Opening Day

Among the many lessons that my dad taught me, one I will always value is the importance of integrity and good work ethic. Although Dad never held a very glamorous job by the world’s standards, he worked hard, paid attention to detail, and believed in producing high quality work. He was faithful. He never drew attention to himself. He did what was right, even when others around him did not. He was a man of his word, and was someone you could count on.

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For several years after his retirement from the CTA, Dad worked at White Sox park as an usher in the press box. Although Dad often minimized the importance of his position, I loved telling my friends that he worked for the White Sox. Dad’s main responsibilities were making sure the writers’ needs were met and making sure everyone entering the press box had the right credentials to be there. While others might have taken advantage of this position by neglecting responsibilities in order to sit back and watch the game, Dad took his duties very seriously. It was not long before people started recognizing him as the kind, hard working usher in the press box.

As a family, we were unaware of how well loved Dad was at the park until we started visiting him at games. Anyone who knew we belonged to Dad would tell us how much they loved him and valued working with him. I enjoyed knowing that Dad’s work ethic and character had not gone unnoticed.

When Dad had to step away from his work responsibilities after his cancer diagnosis, he received numerous cards, notes, and messages from other event staff, and also many of the writers as well. One of my fondest memories was when the park honored my family by giving us a box suite to watch a game in while Dad was in between treatments. The suite came stocked with food and drinks and I was blown away by how many people from the park came by to say hello and shake my Dad’s hand.

I also remember in the last few months of Dad’s battle, he received a giant card with notes from so many people from the park. The messages to Dad contained such beautiful remarks about his character, faith, and testimony. Dad’s life preached Jesus to those he saw on a daily basis. My quiet, meek, and servant-hearted Daddio had been showing Christ to his coworkers for years, and his faith was being validated as they watched him continue to honor Jesus through his life and through his death. As a daughter, there is no greater joy than to see others recognize the qualities I had cherished in my dad all my life and to see him point others to God during a time when most would be tempted to curse Him.

At Dad’s memorial service, I was touched to see many people from the park show up to honor dad’s life and testimony. I received hugs and well wishes from many of them as they once again told me how much they appreciated my father.

And now, four months after my dad’s home-going, the White Sox will honor him once again.

On April 10, 2015, opening day for the White Sox, they will hold a moment of silence before the game begins in honor of those within the organization that have died this past year. My dad’s picture will be included and his memory will be honored in front of thousands of people.

Why did they love my dad so much? Because he was faithful. He did what was right. He smiled and asked others how they were doing. God allowed His light and love to shine through this humble servant. And in God’s kindness and grace, he allowed my dad to be honored.

“The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever.” Psalm 37:18

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