I’ve got around 125 contacts in my cellphone. Alphabetically, the man at the very top is Dale Albright. Today is a sad day though, because a few hours ago Dale passed on from this life to the next to be with his Creator.
Dale was a manager in the softball league I have been President of for the last 3 years. In fact, his team’s first season with our league coincided with my first term as President. I liked Dale from the beginning. He was always out at the fields, always great to talk to, and always smiling. Managers like him made my job as President a lot easier.
A few months ago, Dale let me know that he would be stepping down as manager this year because he had been diagnosed with throat cancer. Despite being sick, he still came to our pre-season meeting in February with his new interim manager. I had no idea, of course, that it would be the last time I would see him. (Even as i type this it makes me think of how I treat those around me…you never know if the interaction you just had with someone will be your last…so make them all count.)
Dale went in for surgery last week and it did not go well. His heart stopped working on the table, and for the past week he had been in the hospital in various states of serious to critical condition. Some days were more promising than others, but all along the family knew that at any moment things could turn for the worse. Dale’s softball team decided to play their first game on saturday despite heavy hearts, and the family forced Dale’s wife Dianne to come out to the field to get away from the hospital for a few hours. I was happy to see her there, and gave her a big hug. The team responded with similar sentiment, winning 15-2.
News came this morning that Dale had not had a good night and that things had turned for the worse. Through a website that a fellow church member had set up, it became clear that the family was preparing to say goodbye to him today. My heart sank when i received an update at 1:48pm
“Pray for Dianne and her family as Dale went home to be with the Lord a little after 1:00 p.m. today.”
At some point I’m going to take Dale’s contact information out of my cellphone, but not now. For the moment, his name couldn’t be in a better place. It’s right at the top, reminding me to pray for Dianne and the family, that God would give them peace through His word and through the comfort and love of each other. Seeing his name will also remind me how important it is to treat people well. Though I didn’t know Dale very well, that’s absolutely what I will remember about him.
If you don’t mind, would you say a prayer for Dianne and their family during this difficult time? Thanks…