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David Poole Issued A Fond Farewell

Rick Minter | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, April 30 2009

Sportswriter David Poole talks during a news conference in March at Bristol Motor Speedway where he helped create awaremess for Pennies for Wessa as Wessa Miller and her father, Booker, look on. Wessa gave Dale Earnhardt a penny before the 1998 Daytona 500, Earnhardt's one and only win in the Great American Race. (Photo Credit: NASCAR Public Relations)

Sportswriter David Poole talks during a news conference in March at Bristol Motor Speedway where he helped create awaremess for Pennies for Wessa as Wessa Miller and her father, Booker, look on. Wessa gave Dale Earnhardt a penny before the 1998 Daytona 500, Earnhardt's one and only win in the Great American Race. (Photo Credit: NASCAR Public Relations)

By Rick Minter | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

Gastonia, N.C. – A wise person once advised that it’s good to make friends with a preacher so there’ll be someone who knows you to preach your funeral. There’s an extra sadness at funerals where the reverend doesn’t know much about the deceased.

David Poole, despite his intense working pace at the Charlotte Observer and elsewhere, found time to make a preacher friend. The Rev. John Bridges of the Loray Baptist Church obviously knew David Poole well.

Bridges performed the services on Thursday in the sanctuary of the Parkwood Baptist Church. Among the mourners were family and friends from his hometown, fellow journalists from across the Southeast, NASCAR officials, team publicists, track representatives and drivers.

They came to pay last respects to a man who was the undisputed captain of the press corps, dead of a heart attack at age 50. At a time of great sadness, the gray-haired minister offered an uplifting message, one of which Poole himself would have been proud.

The Rev. Bridges talked about Poole’s gift of being able to use words to move people, to use his passion for his work to make the world a better place.

The preacher obviously has similar qualities himself, as evidenced by his remembrances of his friend, David Poole.  Just as Poole worked hard to back up his stories with facts and present an accurate portrayal of his subject, the preacher had done his homework too.  That was apparent with every word he spoke.

Bridges referred to the man lying in the gray casket before him simply as “Poole” just like the man himself used only his last name in identifying himself to his friends and what wanted his friends to call him.

Bridges talked of Poole’s love of all sports, not just NASCAR which consumed his life for the past 13 years. He said that as a youngster, before he ever went to elementary school, Poole would read articles about sports to the men in the corner barber shop.

He talked of sharing time on the golf course with Poole, an avid, left-handed golfer. And he talked about how Poole was successful in everything he did because he never forgot his roots, never moved too far from the shadows of the textile mills in Gastonia, always remembered his days growing up on “Greasy Corner.” He said Poole’s last meal, slaw and crackers, came from R.O.’s Bar-B-Cue in his old neighborhood.

“He never forgot where he came from,” the preacher said.

Bridges said Poole made good use of the talents God had given him, as the Bible instructs.

“He found his true calling and pursued it,” Bridges said.

He described Poole as “a genius with words” and “a prophet to NASCAR.”

He pointed out how it was Poole who led the effort when there was someone in need and that his work benefited those around him.

“Our lives are made better by David Poole’s passion,” Bridges said. “He was gifted by God and used those gifts to help other people.” 

For anyone wishing to honor the memory of David Carl Poole, his favorite charities were www.PenniesForWessa.org and  www.VictoryJunction.org

Rick Minter | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, April 30 2009
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