The baseball community throughout the area and the Sedalia civic community lost a major contributor with the death of Alma Dey earlier this week.
“Alma was the person who kept us all together,” said Jeff Mays, head coach for the Sedalia Travelers baseball team. “She was the one who gave more than she ever received, and she never expected anything from anyone.
“She became a second mother to all of us who ever played baseball in Sedalia,” Mays added. “I don’t just mean for the players who were from Sedalia, but for anyone who ever bought a meal from the concession stand at Liberty Park (Stadium) or from State Fair Community College’s concession stand too. She just took care of all of us.”
Dey, who was married to William “Bill” Dey, who survives of the home, developed her love of baseball from her husband.
Bill Dey has been a fixture in the baseball community both in Sedalia and the surrounding communities for more than five decades. While her husband was coaching teams, Alma could be found running the concession stand at Liberty Park Stadium. She maintained the facility for more than 30 years.
She also worked at the concession stand at SFCC basketball games for 20 years.
“I have known Alma virtually all my life,” Barb White said. “I think we bonded because we were both coaches’ wives. It takes a special person to be married to a coach and Alma was it.”
“She was the queen of concessions,” White added. “What other person does any one of us know who was in an athletic hall of fame for running a concession stand?”
Dey was inducted into the SFCC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011.
It was not simply the way Alma ran the concession stand that others admired, it was her unending desire to make things better for others.
“Alma always wanted to work in the concession stand even though her boys would be playing or coaching, and later her grandsons would play,” White said. “Even when Bill was coaching, she worked there. She always wanted to do it so other parents could watch their children play. She always put others first.”
Darren Pannier, athletic director at SFCC, spoke of her willingness to give and help others as well.
“Alma first started cooking hot dogs on a hot plate at Liberty,” Pannier said. “She may have started off simple but her menu at the stands turned into something special.”
Alma would serve homemade chicken and noodles, and ham and beans or spaghetti and meatballs to customers at the concessions stands.
“Her meals were amazing,” Pannier added. “She never wanted a ball player or a parent or fan to go without. When she started the stand at SFCC, the players would be given food vouchers. Every one of them would use them to get one of her meals, even though they had the opportunity to go any place they wanted.
“She was such an asset to State Fair and their booster club,” Pannier added. “We all became better because of her. We might be able to do what she did, but we can never fill her spot. ”
Alma’s connection and commitment to the college began when she started to work in the business office at SFCC. She worked there for more than 30 years.
“I don’t think there is really any way to put a price on all she did for Sedalia,” White said. “Not only did she give so much of her time to the college and at Liberty Park to the ball team, but she worked for years with Meals on Wheels helping the elderly in Sedalia and she served in her church in so many ways.”
Alma was a member of Christ and Trinity Lutheran Church and served as the treasurer of the church for 25 years.
White recounted a story about how Alma would bake more than a hundred loaves of homemade bread each year for the church bake sale.
“One year Alma wasn’t feeling very well before the bake sale,” White said. “She told the pastor that she was sorry but she could only bake 40 loaves that year. She felt awful that that was all she could do. That was Alma, she never wanted to let anyone down.”
White’s husband, Martin White, coached the Dey’s sons, Warren and Ross, when both boys were younger. Martin White knows the family.
“If Alma said it, it was right,” he said. “A person didn’t question her because they knew what she said was coming from a place of love. She has done so much and for so many that her memory and legacy will carry on.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484