Need Help With Funeral Expenses

[SIZE=“4”]I am soliciting donations to help cover funeral expenses for ?Racer Al? Stageberg.

As some of you might know by my earlier post HERE Racer Al passed away unexpectedly last Tuesday, July 28th.

Racer Al had a rich short-track racing history and background back in the day with his Mopar Late Models in the Tampa Bay area but even more importantly, as Kenny Alderman pointed out in a previous thread, he was a giver, not a taker.

Now it?s time for those of us that knew him, appreciated him, or might have benefited in some way by his kindness or generosity to step up and reciprocate.

Unfortunately when Racer Al passed away he didn?t have enough left in his estate to even post a notice in the paper so a group of us have gotten together to raise the necessary funds to give him a proper service and burial.

Our target figure is $2,400. Any amount will be appreciated.

If you wish to donate please either PM me or email me at: and I will direct you accordingly.

Thanks in advance for your consideration.

Thanks also to the following for your contributions to this effort already:

Ralph ?Whitey? Wescott
Bryan K. Wescott, Sr. Family
Kenny Faircloth
Barbara (Grey) & Lee Mitton
Jim Grey
Steve & Shirley Stanford
Charlie & Peggy BeVille
Dickie Nelson
Dickie Gay


Bob (OSF)
Kenny Alderman [/SIZE]


Jim , thanks for helping . Please send me a PM on where to send some money .


[SIZE=“4”]Mike Crooks

Phil Crooks




[SIZE=“4”]Wendy & Billy Bechtelheimer

Larry Larson[/SIZE]

[SIZE=“3”]To recap, I just wanted to take the time here coming up on 24-hrs from the time of my original request for donations to let everyone know where we stand.

If everyone that has committed comes through, we are still $600 - $700 short of our goal.

Please, I know times are tough and some folks are struggling to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table but if you can spare anything at all it would help.

This man was a Tea-Totaller, wouldn?t say ?$hit? if he had a mouth-full, and was a giver to a fault. If he ever uttered one cuss word I never heard it.

The ?giver? part is the main reason there?s nothing there for his service and the main reason his body is still lying in a drawer at Northside Hospital in St Petersburg.

He would give you the shirt off of his back. He took in homeless people and let them sleep out of the weather in his shop. He also helped young people that were struggling with personal issues.

Even if you didn?t know this man or weren?t touched by his generosity in your life, don?t take my word for my opinion of Racer Al, ask anyone on the list that has committed to this effort and they would tell you the same thing.

Thanks again to all that have committed so far.

Thanks to everyone else for your consideration.

Jim Fenton


if a person lived in the St. Pete area where would they drop off donations. thanks


You have a PM providing the information requested

Thanks so much for your inquiry.

Jim F.[/SIZE]


[SIZE=“4”]Pat & Gordon Lee
(#123 Sunshine Speedway)

Scott & Mary Shelton
(#87, Sunshine Speedway)

Ricky Hurley

Johnny Stanton

Danny Kramer

Mickey Kramer[/SIZE]

[SIZE=“3”]A lot of great stories are coming forward from many donors whose lives were touched one way or another by this man.

Thanks to the Sheltons for permission to post this excerpt from their email earlier today;[/SIZE]

Scott and I heard the sad news about racer Al last week. Your note explains why I couldn?t find any information in the obituaries. What a great loss! Al touched many lives beyond the racing world. He was a mentor/friend to young male teens that were in great need of a male figure in their life. I personally know two guys that Al helped get their lives back on track. Scott and I had the pleasure to see Al around town after he left Sunshine Speedway. Thank you so much for taking the lead to ensure Al receives a proper burial. We would like to send a donation. Please provide your address??.

[SIZE=“3”]Then there?s the conversation I had with Johnny Stanton this evening. I had admittedly forgotten who he was until he reminded me that he was the tousled blonde headed boy that started working for Al when he was a kid. Johnny tells the story of Al offering him a ?real job? when he was waiting tables at Smalley?s BBQ in Pinellas Park and soon he went from sweeping floors in Al?s shop to learning the machinist trade by milling heads and valves and honing cylinders. Johnny worked for Al from 1979 to 1988 and has no problem telling you that he credits Al?s mentorship with where he is today being in charge of a large shop / crew with the City of St Petersburg. Thanks again Johnny for your gracias donation.

Thanks again also to everyone who has stepped up to the well. That?s one thing that has always been dependable in the racing community in that everyone comes together to help those in need as is happening in this case.

I feel humbled and at the same time honored to be a part of it.

Jim Fenton

[SIZE=“4”]Memorial Service info for Racer Al:

Friday, 08/07/09.
2:00 ? 4:00 PM

A Life Tribute
Gulfport Chapel
5601 Gulfport Boulevard South
Gulfport, Florida 33707
Ph. 727-347-5521

Thanks so much again to?..

R.M. ?Whitey? Wescott
Kenny Faircloth
Dickie Nelson
Barbara (Grey) & Lee Mitton
Jim Grey
Charley & Peggy BeVille
Steve & Shirley Stanford
Bryan K. Wescott Family
Dickie Gay
Larry Larson
Pat & Gordon Lee
Kenny Alderman
Bob (OSF)
Wendy & Billy Bechtelheimer
Pat & Phil Crooks
Mike & Jessica Crooks
Scott & Mary Shelton
Ricky Hurly
Johnny Stanton
Danny Kramer
Mickey Kramer

??..for helping us make this happen!
(Sorry if I missed someone)

A special shout-out also to Jack Smith & the Karnac / Real Racin USA Admin for providing a conduit for messages such as this to get out to the racing community where it matters.

Jim Fenton


did you see your pm about the cup?

