through,”
according to family lore. The official citation reads:
"The Navy Cross is presented to
Albert P. Baston, First Lieutenant, U.S. Marine
Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving with
the 5th Regiment (Marines), 2d Division, A.E.F. in
action near Chateau-Thierry, France. Although shot
in both legs while leading his platoon through the
woods at Hill 142, near Chateau-Thierry, France, on
June 6, 1918, Lieutenant Baston refused treatment
until he had personally assured himself that every
man in his platoon was under cover and in good
He spent almost a year in the hospital,
and when he got out he started a bakery in Detroit. He
returned to Minneapolis and started the Bert Baston
Chevrolet Co. at 3038 Hennepin Avenue (1933). His sales manager during the 1930s was George
Richard Baston, the only surviving son of John Judson
Baston. From 1932 into the 1940s he was the Gophers'
assistant end coach.
In WW II he served in North Africa as a colonel in the
Marines and commanded a battalion that repaired equipment
ranging from jeeps to rocket guns for armies in the European
and African Theaters.
The 1947 directory lists the Baston-Barington Chevrolet Co.
at 2612 Lyndale.
Bert was quite a local hero, as evidenced by his appointment
as General Chairman of the 1948 Aquatennial – that year he
lived at 2108 Kenwood Parkway, a house built in 1903 and
worth three quarters of a million dollars today.
He moved to St. Cloud later in life and opened a dealership
In 1954 he was inducted into the
College Football Hall of Fame.
Bert married Ruby Laird in 1920 and they had two children:
Fred, who also served in WW II, and Priscilla.
Bert died on November 15, 1979, and is
buried at Lakewood Cemetery.
This information comes from a variety of sources: newspapers, books, yearbooks, phone directories, interviews, etc. Given the varied sources, we cannot guarantee that all of this information is correct, and welcome any additions and corrections. Please contact us with your contributions and comments.