By TRINE GALLEGOS | Correspondent
PUBLISHED: October 20, 2017 at 8:26 pm | UPDATED: October 23, 2017 at 2:30 pm
The unexpected passing of a well-liked community leader has those who knew him reeling.
Dave Sanderson, a one-time deputy director of Antioch Parks & Recreation, died on Oct. 17 at his Antioch home. He was 66 years old.
Gregarious and well-liked, Sanderson was a part of the city’s recreation team in the mid-1970s, along with Worth Shaw and Tom Menasco. All three were Antioch High School graduates, Sanderson having graduated in 1969.
Menasco said he was doing “OK, despite losing one of my best friends.”
The Antioch resident – a former rec director – hired Sanderson, who worked two summer internships. Once Sanderson graduated from Chico State, Menasco and Shaw knew he’d be a perfect fit.
“In those days we were looking for a third person,” he said. “We thought Dave would do a great job. He was imaginative and creative. We were three hometown guys – the ‘Three Mouseketeers.’ We liked Dave right from the start.”
Over the years, Menasco and Sanderson became good friends, traveling to spring training each year, hitting the football Hall of Fame and a variety of other places.
“I have a lot of memories with him.”
Along with Menasco and three others, Sanderson was a founding member of the Antioch Historical Society’s Sports Legends Museum. In the last 11 years, it has honored more than 150 inductees, 10 championship teams, 10 dedicated coaches and 10 community service award recipients.
Menasco echoed the sentiments of many posting about Sanderson on Facebook.
“Dave genuinely liked people. He was a big kid with a good sense of humor, who was very understanding and had a strong perspective of the community needs, and a unique quality to think outside the box.”
Said Mike Shaw, Worth’s son: “Dave worked with my dad for many years and contributed greatly to Antioch. He continued to impact many in retirement, including his help starting the Antioch Sports Legends and working with the senior (citizens). A great guy and great friend to our entire family. He will be missed.”
Diane Gibson-Gray and Sanderson go back more than 40 years.
Gibson-Gray’s husband, Ken Gray, worked for the city of Pittsburg’s recreation department.
“When I was on Antioch’s Recreation Commission, Dave jokingly said I was a spy for Ken.”
Fond of Sanderson, Gibson-Gray added that “Dave loved recreation and the city of Antioch. Even after retirement, he volunteered at the Senior Center providing travel opportunities. He knew everyone in town and he knew how to get things done. I, along with many others, will miss him.”
Said Bertha Shaw: “He impacted a lot of people; more than people know … very quietly, he took care of so many things.”
Menasco offered a final reflection on his friend: “He was very instrumental throughout the community and volunteer organizations. He left his legacy.”
At press time, service and burial plans had not be released.
Reach Trine Gallegos at TrineG@att.net