august2009

A Tribute to Jack Addison

August 31, 2009

Oak Ridge, TN


If you asked Jack Addison where the ISC tournament was held, in any year since 1975, without hesitating he could tell you because he was there. He traveled to places, in Canada, like Vancouver, British Columbia; Kitchner - Waterloo, Ontario (3 times); Prince Edward Island and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. In the USA he attended tournaments in Long Beach & Bakersfield, California; Tempe & Phoenix, Arizona; Salt Lake City, Utah; St. Joe, Missouri; Sioux City, Iowa (4 times); Fargo, North Dakota; Eau Claire, Wisconsin (2 times); Kimberly, Wisconsin (7 times); Saginaw, Michigan; Decatur, Illinois and Allentown, Pennsylvania. It was not a question of where the tournament was being played but when do we have to depart from Tennessee to get there for the first game. To my knowledge he never missed the first pitch of any of the ISC tournaments he attended.
He attended his first ASA national tournament in 1955 at Clearwater, Florida. He attended ASA tournaments in Dallas, Texas; Seattle, Washington; Springfield, Missouri (2 times); Decatur (2 times) & Bloomington, Illinois; South Bend, Indiana (2 times); Midland, Michigan (2 times); Allentown, Pennsylvania (2 times); Stratford, Connecticut; and Clearwater, Florida (9 times). Many years he would go to both the ISC & the ASA.
If you were to ask Jack if saw the two(2) longest softball games ever played he could tell you in detail about them because he saw every pitch of both games. One was in 1965 at Clearwater, Florida (ASA tournament) and the other one was in 1981 (ISC tournament) at Saginaw, Michigan.
Up until about seven (7) years ago he would arrive at the ball park in time for the first pitch of the first game, that day, most of the time he did not leave until the completion of the last game. Between games sometimes he would go to the van to get something to drink; or if he got cold to put on a jacket. At this time he would fix himself a sandwich and be back in time for the next game.
In 1948 he played his first game of fast pitch softball in Oak Ridge, Tennessee and from that time on he was hooked on this great game. A fierce competitor who played centerfield and usually batted leadoff because he was a left handed hitter with excellent speed. He managed the Oak Ridge team for two (2) years in the middle 50’s.
My father (Andy Rich from Chattanooga, Tn.) started going to the tournaments with Jack in 1976 and continued to do so until his death in 1996. My first tournament with Jack was in 1994 to Prince Edward Island. Our last tournament was this year (2009) in South Bend, Indiana. We had plans to go to the ISC in Moline but after arriving home, from South Bend, on Sunday night August 2nd Jack became very ill and on Friday August 7th he was rushed to the hospital by emergency ambulance. His condition took a turn for the worse and he passed away early Thursday morning August 27th. During his hospital stay I would call him every day and we would talk, usually about softball. During the ISC tournament I would call him several times a day and give him updated scores of the games. As time passed our conversations grew shorter as he grew weaker. The last time I talked to him was about 9 pm Wednesday night August 26th and of course the conversation was softball. He said to go ahead and make plans for 2010 and we will go to both the ASA and the ISC. At about 6:30 am Thursday morning I got that dreaded phone call from his daughter advising me of his passing.
One of the highlights of the tournaments for Jack was visiting with his many friends from all over the United States. Many of whom have gone on to their reward. This group included Bill North, Andy Rich, Dee Arnold, Ike Robbs, Jim Ogle, Herman Beagles & Walt Lauter from Chattanooga, Tennessee; Johnny Moon & Bill French from Atlanta, Ga; Bob Walsh & "Butter" from Allentown, Pa.; Bob Welby from St. Louis, Missouri; LC & Lillian from Detroit, Michigan; "Cuz" from Iowa; Herb Dudley & John Hunter from Clearwater. Those still attending includes Art, Mary Ann, Beverly & Gail Koch from Midland; Linda Woerth from Madison; Bill & Judy from Florida/Wisconsin; Bob "Boss" Tomlinson from Wisconsin; Jim Ciesielski from Iowa; Ron Murphy from New Jersey; Larry & Connie from Texas; Pat & Charlie from Decatur, Il.; Robert Gray from Montgomery, Alabama; Jimmy Dean from Seattle; Ernie Rohrbach from Allentown; Ron "Doc" Simmons from Broken Bow, Nebraska.
A devoted family man who loved and cherished his family. He and his wife (Bryant) would have been married 58 years this October 4th. They had 1 daughter (Linda) and 1 granddaughter (Rebecca)
I will miss his regular phone calls (usually 4 to 5 times a week) and the usual topic of conversation was sports, mostly softball. He did not own a computer but between myself and Bob Tomlinson we would print softball news off our computers to send him.
Jack had saved a program from every tournament he ever attended and to this day has them in chronological order, in a stack beside his desk. What’s more amazing he has the score of every game written down up until last year. Just last year he threw away a cooler that he had been taking to tournaments since 1978. I told Jack that cooler had more miles on it than a greyhound bus. He started carrying a yellow Scripto mechanical lead pencil in 1982 so he could record the scores of the games in his program and he carried it to South Bend this year. Four (4) short weeks ago it made its final tournament.
It is with heavy hearts we bid farewell to our friend and fast pitch softball has lost one its most faithful fans. You are now free of the pain and suffering that you were in. YOU WILL BE MISSED BY your family, friends and the fast pitch softball world. Rest in peace.
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