By Mike Wilcox
When I heard the news, my heart nearly stopped beating. Longtime friend, co-worker and champion of Clare Al Iacco died yesterday.
I felt he and I were going to talk sports forever. That he would always be in the office on Thursdays proofreading the latest Clare County Review edition before we sent it to press. I thought Al was invincible. But God had other plans for him.
Al and The Review went way back. He was in charge of advertising sales for 20-plus years. He was a natural, because before he joined us he was mayor of Clare for years. He knew everyone, not only in Clare but Mt. Pleasant too.
He had a quick wit and could spin a story faster than a spider a web. He was one of those people you couldn’t help but like.
The same held true in the office. He always considered himself a lady’s man, and was always teasing his co-workers about the many illegitimate children he had. That carried over to The Doherty Hotel as well, where every morning he held court and waitresses were his teasing targets.
Lately we had to reign him in. We could no longer allow him to drive, so his job duties were limited to proofreading on Thursdays. He tackled that chore with a vengeance, and I marveled that at his advanced age he never missed a day of work.
One of the great joys we all had at work was listening to editor Pat Maurer and he, who shared an office, banter back and forth. It was all in good-natured fun but the two of them would argue incessantly all day Thursday over the fact of this story, or the spelling of that word.
Al always managed to get Pat in a tizzy for most of the day, and the rest of us laughed until tears rolled down our faces.
Until the very end Al’s mind was as sharp as a college-educated 25-year-old even though he was approaching age 92. He hadn’t forgotten much of anything, especially when it came to Clare or University of Michigan sports.
He and I always kibitzed about the latter and it’s a shame that he couldn’t have at least lived through another college football season because that was one of his great passions.
Those are just a few recollections. Al had more friends than the Pope has parishioners, and I’m sure they all have stories more compelling than mine.
Al was simply one-of-a-kind. He was the life of the party no matter where he was. I’m sure the same will hold true when he reunites with is beloved wife, Ruthie in heaven.
Many of us might say Rest in Peace, Al, but that would be a misnomer. He isn’t going to rest. That’s not his style. Mr. Clare will be raising cain, just like he has all those years on earth, and heaven will be a better place because of him.
By Mike Wilcox