Wednesday, November 19, 2014

An Ode to Deacon Duvall

A month or so ago a man named Deacon Duvall died at the grand age of 97.  I didn't know Mr. Duvall, but I did know of him.   I was in the Navy when his Fairmont State football team won the national championship of the NAIA.  I didn't see any of the games, but i earnestly followed the team in the Times/West Virginian newspaper my mom and dad subscribed to for me. I had played against Roy Michael and Sonny Bardic in high school so I knew first hand what Fairmont State's  opponents were facing.   I admired that team and their coach Deacon.   Never met the man, even though I started Fairmont State his last year as coach.  Years pass,   Roy Michael is Mannington's coach, then North Marion's.  Roy had a great teacher in Deacon and I'm sure Deacon was proud of Roy.  

I read, as many did, Deacon's obituary and it mentioned his book, published in 2008,," Duvall Football: Winning a National Championship ".  My immediate thought was to read his book and like always I Amazoned.  Ordered the book and waited.   Yesterday I got a notice from the bookseller that he couldn't find the book.   Okay I think,,I know I can go elsewhere for the book.  I cancel that order and get back to Amazon and what do I find???  They don't have the book at all.  I'm so used to having any book I want on my doorstep within a week,  I'm taken aback.

But I must say, as a Camp Massawomeean, I had a plan b.     

I pulled the Mannington Library up and Lo:  Not Found

Know that the Mangton Library net site is part of the Marion Co. system which includes Fairmont State University.  I called the Mannington Library and they were.......Let's say I came up with Zilch.
So I called North Marion High School Library and asked them if they had a copy of a book which had to do with their retired teacher/coach.    If I could congeal the reply of the librarian at North Marion down to it's essense it would be " Roy who? "  

Non-plussed I dialed FSU Library and finally talked to their reference librarian.
She told me that Deacon's book is only in three libraries.   The closest was WVU.

I have no idea of the literary merits of Deacon Duvall's book, having never read it.  But damnit,,,why isn't it at North Marion, and why isn't it at Fairmont State, indeed, why isn't it enshrined at Fairmont State.....  But

This isn't about a man I haven't met.  It's about his wife Joan.

After all my blind alleys, and Plan C*.

I reread the obit, saw that his daughter was local, and I called and left a message for her or her husband.

A couple of hours ago the phone rings and it's Deacon's wife Joan. If I could remember exactly the conversation because she was the most gracious, self-effacing, kindly person I ever talked to.

Upshot:;    She's sending me two (2) "Duvall Football:  Winning a National Championship"
I'm to donate some money to the First Baptist Church Deacon Duvall Memorial Fund.   Joan wouldn't pin me to a certain amount,,,,just "some".   

I didn't know Deacon Duvall,,,but I know for sure he married one classy lady.

*I was going to call John Veasey at the newspaper.

1 comment:

  1. Mike,
    What a neat story. I saw the game where we won the NAIA championship. Roy Michael and Ronnie Robinson were players. One hell of a game.


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