LSU vs. ULL
2017 Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic
My son, Alex Michael Vedros, was born on March 24, 1995. He had a stroke during delivery, resulting in cerebral palsy, blindness, and gross developmental delays.
In spite of all of this, Alex had the biggest smile, and his laughter lit up the room. Alex passed away in his sleep on February 28, 2004 - a month before his 9th birthday. Our pastor,Fr. Billy O'Riordan did Alex's funeral mass. During his homily, he talked about how hard it was to do funerals for children, and that he never quite knew what to say. He spoke of another young man, Wally Pontiff, Jr. who had also died way too soon. Fr. Billy told us that he knew Wally was waiting in heaven for Alex with a bat in one hand and a glove in the other. He said that for Alex's first time seeing and running he would have a wonderful "coach" teaching him how to throw, catch and bat. This meant a lot to me, as a I had grown up playing softball at Oakdale Playground on the Westbank and have coached T-ball there for a few years. I was excited to know that Alex would finally have the chance to play - and with such a talented teacher!
We never met Wally, but Alex has gone to a summer camp for children with special needs for years at Metairie Playground, so we were very familiar with Wally. My husband and I are both LSU graduates, so we also know that Alex and Wally are wearing purple and gold as they play baseball in heaven.
Chris & Traci Vedros
Email rec’d 4/27/10: “Connie, good morning. I am inquiring as to the procedure to make a donation to the Wally Pontiff, Jr. Foundation in the name and memory of Mark Daily. You may know Mark. He was a local high school baseball umpire and LSU baseball season ticket holder. He passed away last Friday after suffering a massive stroke on 4/15/10. He was 54 years old and a co-worker of mine @ Unisys. Unisys Healthcare Information Management is now “Molina Medicaid Solutions.
Some of the employees @ Unisys want to make a donation in Mark’s name and I have started to collect their money…. Total donation to the Wally Pontiff, Jr. Foundation is $1,011.00.”
Mark Anthony Daily Biography
Born: April 2, 1956; Died: April 23, 2010
Employees of Molina Medicaid Solutions-Louisiana Operations Donate $1,011.00 to the Wally Pontiff, Jr. Foundation inMemory of Former Co-Worker Mark Daily
Mark began his life in the East Falls neighborhood of the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Fittingly enough, love for others was the driving force in Mark’s life. Born and reared in a traditional Catholic home, Mark was the youngest of 10 children (4 boys and 6 girls). Typical of boys in the mid-1960s in America, Mark was sports-minded as he played baseball, basketball, and football and had a paper route.
Mark continued to pursue his interest in sports as he played three years of baseball for Roman Catholic High School in East Falls. Highlights in his high school years included summer trips to The Jersey Shore with friends and family. Unfortunately, having to experience a death in his immediate family came all too early for Mark as his mother passed away in his senior year. This sorrowful theme would be repeated three more times in Mark’s life; the last of which would claim his own life.
After high school, Mark left East Falls for Penn State University (PSU), where he earned his Bachelor’s degree. Although Mark did not participate in sports at PSU, he was an avid Nittany Lion sports fan and had great respect for PSU head football coach Joe Paterno. No doubt Paterno’s no nonsense attitude and impeccable character continued to mold Mark and prepare him for adult life.
Upon graduating from PSU in 1978, Mark saw that there were few employment opportunities in the Philly area, so, having worked in south Louisiana during college summer breaks while visiting his brother, Jim, he decided to move to the Baton Rouge area after graduation. Soon after, at the age of 26, Mark’s father passed away. Mark distinguished himself in the Information Technology (IT) profession as a computer programmer for over 20 years with Louisiana National Bank/Premier Bank/Bank One at its Operations Center in Baton Rouge.
He concluded his IT career with Unisys Corporation’s Healthcare Information Management division (now Molina Medicaid Solutions). Mark was a family man and his adult life was centered around his two children: daughter, Blair, and son, Ryan. He coached his son’s baseball teams from T-Ball until high school. He took those teams to the Louisiana state tournament numerous times and also led them to many regional tournaments in Texas, Florida, and Mississippi.
When Mark wasn’t coaching, he was always in attendance at his son’s baseball, basketball, and football games, as well as his daughter’s activities and sports, including basketball, softball, and volleyball. Mark also enjoyed watching LSU baseball as he was a Tiger baseball season ticket holder for over 20 years. He was one of the original members of the LSU baseball Coaches Committee, started by then head baseball coach Skip Bertman as a fund raising support group for the Tiger baseball program.
In addition to coaching and watching baseball, around the year 2000 at the age of 44, Mark became a baseball umpire and started umpiring area high school baseball games. Some two years later, Mark’s sister, Lynne, passed away. In addition to baseball, Mark enjoyed hunting and fishing. He assisted with the weigh-ins and other duties at professional bass tournaments for seven years. Mark’s Catholic faith meant a lot to him. He attended the Jesuit Manresa House of Retreats in Convent, Louisiana for seven years. His sister, Mary Jane, has been a Catholic nun as a member of the order of The Sisters of Saint Joseph since 1954. He was a parishioner of Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Baton Rouge for 27 years, in which he was also a member of the church’s Men’s Club and Fair Committee for many of those years. Kindness and compassion were hallmarks of Mark’s life. Be it a friend, co-worker, neighbor, or stranger, Mark would go out of his way to help people in need.
For example, due to his rare blood type that is in high demand when infants need blood transfusions, he donated blood every month for 20 years to help area premature babies in need. Another example among many was that he was known to mow his elderly neighbor’s yard whenever it needed mowing without being asked. Mark ran into serious health problems of his own in the last five years of his life. On April 23, 2010, he succumbed to complications from a massive stroke. He is sorely missed by family, friends, former co-workers, and strangers who were fortunate enough to be touched by his kindness and love.
Donation Made to Pontiff Foundation - Molina Medicaid Solutions in Baton Rouge has made a donation of $1,011 to the Wally Pontiff Jr. Foundation in memory of Molina employee Mark Daily, who died unexpectedly after suffering a stroke.Daily, 54, was a devoted LSU baseball fan and one of the original members of the Coaches Committee booster club created by Skip Bertman in 1984.The Wally Pontiff Jr. Foundation was established in memory of LSU's all-SEC third baseman who died in 2002 at age 21 due to heart abnormalities.
The Foundation benefits numerous charitable organizations in south Louisiana.LSU will play in the annual Wally Pontiff Jr. Baseball Classic on April 20, 2011 versus Southern Miss. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. at Zephyr Field in Metairie, La. Full Article can be found on LSUsports.net http://www.lsusports.net/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=5200&ATCLID=204979344