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A Tribute to Vince Dressel


February 5, 2020

On Jan. 26 we lost Vince Dressel, Class of 1966, to a difficult two-year battle with cancer. Those that knew him well could write a book. Below are just a few of my thoughts on my friend of 64 years.

Even as a little kid Vince exuded amazing self-confidence. By the time he entered junior high we could all see that never-ending drive and a unique indomitable will which somewhat differentiated him from the rest of us. By the time he entered high school Vince had established himself as a leader. Those of us who spent time with him growing up always looked up Vince.

Reflecting on Vince’s life, and because it was so important to him, one cannot help but remember his exploits on the basketball court, the baseball diamond, the football field and, of course, on the track. Vince was an amazing all-around athlete; an overachiever who never gave less than 100 percent. Vince lettered in track four years, going to the state meet as a freshman, junior and senior. As a sophomore, in consecutive weeks, he helped set school records in the mile relay and in the 880 yard relay. At the same time as he was excelling in track he was running between the track and the baseball diamond. He pitched and played shortstop for four years, lettering in three.

Vince also lettered in basketball three years, going to state his sophomore year. He earned two letters in football as a gifted receiver, defensive back and return man. Vince always led the team in interceptions. He also kicked the extra points. He would have had a third letter were it not for knee operations just prior to his sophomore year. I say operations, plural, because the doctor initially operated on the wrong knee. Realizing his mistake, he then operated on the injured knee.

Needless to say, upon waking, Vince was not happy . (Good thing for the doctor that the statute

of limitations had run by the time Vince got his law degree).

Vince went on to run track and play some basketball in college. In my opinion Vince didn’t even participate in what likely would have been his best sport—wrestling. With Vince’s strength, quickness, balance and coordination combined with his drive and competitiveness I can’t imagine anyone in his weight class ever beating him in high school or college.

Later in life, with the help of his wife, Janet, Vince excelled in the real estate investment business. Often times by sheer force of his will and personality. He was always decisive, never in doubt. Vince never looked back. No woulda, coulda, shoulda moments for him. Right or wrong he was going to do it his way and make it work. It usually did. I never knew Vince to seek the advice of older more experienced real estate developers. His attitude was “they did it their way. I’ll do it my way”. And for sure, one place you never wanted to find yourself was on the other end of an argument with Vince as it was a losing proposition.

Vince loved his family. He scooped up the prettiest cheerleader while the rest of us were still fumbling around trying to figure out our locker combinations. Vince and Janet had three fantastic kids, each of which he was so very proud.

To whoever would listen Vince made known the immense pride he took in grandsons, Johnny and Hayden, as they dominated in track and cross-country. In the last two years he touted the potential he saw in granddaughters, Sophia and Olivia as they began their life as future track stars. He marveled at grandson Aidan’s intellect, self-assuredness and unlimited ability which will likely enable him to excel at whatever in the future he chooses to do. Vince even envisioned grandson Jackie pitching for the Yankees someday despite the fact that he is only three.

Vince Dressel was unique. He was smart and gifted in so many ways. He was a tough hardnosed businessman, never letting anyone take advantage of him. But he also had a soft spot for those less fortunate. He succeeded at everything he tried. He was never afraid to tell you exactly what was on his mind He was a great friend and will be missed.

Steve Hassing

Roseville, California


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