They are almost all gone now, those young men whose dreams were altered by the Great Depression, yet they held on to their future with a steel determination.
And last week, we lost another one.
Harrison Stafford, one of only 14 Longhorn players or coaches to be inducted into the National Football Foundation's College Hall of Fame, died early last week at the age of 92 in East Barnard.
Stafford had lived and ranched near Edna, Texas, for most of his life.
He was, by all accounts, one of the toughest football players in school history. Yet he was well-rounded enough to also serve as a member of the UT Student Assembly.
Stafford came to Texas unannounced in the fall of 1929, and volunteered for the freshman football team in his first year. Assistant coach Shorty Alderson spotted him and put him through a workout.
Then, he went to head coach Clyde Littlefield and reported, "Clyde, I found you the darndest football player you ever saw. He tore up a couple of dummies and hurt a couple of men. He says his name is Harrison Stafford."
With that, Stafford delivered his calling card.
In a practice against the varsity, the Longhorns' star running back, Dexter Shelley, ran an off-tackle sweep, made his cut and then started to break to the outside.
"Stafford hit him and just unglued him," said Alderson, as reported by historian Lou Maysel in his book "Here Come the Texas Longhorns." "I went over to Dek and he looked up at me dazed and said, 'who in the hell was that freshman? I've been playing football for nine years, and that's the hardest I've ever been hit in my life.'"
"He was such a man," says Bill Sansing, Texas' first Sports Information Director who saw Stafford play when he (Sansing) was a kid. "He was big, sweet and nice, but he was built like wound up steel wire."
Stafford never accumulated a bunch of statistics, but it was as a blocking back and a tackler that he would earn his fame.
"He was a ferocious blocker," said Sansing. "For years, they would tell the story of a TCU game where Johnny Vaught (who later would become famous as the head coach at Ole Miss) was trying to get in position to tackle Bohn Hilliard. Vaught was a two-time all-American. When Stafford hit him, he leveled him. After that play, whenever people talked about a block, that talked about 'the Vaught block.'"
With his teammate, Ernie Koy Sr., Stafford helped rebuild the tradition of Texas athletics. In an era which also included Charley Coates, Hilliard and Jack Gray, Littlefield's football team became the best of its time. With Koy and Stafford as sophomores, the team carved an 8-1-1 record and won the Southwest Conference in 1930, and finished 8-2 in 1932.
Stafford also participated on Littlefield's track team. His senior season, he was named the Most Valuable Player in the Southwest Conference by the Houston Post, and was picked on the Associated Press' All-American second team in a time when they only named 11 players to the first team. He also starred in the East-West Shrine game in San Francisco.
After his senior year, Stafford received an appointment to the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, but stayed for only a year before playing a year of professional football with the New York Giants in 1934. An knee injury ended his football career.
Stafford returned to Texas, where he ran a drug store and ranched near Edna, Texas.
He was one of the first dozen people inducted into the Longhorn Hall of Honor, earning enshrinement in 1959, and he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1973.
Stafford had been in ill health for some time, and was living with relatives in East Barnard at the time of his death. A memorial service was held Saturday.
At the stately dinner in New York next Tuesday, in the midst of a long program held in the Grand Ballroom of the historic Waldorf Astoria, the audience will pause for a moment of silence to remember those members who have died during the year.
Three balconies, all adorned in banners of all of the teams in the country, will fall quiet as the names are read.
At a table near the middle at the back of the room, the moment will be particularly poignant for members of The University of Texas party. Within the last two months, both Stafford and Hub Bechtol have joined the list of those to be mourned.
Their passing is a stark reminder that time, in fact, does wait for no man. It is also an opportunity to remember greatness of men who ably represented The University, both on and off the football field.
And in that space, age and frailty do not matter.
Only memories do.