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As reported by Bob
Wood on April 18, 2011
With the loss of Stu McCorkindale
this week, and with a prompting from Marty Fiehl, I
decided to make an effort to "find" Dick Gorney.
him up on Facebook" was the Commissioner's suggestion.
Thanks to the Internet, I first found an article (see link below) in
the Huron County View where the local Rotary club had honored Dick, a retired
rural mail carrier, with their annual "Paul Harris Fellow
Recognition" award in November of 2010 for his work coaching softball,
basketball and baseball for 53 years in the local community.
one sense it is true that Dick doesn't spend long in one spot, he is still in
Harbor Beach, Michigan (without a computer - well, his wife Barb has one)
with the same address and phone number (but a new area code).
a couple of phone messages, I was delighted to receive a return phone call on
Sunday evening from the namesake of the TCBA Retro League's Gorney Division.
just returned from a trip to South Bend, Indiana and Notre Dame University,
where he had taken a half dozen of his current softballers
for the afternoon to see the Women's team (31-7) compete, and give his young
charges a tour of the campus.
since 1995, Dick is now 72 years young. He is a great-grandfather and
is expecting another great-grandson this August. He and his wife, Barb,
are preparing to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this June 10th and
are proud of their two sons, Gary and Mike, who both live in Illinois, northwest
of Chicago, and their two daughters who live in Toledo and in Boise.
slim and trim, Dick is bothered by occasional dizzy spells, brought on by
sudden movements, but has pills to take for that. Often misdiagnosed as
a heart attack (he used to carry nitro-glycerin pills), he's learned to
recognize the symptoms earlier. He also had cataracts removed this last
year and was back on the road within two hours of the surgery. The
worst of his physical tribulations was a kidney stone, just 1 mm in diameter, that bothered him this past December. He
said he would rather have given birth to a child than to have had the stone.
He is still coaching and still challenged to find enough children in the
rural area to field a team at times. This year’s softball team has only
eleven young ladies - and four of those are entirely new to the game.
He was delighted to find one family that has TEN children that are interested
in athletics - kind of the Huron County version of Major League Baseball's DiMaggio/Molina/Delahanty tribes.
Barb is still very involved with
photography and enjoys traveling. She's been to China to help a friend
with an adoption, and to Europe on multiple
occasions. Dick doesn't fly and always has a team to coach, but enjoys
the recaps and pictures that Barb brings home.
I asked him what he does in his spare
While he did sell his stamp business, after nearly 40 years of
collecting/selling/trading, he has taken new collecting interests.
The daughter in Toledo annually gives him a ticket to the Jamie Farr Sylvania
Women's Golf Classic for Father's Day. Dick spends a week at the
tournament, on the course 5-7 hours a day. He started by buying
tournament promotional golf balls and asking the lady golfers to sign.
He has now nearly filled six full cases (49 balls per case) with autographed
balls the size of hail stones, and just needs the "rookie" crop
each year to add to his collection.
Expanding the idea, Barb has pitched in to
help. She'll take a picture of Dick and the individual golfer, have it
developed into an 8x10 at Walgreen's, and Dick will ask the golfer to sign it
the next day (or the next season). That's been an exciting adventure
and made for another nice collection.
Dick also will visit Notre Dame about half a dozen
times a year for football or softball games. He's had the opportunity
to meet, and collect autographs from such celebrities as Ara
Parseghian, Lou Holtz, Digger Phelps and several
other Irish heroes.
He and Barb drove out to visit their daughter in Boise last year, traveling
7000 miles in a five week trip and visiting 19 states.
Dick asked about APBA. I told him that there
had not really been a game upgrade since he retired from the postal service
in 1995. Dick has enjoyed using the Negro League cards from the Game
Company --- still with the dice.
We shared updates on old TCBA names of the past, and Dick was delighted to
hear that so many of the charter (and nearly charter) members of our group
are still involved in the TCBA.
We commiserated over the evils of cancer and
Alzheimer's Disease. Dick's younger sister fell
victim to the latter recently. Thankful for his health and family, Dick
promised to consider any invitations to summer baseball get-togethers, and,
if he ever retires from coaching, a trip to Lancaster (Grantville) for a TCBA
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