A former sports reporter in Florida spent the closing days of his daily life penning his own obituary — in which he reminded his visitors that “kindness is free of charge. Sprinkle that things all over the place.”
David Alfonso, 73, who labored at the Tampa Tribune for 20 several years, was hospitalized in July as his ailment worsened just after battling long-term lymphocytic leukemia for 25 decades, the newspaper noted.
His wife, Janice, informed him she would not be in a position to convey to his story as very well as she realized he could, so he made a decision to write his previous story — a single about his individual daily life.
In the times prior to his dying on Aug. 6, he summoned the vitality to fill a yellow pad whilst lying on a clinic bed whilst on oxygen in the couple’s dwelling room in Largo, taking breaks to enjoy the Olympics and numerous sports activities exhibits on Tv set, in accordance to the paper.
When his previous colleagues Tom Keyser and Mike O’Keeffe stopped by for a further pay a visit to, Alfonso — “Fonz” to his near close friends — had stuffed five or six internet pages. Keyser read through the obit, requested a number of thoughts, and took it dwelling to sort it up.
When Janice study the ultimate draft later, she mentioned she imagined, “That’s my David.”
“He’s so frank. He has wit. It’s David,” she explained to the Tribune.
Alfonso commenced his life tale by describing himself as “a good author and mainly good human” who was “born March 7, 1948, to Grace Alfonso, a bank teller, and Alfred Alfonso, a janitor and existence-lengthy scrapper.”
He stated that when they lived in a basement condominium, he made use of to journey his “trike by the picket hallways later on in the day.
“Think a benevolent Danny in The Shining,” he included, referring to the boy in the 1980 horror flick.
“Al and Grace sacrificed mightily for me, often, so that I could possibly inch in advance in daily life, ‘make it,’ if you will. And to a substantial diploma I did, despite the fact that a determined, underneath-achiever facet would interfere,” Alfonso wrote.
“When it arrived to the women, I was a prodigious about-achiever, culminating with marriage to my Queen of Hearts, Janice Harwell,” he wrote.
“The College of Florida was my destiny. But though I was fascinated in almost everything, I piddled via with a degree in philosophy. Actually, philosophy. Not what you had been anticipating, appropriate?” Alfonso ongoing.
“I labored as a ‘housing counselor’ and then, a couple of years later on (it was the Watergate influence), I decided that it’s possible I could be a newspaper writer. And darned if it did not come about,” he said.
“I covered a ton of massive-time college or university soccer video games and experienced a entrance-row seat to the previous golden era of boxing, the 1980s and Leonard, Hagler, Hearns, Duran. I saw the drama up near and mingled with THE most effective writers, of which I was at times genuinely integrated,” the former sports scribe mentioned.
Soon after marrying Janice in 1986, he reported, he switched careers and turned an algebra instructor at his alma mater, Plant Superior. He retired in 2008 and moved to Largo with his wife, the place he used his final days.
“Now it’s time to say goodbye. A 25-calendar year duel with serious lymphocytic leukemia has come crashing down with a vengeance, and I do suggest a vengeance,” he wrote.
“Once a two-time finisher at St. Anthony’s Triathlon, I am mattress-ridden and do not care for it a bit, even as the fantastic care of Hospice tries to take the edge off the inevitable,” Alfonso said.
“It was a excellent ride, with a lot of laughs and tenderness. In keeping with the custom of obits, I talk to you to make a donation to a deserving result in. They are just about everywhere. (Clearwater Audubon Society potentially?),” he additional.
Alfonso shut out his obit with: “Finally, get a Sunday newspaper and love it more than a cheese omelette, crispy hash browns, thick bacon, contemporary Florida OJ, and a significant café con leche.
“And remember: Kindness is absolutely free. Sprinkle that stuff all over the place,” he extra.