BEGumMr. B.E. Gum was the Superintendent at Salem Community High School from 1937 until his retirement in 1967. The gymnasium bearing his name is a reminder of the commitment he had toward sports and is the reason he is being inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame.

Mr. Gum began his career in Keyesport and then in Odin. When the two and three year high schools became obsolete, Mr. Gum was hired in Salem in District #111. Mr. Gum saw an opportunity to form a new Community High School district and was instrumental, along with board President John L. Kagy, in forming Salem Community High School District #600. This new school included several surrounding towns in the tax rich properties of the oil and gas that encompassed 1/3 of Marion County.

Salem Community High School was erected in 1949-50 and was known as a new modern school that people came from far distances to see. The crowning jewel of the building was the huge gymnasium. This new gym was like no other in its time and remains a favorite today in all of Southern Illinois. On May 23, 1967, the gym was dedicated as B.E. Gum Gymnasium. Mr. Gum, along with his wife Lena, sat in the west balcony row A seats 1 & 2 for several years.

Mr. Gum served SCHS for 30 years and was a whole-hearted supporter of Salem Wildcat athletics. He, along with his administration, started the Salem Invitational Tournament which recently completed its 66th year. He believed in hard work, discipline and loved to win, especially when competing against cross county rival Centralia High School. All coaches and athletes knew Mr. Gum was the leader of the school and sports programs. He was in every sports team picture in the yearbook and enjoyed attending all Salem Wildcat games.

Mr. B.E. Gum passed away in 1973 but his vision for SCHS and his legacy lives on every time there is a game in B. E. Gum Gymnasium.