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Jimmy Joe will be missed by everyone he touched

The loss of Jimmy Joe Sheridan will be felt deeply by his family, but they will not be alone. Anyone who came into contact with Jimmy Joe will miss him as well.

I doubt Jimmy Joe had an enemy. If he did, then that person or persons did not know him. His heart was as kind as his love for Ironton football, and he was a fan who did not miss a game — home or away — for more than 35 years.

Those outside the family who knew him best were probably the “Pine Tree Coaches” who faithfully attended every Ironton football practice and stood on the other side of the fence of the practice field under the pine trees.

I remember the year Bob Lutz did not coach in 2006. Sheridan was almost heart-broken. Things had changed and he didn’t like it.

Being in bad health was taking its toll, then Lutz was asked to return. I remember talking to Jimmy Joe coming out of St. Lawrence after noon Mass and he was just beaming. I really believe it was a better medicine for him than any of his chemotherapy.

“One of his true loves was the Ironton Fighting Tigers and coach Bob Lutz,” said Joe Holtzapfel, a close friend.

“He never missed a game. He and John Winters traveled to every game home and away. In all the time I have known Jimmy Joe, at no time did I ever hear him say a bad work about anyone. Saying we will miss Jimmy Joe is an understatement.”

Lutz was asked to participate in the funeral Mass and he humbly accepted.

“I’d do anything for him,” said Lutz.

One way to judge how people felt about Jimmy Joe was just by looking around town. Message boards at Bentley’s Pharmacy and Peddlers’ Home Cooking offered a sad but heartfelt “good-bye” to him.

“He’s one of finest people I’ve known. He treated everyone well and he was a humble person and he was always the same. He really supported the kids and he was there for them all the time. And the kids like him. He was highly-respected person. If you met him, you’d like him,” said Tommy Tipton, another good friend.

“When he had his cancer, he would always ask how you were doing, or your children or grandchildren. When you were around him you would light up yourself.”

I remember when an Ironton player needed eye glasses and couldn’t afford them. The Pine Tree Coaches took up their own collection and bought them. They would do anything for anyone in need, and Jimmy Joe was leading the way.

The pine trees are gone now, having been removed recently. Now, Jimmy Joe is gone, having been taken home.

But I can’t help believing he still won’t miss any Ironton football games.

—— Sinatra ——

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.