SAN ANGELO - Pat Stasey, age 88, of San Angelo, died peacefully surrounded by family on Tuesday, March 29, 2005. Memorial worship service will be at 11 a.m. Friday, April 1, at First Christian Church, 29 N. Oakes St., officiated by the Rev. Ben Hubert and the Rev. Karen Schmeltekopf. The family will receive visitors from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 31, at Johnson's Funeral Home. Memorials may be made to First Christian Church, Meals for the Elderly, or Ambleside School in lieu of flowers. Pat, the oldest of seven children, was born at Chalk Mountain in Erath County, near Stephenville, Texas, on March 11, 1917, to Vida Virginia and McKinley Claude Stasey. A lifetime love of baseball began on the farm throwing rocks and hitting rocks with a stick. After graduating from Stephenville High School, he left home to pursue his dream of playing professional baseball. He recently told a story of trying out for the team in Odessa. He said he was taking batting practice and was really cracking the bat. Afterwards, the coach came up and said, "I think you could hit a pea with a wire!" His career average was .344. He was also blessed with a great throwing arm. He played in Big Spring, Texas, Moline, Ill., Minneapolis, Minn., Jersey City, N.J., and Knoxville, Tenn., and was about to move to the Major League when World War II started. He served in the Army Air Corps from 1943-1946. While playing baseball in Big Spring, he met and married Lillie Beatrice Hill and became stepfather to her son Wendell. Feeling as though his window of opportunity in major league baseball had passed, he gave up that dream and returned to Big Spring to concentrate on his role as husband and father. Patricia Ann was born, followed by another daughter, Maribeth, five years later. Baseball again called his name and in 1947, he helped organize the Longhorn League in West Texas and New Mexico. He was an owner, manager and right fielder until 1955, when the League folded as people began to stay home and watch television. He brought many players to the United States from Cuba to play baseball and gave them a chance for a better life. One of his players, Al Valdez, describes him as a good man, a fair man who treated everyone well. He says, "I love Pat!" He was offered the position of assistant director in the Washington Farm System in 1957, but declined. Instead, he moved his family to San Angelo and pursued a career in financial planning and the oil industry until retirement. In 1989, his wife, Bea, died, and Pat began again. He married Helen Butts in February of 1991 and became stepfather to her children, whom he loved dearly. In 1998, he received a call that he was to be inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame for his contribution to the game of baseball, both as a player and a manager. That honor was one of the highlights of his life, second only to his children and grandchildren. Baseball was not through with him yet. When the San Angelo Colts baseball team was organized, he became a limited partner and provided insight into the process of organizing a team to the owners. At the age of 85, he was asked to be a bench coach for the Colts, which he did for two seasons. At the age of 86, he won a championship ring for his efforts when the Colts won the League Championship. Pat loved his garden and pecan orchard at Dove Creek. He spent countless hours there and shared the fruits of his labor with his family and friends. He found a new business harvesting and shelling pecans and selling them to a growing list of customers. He fed the catfish in the river, and they would appear when they heard him coming. He loved to fish both at Dove Creek and from the docks at the home he shared with Helen at Lake Nasworthy. Pat was a man who lived in the awareness of God's presence every day. He loved his church family at First Christian Church and Helen's church family at Baptist Temple. He served in many leadership capacities at First Christian Church. He was an elder and taught the Goldston Class for over 20 years until his death. He attended Bible study and never stopped learning with an open mind. Pat delivered Meals for the Elderly and drove cancer patients to their doctor's appointments. Activities such as these were his grateful response for the life and health he enjoyed until his death. He understood the gift of presence and attended all church functions. The gift of presence was one of the great gifts he gave to his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He has attended countless piano and dance recitals, and football, soccer, volleyball, basketball and baseball games, to watch the athletes, TexAnns and cheerleaders. He was the face we saw in the crowd, always supporting and encouraging. Pat was preceded in death by his first wife, Bea; two brothers, Barry Stasey and Charles Stasey and wife Ann; and two sisters and brothers-in-law, Helen and Grady Stone and Mary Lois "Teet" and Raymond Laney. He is survived by his wife, Helen; a brother and sister-in-law, Billy Jo and Mary John Stasey; and a sister and brother-in-law, Dixie and Leroy Worrell; two daughters and sons-in-law, Patricia and Kemper Aylor and Maribeth and Dale Scott. His stepsons include the following, Wendell Stasey and wife Ann, David Butts and wife Roylesa and Gerald Butts and wife Sandy. His stepdaughter is Connie Sullivan and husband Roger. His grandchildren are as follows, Kemari Montoya and husband Isaac, Stacia McNeill and husband Will, Kylee Graham and husband Hunter, Jeremy Scott, Jeff Scott and girlfriend Katherine Edmonson and Cody Scott. His step-grandchildren are Randy Stasey, Mickey Stasey, Joe David Butts and wife Tiffany, Tiffany Graham and husband York, Jeremy Butts and wife Jennifer, Katherine Kucel and husband Chad, Nicole Butts, Josh Butts, Gene Butts and Tyler Sullivan. In addition, great-grandchildren include Cobey, Trisha and Katelyn Bradshaw, Lillie and Mallie McNeill, and Hunter Graham. Step-great-grandchildren are Dillon and Kendall Stasey, Holly and Bonnie Stasey, Dawson and Britton Butts, Riley Butts and Deuce Graham. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews and members of his extended family. Every year the Stasey family gathers at Chalk Mountain to play ball at Stasey Field, a "Field of Dreams" built out in the country by three great-nephews, Chris, Chad and Chance Stasey. Complete with stands, fences, foul poles, announcer box and lights, we hit the field after a cousin, who flies in from New York, sings the National Anthem. In the shadow of Chalk Mountain, with the star spangled banner flying high, flanked by both the Texas and Confederate Flags, we play. With Pat and his brother, Billy Jo, coaching, we play. With baseball music playing over the loud speaker, we play, and we celebrate life, freedom, family and relationships. Afterwards, the fireworks shoot into the sky, and we celebrate. Daddy, we will all miss you, but we know your spirit is alive both with us and in us, given to us, piece by piece, throughout the years. "For It's One, Two, Three Strikes You're Out At The Old Ball Game!" Daddy, your life is a HOME RUN!! Thanks be to God for Pat Stasey.
March 31, 2005
Jeffrey D. Smith
I will always remember Pat as one of the nicest guys I have ever met. He had a warm smile and a kind voice. I believe it is true, he never knew a stranger. He was always kind to me personally and I appreciated him. I considered him a friend and will miss him, especially at the Stasey reunion this June. I believe Pat has taken his place with the Saints in Heaven, and is pulling for us all to finish the game here and join him there. He will be remembered, not forgotten. Another member of the "Greatest Generation" has left this life, but his life was a blueprint of success for all to follow. Thanks Pat. Jeff Smith
Published in GoSanAngelo on Mar. 31, 2005.