[SIZE=“3”]Yes, and due to a few unavoidable circumstances (my being out of town for the last day & a-half chief among them) this deal almost didn’t get done.

However, thanks to you, Robert Blake (the long time Sunshine Speedway trophy maker) and Dean Gunter (A Life Tribute - Funeral Director) we made it happen this afternoon.

This personalized racing-oriented Urn was a great idea Darren and we appreciate your and Robert’s contribution and efforts to first put the thought up on the table then providing the final hardware and inscription on such short notice.

Thanks so much to you both. It puts the final icing on the cake as a tribute to this good man.

Jim Fenton


[SIZE=“3”]Last but not least, I?d like to put in a good word for Dean Gunter, the Funeral Director at A Life Tribute that is handling Racer Al?s funeral & service.

I?ve not met Dean personally yet but I?ve had the good fortune of speaking with him on the phone a few times and have learned that not only is he a long-time race fan of local short-track racing, particularly Sunshine Speedway, but he?s also a friend to the racing community in general.

I didn?t ask permission to recite this story ahead of time but I?m going to lay out the short version anyway and run the risk of him being upset with me so that you?ll see what I mean about him being a racer?s friend even under these unfortunate circumstances.

Dean believes in giving the family the flexibility of setting up the items, objects, photos, etc. that were important to their loved-one?s life, sort-of no matter what it is (within reason).

I?m sure most of you have heard of Dwayne Dempsey. Dean handled the funeral of a close relative of Dwayne?s lately who was an avid supporter of Dwayne?s racing career.

They brought Dwayne?s race car to the funeral home, set it up as a center piece out front, then surrounded it with Dwayne?s trophies, pics, racing banners, etc.

Then after the service, Dwayne fired up the race car and did a victory burn-out across the funeral home parking lot covering everyone in tire smoke then exited the car to a standing ovation.

Now that?s a racer?s funeral director right there!


[SIZE=“3”]The outcome of today?s service was indicative of Racer Al?s life.

It was a good showing of a bunch of great folks who one way or another was touched by Al?s benevolence or mentorship.

I know it was a work day afternoon and difficult for some folks to get the time off but it was a great showing just the same. I?m sure Al would?ve been pleasantly surprised and at the same time a little embarrassed with all the fuss and hoopla but it was well deserved.

Now - more THANKS to additional donors;

Ralph Wheeler

Tom Zurflieh

Steven Davis (D/B/A Steve?s Custom Crankshafts)

Fred Hawkins

To ?Tim? that handed me a donation today at the service. The train left the station (my CRS kicked-in) shortly after you told me your last name and now I can?t recall it to save my life. If you?ll email me your name I?ll stick it up here. In the meantime THANKS again for the help!

I know I?ve mentioned them once already but that was before I saw the finished product.

A special shout-out again to Darren from this board and Robert Blake of Rob?s Trophy?s for the custom urn. That was an awesome piece of work fit for any racing champion. It was approx 18? tall and heavy as a bowling ball. It just blew me away when I saw the workmanship of this piece which I took the liberty of posting the pic below.

If anyone is in the market for a trophy or trophies for any occasion or event, please consider Rob’s Trophies for your needs. Here is a sample of his quality & craftsmanship.

The inscription reads:

Alfred L. (?Racer Al?) Stageberg
Born: August 05, 1934
Died: July 28, 2009
Racer, Car Owner, Mentor, Friend

That urn is great . Good job Darren . How are the donations going ? Did all of the promised money come in ? How much more is needed ?

thank you

AJ14, however, Rob did the work.

[SIZE=“3”]No, we still haven?t received all donations that were promised however [/SIZE][SIZE=“5”]WE DID RECEIVE ENOUGH TO ACHIEVE OUR GOAL![/SIZE] [SIZE=“3”](Your check was received today AJ so thanks again!)

Thanks so much again to all who graciously donated to this cause. We all know that times are tough and it?s sometimes difficult to impossible to consider giving in these situations so we?re very grateful to all that helped us get this done.

Another classic example of the racing community coming together for one of their own during one of our most difficult economic times.

A big tip of the hat also is in order to R.M. ?Whitey? Wescott for stepping up to the well early on for the entire amount in this situation in order to get things off-center and underway.

To those friends of Al that learned of his passing late and are still writing and trying to help, please know that we have reached our goal and we appreciate your effort and sincerity.

More excerpts from positive personal testimonials that are still arriving for this man:

From Pati:[/SIZE]
"Jim; I was a friend of Al’s way back in 52. He was a GREAT friend to Wayne Saunders, Frank Stiles and me. We had great times in Wayne 's Model T (or was it A) with the rumble seat. Al’s life had some tragedies back then. His Mom and Dad died in an auto accident, and his sister, I think her name was Karen, was killed by her husband. God, how I loved Al! I went with Wayne and remember saying I only went with Wayne to be around Al.

Can I still donate? Just got the news this evening, Friday. I would have driven to St. Pete today for the services."[/I][/SIZE]

[SIZE=“3”]From Monkey:[/SIZE]
Hi there, I was out of town when Al died. I was a classmate of his and until recently, I was in charge of our class directories and locating classmates. I was once a big race fan way back when. I didn’t realize that Al owned Billy Hancock’s car.

Let me know how and where. I was known as Monkey all my life and raised in Pinellas Park and still go by Monkey.

If you are still taking donations, I would like to contribute. Just let me know how and where.

Thanks for doing this for him and giving us, his friends, a way of saying good-bye.


[SIZE=“4”]Thanks again everyone!

Jim Fenton[/SIZE]


Oh my goodness, you are all so kind. Thank you for your helping and great advice. I’m waiting to find out what funeral home they are going through but I don’t want to bother the family right now. That will probably be the best resource. Thank you! :sport009:

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