By Chris Rossetti
When I heard that Gene Smith, the long time Athletic Director at Redbank Valley, had died Monday, I was shocked. I had just seen him Sunday at the Piratesí game working the PNC Park booth. I stopped and talked to him for about five minutes and he said to give him a call this week.
Sadly, I was never able to make that call. Monday evening I found out he had passed away that morning. It hit me hard.
No, Gene, wasnít by best friend. No, I didnít talk to him on a daily basis. But I didnít need to to know that Gene was a great individual. In my 1 Ĺ years at the Clarion News he went out of his way to help me. He always took my phone calls, and if he wasnít in, he always returned my calls promptly. When I covered events at Redbank Valley he always took the time to say hello and make sure I had everything I needed. But then again, as I would come to find out that was just Gene. He was also willing to go that extra mile to help someone out. He was also there if someone needed him.
Gene, like myself, was an avid Pittsburgh Pirate fan, a member of the Diamond Club. When ever he saw me at a game or heard I was going to a game, he always wanted to know where I got my tickets from. He always said that if I ever needed tickets to make sure he was the first one I called. In fact he said those thing to me on Sunday.
When I saw him Sunday, I was telling him about this web site. He seemed very much interested and said that anything we needed for it to just let him know and he would help us out. But like I said, that was Gene, always willing to help me out if I needed it.
Not only has Redbank Valley lost a great man, Western Pennsylvania has lost a great man.
My deepest sympathies go out to his wife Linda, his son Gene, his daughters Stacia and Heather, his brother Joe and sister Margaret.