Richard Klunder was a teammate of Albert “Al” Ware on the 1960 Grand Rapids Sullivan’s team that won the National Baseball Congress tournament in Wichita, Kan.
Klunder recalled Ware as a lifelong friend who didn’t let his battle with cancer get in the way of living life.
“Al was diagnosed with cancer two years ago, and they originally gave him just six months to live,” Klunder said. “I saw him last Sunday and gave him his last haircut.”
Ware, who passed away Wednesday at the age of 74, was a player who enjoyed plenty of success with Sullivan’s. In addition to the 1960 championship, Ware was named most valuable player of the 1961 NBC tournament.
“Al was a very athletic guy,” Bob Sullivan said. “He was a great competitor and always wonderful to be around. He would always instill that competitiveness in the youth teams that he coached.”
Ware, a Comstock Park resident, was a fixture on Sullivan’s teams that went to Europe every year. He also found time to serve as an assistant coach on the Grand Rapids Tackers pro basketball club.
“Al and I did everything together,” Klunder said. “We coached our kids together all the way up from when they were 7 to when they were 18. We hunted, fished, socialized, played golf together. We did everything.”
Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Saturday at Chapel of the Holy Cross Mausoleum.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Heartland or to The American Cancer Society.
Source: Grand Rapids Press, The (MI) – Friday, July 30, 2004