Cliff Stump, WWII veteran and fourth cousin of Iowa football star Nile Kinnick, gets key to hometown Adel

Allison Ullmann
Dallas County News

More than 40 years have passed since Cliff Stump was in his hometown of Adel. 

“Oh, it’s a thrill,” he said with a laugh Friday upon his return. “It’s changed so much.”

Stump, a World War II veteran and 1943 Adel High School graduate, was last in town for a class reunion during the annual Sweet Corn Festival.

This time, he was presented with a key to the city by Adel Mayor Jim Peters.

“Cliff Stump, Adel High graduate of 1943, you grew up in Adel,” Peters said while reading off the plaque. “And you joined the Army right out of high school."

Stump was quick to point out he was drafted into the Army one month after graduating.

Cliff Stump, World War II veteran and Adel High School graduate, chats with Adel Mayor Jim Peters during a visit on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021.

“Then one year later you were with the 82nd Airborne Glider Troops and landed deep into Normandy,” Peters said, of the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, or D-Day.

“Behind the lines,” Stump added.

Six months later, Stump ended up in the Battle of the Bulge and later occupied Berlin.

Peters then presented Stump with a plaque and key to the city.

“As mayor of Adel, and a fellow veteran and fellow Adel alum, I would like to welcome you to Adel. I welcome you back home,” Peters said.

“It’s really a pleasure,” Stump added.

Peters escorted Stump through a number of stops Friday, including the Adel Historical Museum, where they saw a number of Nile Kinnick displays. Kinnick, born in Adel, was a University of Iowa football star. He won a Heisman Trophy in 1939 and was killed during World War II.

Stump is fourth cousins with Kinnick and remembers shagging footballs when he came home to visit Adel.

“I think his grandmother had this big house in the west part of town. He would come back to her place every summer and a friend of mine, we would recover all of his balls. He would go out in that big yard and kick it back and forth and we would retrieve it for him and get it back to him all summer long,” Stump said.

Stump, an Iowa Hawkeye fan, will get to see the football team play in person during Saturday’s home game against Purdue. 

He was a little nervous while watching the Hawkeyes take on Penn State on Oct. 9.

“Boy, I was sweating it out. But then the latter part of the third and fourth quarter it just seemed like they came to a new life. And I was glad of that,” Stump said of Iowa’s 23-20 win.

He was looking forward to having the chance to watch the Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium.

More:Area residents gather for Dallas County Freedom Rock dedication ceremony

Before then, Stump visited the Dallas County Freedom Rock in Minburn. The rock features veterans Kinnick and Van Meter’s Bob Feller along with the five Wilson brothers from Dexter.

When asked what Stump thought about the freedom rock, he joked: “They don’t have me on there, though.

“They were saving money, weren’t they?” Stump said with a laugh.

While he isn’t featured on the freedom rock, he now has a key to the city of Adel.

“It’s really nice. Nicest gift I’ve gotten so far,” Stump said.