|Irvin Duell at A Pirates Game, sitting with Patrick LaRosa and showing the Zoltan "Z" for photographer Paul Heimel. God bless you Irvin!|
I wasn’t feeling too well last night so today is going to be 2 for 1 day with my writings; however this one is going to be a little more difficult. As I write this story, the person for whom it is about is a patient at Charles Cole Memorial Hospital and the outlook is not good. He is a friend to everyone he meets and could most always be found somewhere along Main street waving at every car as they drove by.
Irvin Duell has been an icon of this community for as long as I can remember. I would challenge anyone to remember a time when he didn’t have a smile on his face. Even when he was complaining about those Major League Baseball Umpires who would call games unfairly against his Pirates, his grin would stretch ear to ear. He always loved when someone would take some time and talk about baseball with him.
I remember the first time Paul Heimel suggested we take Irving to a Pirates game. Since I usually drove my car for the group, he wanted to run it past me. My only fear was that we would have to keep an eye on him, but he was a pleasant enough fellow and he might enjoy a trip to see a game with the guys.
We told him we would pick him up on the sidewalk in front of his apartment right around 7:30 in the morning. Well, wouldn’t you know he was out there and ready to go before it was even 7 a.m. Irvin was all sorts of excited as he chatted the whole way to Pittsburgh, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed his company.
He was no bother at the game as he kept right close to Paul or I, and we made sure that he had something to drink and plenty of food. We even made certain to get him a new Pirates Hat, which he wore every day to show people he went to the game.
Irvin has always been a simple man who enjoyed just seeing people. In the winter he would shovel the snow in front of the businesses on Main Street early in the morning. The shop owners would throw a couple of bucks to him as he made sure their customers had a nice wide and clear path to get into the stores.
Of course, like I said earlier, he would wave at every car that passed by him along the street. It did not matter if he knew them or not. Paul and I developed a theory that Irvin had two different types of waves. The first, and most often seen, was the courtesy wave where he would look at you and simply raise his hand as hello. The second one, If you were lucky and Irvin knew who you were, was the recognition wave where he clasps his hand rapidly while waving the entire way while you drove by.
I used to joke that during election season, our then local treasurer, Dick McCaig, could have used Irvin to ride around town with him. Irvin could wave at people on his side of the road and Dick could wave to the other, no one would be missed!
Another of my favorite Irving memories was when Adelphia started to broadcast the Root Pittsburgh Sports station on channel 22. They actually broadcast every Pirates game. Irvin proudly explained to me one day; “If I turn on the tv and press the number 2, and the number 2 again, the Pirates come on!” What else can I say about Irvin, he is just such a wonderful character with an unassuming and great personality.
Today I am dedicating my progress to a great friend, Irvin Duell. I want to wish him peace and Godspeed for he is truly loved by many people, and don’t worry my friend, we will be certain to cheer for the Pirates nice and loud, just for you!