People often say you can tell how much someone touched the world by the number of people at their funeral. I’ve also heard that when a couple gets married it’s the number of people who come to the church that really says it all.
Within a 72-hour period I was able to experience both. No, I (obviously) didn’t pass on to the next life and no I didn’t get married. Haven’t done the first thing (thank goodness) and already did the other (thank goodness).
Let me start with the sadder of news so I can end this thing on a high note.
This morning I attended the viewing for Don Seeley, the former sports editor of the Pottstown Mercury. I was the managing editor of the Mercury when Don was a sports writer. We’re talking the mid-1990s. For Don, it was before he was affected by cancer which isn’t, by the way, what killed him. A heart attack did him in late last week.
For anyone who knew Don Seeley he truly was one of those figures who was larger than life, even if he didn’t realize it. For himself, Don just figured he was just “some dude from Rofo,” meaning Royersford for all of you non-Montgomery County folk. But as the last couple of days proved, Don WAS the Mercury sports department.
I came to the Mercury in 1995 I believe, after an 11-year stint with the Norristown Times-Herald. I met Don and the first thing he did was call me the “Norristown ginny.” I always had to remind him (ever so gently) that I wasn’t from Norristown and I wasn’t Italian and that I’m sure the Italians wouldn’t appreciate that. So what did Don do? He called me “Andy the Arab.” Sigh. No Don, I am Armenian…
But that was Don Seeley. If he couldn’t make a joke or poke fun at you he wasn’t happy and you felt honored when he insulted you. It was a rite of passage if you worked with him. The torture he was able to inflict on his co-workers was legendary and I can still remember laughing until I cried some nights. He was the kid in school who kept the class laughing.
But rest assured Don wasn’t all about joking. His stories and knowledge of sports in the Montgomery County area will never be equaled. He was just a fountain of knowledge of athletes, games, scores and everything sports. There just will never be another Don Seeley when it comes to this business. The dedication to writing stories about promising athletes, tragic events of athletes, the ones who turned “pro” and even the ones who failed is just a lost art. There are and were very few people who could do it like Don.
So when I heard that on Sunday night more than 1,000 people lined up at the Catagnus Funeral Home in Royersford and probably hundreds and hundreds more this morning, I wasn’t surprised. He was the “king of sports” on Montco. I was there this morning and I was pleased at the turnout. Pleased, not surprised.
As the perfect segue, I want to also tell you about the couple dubbed “the new king and queen of Delco.”
So as to not embarrass them, we’ll use first names – Peg and Bob. I went to high school with Bob and knew him – sort of. Wasn’t best buddies but knew him. Peg I’ve known for close to 40 years via my wife who grew up with her.
Peg and Bob a year ago really didn’t know one another. Bob was a painter and Peg worked for a private company. Each had lost their spouses way too young and were dealing with life such as it was. As with all tragedies and losses – like the loss of Don Seeley – you just have to keep on going. And that’s what Peg and Bob were doing.
Peg is definitely in my top five of nicest people on the planet that I know. A great person, a wonderful mom, wife, daughter and to my wife, best friend; there isn’t a more kind and gentle soul anywhere. She puts others ahead of herself all the time and has a nice word to say about everyone. She is also the one person I know who could travel to anywhere on Earth and know someone. Her spider-like web of friends is unequaled. It’s truly amazing. Her devotion to her faith and to faith in mankind is beyond reproach.
Bob I knew was a devoted dad and husband, a religious person as well and someone who also has a positive attitude. And for anyone out there who has lost a spouse, that sort of thing can leave you bitter. That isn’t Bob.
So one house painting job later, there we were Saturday in St. Eugene’s Church in Delco celebrating the marriage of Peg and Bob, two kind souls who had lost their lifelong partners but were now brought together to get that second chance not everyone gets.
As Peg’s uncle, a monsignor, pointed out on Saturday, he honestly had never seen so many people turn out for a wedding as he had for Peg and Bob. One person actually whispered to me that there were more people there for the wedding than for Mass on Sunday. It truly was an amazing crowd. And truth be told I think you‘d find it tough if not impossible to find someone in that church who wasn’t as happy as punch for this newly-created couple. It was as if fate had taken two broken hearts and brought them together to mend. I know I couldn’t have been happier for them.
So there you have it. Yes, Don Seeley is gone in body but never in spirit. His life touched so many and we will forever be grateful for having known him. And of course, I haven’t met too many others who could tell a joke like Seeley.
And yes, while Peg and Bob leave a sad part of their lives behind, they now can look forward to living happier portions moving forward as they grow old and gray together. They are luckier than they know – or perhaps they do.
We feel honored having known Don. We are happy we know Peg and Bob. Good people doing good things thinking of everyone else and not themselves. We should feel lucky to have been in Don’s circle of friends and to be in Peg and Bob’s circle. It’s a good place.
— Andy Hachadorian