Verde Vance Dickey
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81, a loving and dedicated husband, father, businessman, community leader and philanthropist, passed away on February 15th, 2014. Verde was born to parents, Lucille and Verde Dickey, in Sherman, Texas on August 13th, 1932. Verde's family moved to Dallas in 1938 where he played football and baseball at Adamson High School. He attended Southern Methodist University on a baseball scholarship, earning a B.S. in Physical Education and later an M.S. in Administration Education. While at SMU, Verde was a three-year letterman in baseball and a unanimous selection for All Southwest Conference catcher. After graduating, Verde was drafted into the Army, serving in the Seventh Infantry Division in South Korea for two years. Upon return, he played professional baseball with the Cleveland Indians organization from 1955 to 1956. Verde was hired by a home builder in 1957 and was so successful in sales that he made partner in the first year. In 1964, Verde moved to Phoenix to start Verco Manufacturing. Over 45 years, Verde crafted a small manufacturing business into the largest steel decking company in the western United States. Many prominent buildings and sports complexes, including Sun Devil Stadium, US Airways Arena, Chase Field and University of Phoenix Stadium, showcase Verco's decking products. His other business ventures included a golf course management company and Arizona's largest grain operations. His competitive spirit and his artful skill in complex negotiating fueled his success in business, and his heart for people and his community drove his desire for philanthropy. Verde's generosity reached deep into the community, mostly without recognition or praise. Many students, military veterans and others in need can attest to his investment in their lives. Verde and his wife, Cathy, were significant contributors to Arizona State University, where they supported a variety of endeavors including ASU football, golf and the Sun Devil marching band. They contributed to the renovations of the football, basketball, golf, gymnastics and wrestling facilities. In 2008, the Verde Dickey East Athletic Village and the Verde Dickey Dome, an indoor football practice facility, were named in his honor. Verde learned his love for sports from his father, who coached high school football for 35 years and entered the Texas High School Coaches' Hall of Honor. In sports, Verde's greatest love was golf. He played the greatest courses in the world and would delight in giving lessons to friends and family. In 1982, Verde was the first businessman asked to join the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Board of Directors, and he was Chairman of the PGA National Advisory Committee for three years. Verde was instrumental in bringing business acumen and experience to the PGA. Verde taught his family the values of integrity, perseverance, and generosity. He showed them by example how to leave an indelible mark on their community and loved ones - and that nothing is better than a great story! Verde is survived by his loving wife of 19 years, Cathy, and by three sons, Tod (Suzanne), Ken and Russ (Erika), and granddaughters, Jacqueline and Lauren. Memorial services will be held at the Verde Dickey Dome, 511 S. Rural Rd., Tempe, AZ at 10am on Friday, March 7th. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the following:
c/o Verde Dickey Fund
P.O. Box 2260
Tempe, AZ 85280-2260
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Published in The Arizona Republic on Feb. 23, 2014