Jimmy Deel followed his dream
By Brian Liskai
FREMONT, Ohio (Sept. 17, 2001) - Jimmy Deal always dreamed of driving a sprint car. He finally realized that dream a couple of weeks ago, but it was that dream that took his life Saturday, Sept. 15 at Fremont Speedway.
Deel, 53, of Green Springs, Ohio, hit the second turn wall on the fifth lap of the first eight-lap 305 sprint heat race. He died from injuries sustained in that crash.
Deel's family was at the track, and told promoter Jim Ford that Jim would have wanted the racing to continue, and so it did.
"Our prayers and hearts are with Jim's family. The racing family is a very close-knit bunch, and I know all the fans, drivers, owners and crews said a prayer for Jim's family Saturday night," said Ford. "This has really effected all of us."
Deel's tragic death is just the third driver fatality at the speedway in its 50 year history. Paul DeWald died from a crash in turn one in 1975, and years prior, Donnie DeMars was killed in a crash.
Deel was born Jan. 23, 1948 in Grundy, Va., the son of Clyde and Margie (McClanahan) Deel. He married Linda Sours on Jan. 21, 1967 and she survives.
Deel, a 1966 graduate of Green Springs High School, spent his life in the Green Springs area. He was the owner/operator of Jim Deel Auto and Truck Repair in Green Springs.
Surviving are his parents; his wife; a son, Jason Deel of Green Springs; daughters, Mrs. David (Jami) Bettinger of Green Springs and Jessica Deel at home; two granddaughters; and sisters, Lena Shaffer and Peggy Miller, both of Green Springs.
Friends may call Tuesday, Sept. 18 from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. at the Engle-Young Funeral Home, Green Springs. Funeral services will be held Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 10:30 a.m. at the funeral home. Burial will follow in the Green Springs Cemetery.
Those wishing to send cards or letters may do so to the Jimmie Deel Family, P.O. Box 691 Green Springs, Ohio 44836 or e-mail your condolences to his daughter, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Memorial contributions may be made in Jimmie Deel's name to the Red Cross for New York City Disaster Relief Fund or to a charity of the donor's choice.