Many did not know much about Bob Sheppard but we do know that he was married twice, the first marriage ending, when his first wife Margaret, the biological mother of all four of his children, died of a brain tumor.
He met his second wife, Mary, in his Catholic parish after mass and they went on a first date at Jones Beach. They were together for over 50 years.
Bob lasted nearly three years after battling illness, and illness that forced him into retirement. At that time his wife, Mary said to a friend “The hope of going back to the stadium is the only thing that keeps him going. I don’t know how to say this but, I doubt he could stay awake for nine innings much less, announce 9 innings!”
Yet, Bob’s Mary encouraged him to keep fighting. He called her his “archangel” and at 96, when I asked him about Mary in an interview he was still saying that she was a “great looking lady in a bathing suit.” You’d think he was 22 and her 18. A previous marriage gave him some children and his second marriage gave him a beautiful partner who was true to him until the end. He thought she was a saint, and surely many of us think so too. So as Bob takes his walk into sainthood this week, he may indeed have to catch up to the living saint who simply promised to love him forever.
That’s worth celebrating as much as a life that lives on with God now forever.
Photo credit: NY Times