By Eric Stock
BLOOMINGTON – Umpires are rarely fan favorites, but there are few people who didn’t like Dave Yockey.
The longtime local sports official and former radio host has died after a long battle with cancer. He was 62. Yockey continued officiating long after he was diagnosed with kidney cancer nearly a decade ago.
Randy Wittenburg, Ridgeview’s baseball coach and a longtime friend of Yockey who also organized baseball tournaments recalled just last summer asking Yockey to stay and umpire a third game in a day. All Yockey asked for was a Gatorade and didn’t reveal he had just undergone a chemotherapy treatment the day before.
“He cared more about the game than he did about himself,” Wittenburg said. “He was just a selfless person who loved the game, loved the kids, loved the coaches, just loved being around it.
“There’s not anybody in the world than I am going to miss more this spring than Dave Yockey.”
Fellow official Tim Griffin remembered Yockey as a great communicator.
“Players of any age, coaches, fans–he didn’t know a stranger,” Griffin said. “He was just really able to reach people and communicate with them on a positive level. He would be a role model of how you interact on a field.”
Yockey’s funeral will be on Monday morning at 10 at Sunnyside Road Church of Christ in Decatur. The visitation will be on at 4 p.m. Sunday at the church.
Eric Stock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.