Me­mo­rial for late pitch­ing great Roy Halladay speaks of his im­pact in life

24 Hours Vancouver - - SPORTS - STEVE BUF­FERY sbuffery@post­media.com

CLEAR­WA­TER, Fla. — Roy ‘Doc’ Halladay’s fam­ily, friends and for­mer team­mates spoke of his com­pas­sion, his hu­mour, his work ethic, his ded­i­ca­tion, even his fear­less­ness.

But most of all, they spoke of his hu­man­ity, how he was an even bet­ter per­son than he was a pitcher. That as­pect of Halladay’s per­son­al­ity has shone brightly in the days since the all-star pitcher’s sud­den death last week — and it did again on Tues­day.

At the cel­e­bra­tion of Halladay’s life at Spec­trum Field — the spring train­ing ball­park for the Philadel­phia Phillies — tears and laugh­ter mixed, as peo­ple close to the for­mer ace spoke emo­tion­ally about the man they lost on Nov. 7 when his ICON A5 am­phibi­ous plane crashed into the Gulf of Mex­ico, just off the coast of Florida. He was 40.

“He was awe-strik­ing. He was beau­ti­ful in­side and out,” Halladay’s wife Brandy said through tears as she ad­dressed the large gath­er­ing. “When he spoke, peo­ple lis­tened. And I re­ally hope I can find the right words to be able ex­press how I’m feel­ing and to hon­our the man I’m still lucky enough to call my hus­band.”

Along with Brandy and his fa­ther, Roy Halladay Jr., no one spoke more lov­ingly than ex-Jays team­mate Chris Car­pen­ter, who re­called the time the pair of pitch­ers went fish­ing in the jun­gles of Brazil. The adventure that spoke vol­umes about Halladay’s per­son­al­ity.

“One of the days we went fish­ing, it was like 100 (F) de­grees out and he wanted to jump into the Ama­zon river. Re­mem­ber, we’re the jun­gle,” Car­pen­ter said. “The wa­ter is as clear as a cup of cof­fee and we’ve been catch­ing pi­ra­nhas all day. I looked at him and said, ‘You’re freak­ing nuts.’ He said, ‘I know, but we can say we swam in the Ama­zon River and who do we know that can say that?’”

The Toronto fam­ily at the me­mo­rial in­cluded GMs past and present: Pat Gil­lick, J.P. Ric­cia­rdi, Alex An­thopou­los and Ross Atkins. Past and cur­rent Jays pres­i­dents Paul God­frey and Mark Shapiro were also on hand, along with me­dia guru Jay Sten­house, ex-man­ager Cito Gas­ton, head ath­letic trainer Ge­orge Poulis, and for­mer team­mates Car­pen­ter, Jose Bautista, Aaron Hill, Frank Thomas, John McDon­ald, Lyle Over­bay, Scott Rolen, B.J. Ryan, Josh Tow­ers, Or­lando Hudson, Ja­son Fra­sor, J.A. Happ, Scott Rolen and Ernie Whitt.

Phillies owner John Mid­dle­ton spoke of Halladay’s char­ity work, a sen­ti­ment echoed by God­frey, who served as Jays pres­i­dent/CEO from 2000 to 2008.

“We had him in front of us for too short a pe­riod of time, a great hu­man be­ing be­fore an out­stand­ing baseball player,” God­frey said. “I don’t think there was a dry eye in the sta­dium. The emo­tions I saw in here today were over­whelm­ing.”

Proudly, God­frey keeps a Jays jer­sey signed by Halladay hang­ing in his of­fice in the Post­media build­ing on Bloor Street in Toronto.

“I have peo­ple come in all the time and of­fer me thou­sands of dol­lars for it,” God­frey said. “But I’d never give it up. It’s a price­less me­mento with great per­sonal value to me.”

Roy Halladay

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