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JIMMY "Dalbert" WILLINGHAM


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JIMMY "Dalbert" WILLINGHAM

 

Funeral Arrangements

 

Thursday, September 18 - 5:00 - 7:00pm ... Visitation viewing of Jimmy Willingham will be held at Sunset Memorial Funeral Home, 1701 Austin Highway in San Antonio.

 

A rosary service will follow in the Sunset Memorial Chapel at 7:00pm.

 

Friday, September 19 - 10:00am ... The funeral service is scheduled at St. Gerard's Catholic Church, 1523 Iowa Street in San Antonio. The funeral service will be followed by a burial service at Holy Cross Cemetary in San Antonio.

 

"Dalbert's" Obituary was written by Melissa Ludwig - San Antonio Express-News and published on September 15.

 

This information was provided by Jimmy "Dalbert" Willingham's, family and Cotton Sherland and was posted by Neil Upchurch.

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James “Dalbert” Willingham's life revolved around cars, whether he was racing them at the old Pan American speedway or fixing them at Dalbert's Garage and Towing, the shop Willingham owned for 30 years on the Northeast Side.

 

“He was very old-school. His handshake was his word,” said niece Amy Sirizzotti-Willingham. “People relied on him.”

 

Willingham died Sunday at the age of 56 from complications related to pneumonia.

 

With no wife or kids of his own, Willingham treated everyone like family, including customers, said twin brother Joe Willingham. He would drive all night in his tow truck to help out a regular customer, and many were second- and third-generation clients.

 

“You wouldn't believe the old folks, how he would go out of his way to take care of them,” said best friend Al Padalecki. “He did things the right way.”

 

Padalecki said he and Willingham met in 1975 racing in the hobby stock class at the old Pan American Speedway on Toepperwein Road. One night, they were all sitting around in the track parking lot drinking from a keg of beer when Padalecki and his wife drove off and left one of their six children sleeping on the ground.

 

Willingham watched Padalecki's tot until his friend realized the kid was missing and came roaring back down the road in his race car.

 

“Jimmy always told that story. That's been a big laugh and it still goes on,” Padalecki said.

 

Willingham stopped racing in the late 1980s after his eyesight went bad, but still spent his weekends at the track running the wrecker service. After the Pan American Speedway closed, Willingham spent his time at the San Antonio Speedway on Highway 16.

 

When that track closed in 2007, Willingham was disappointed, family and friends said. He didn't know what to do with his weekends, other than fishing or sitting in front of the TV watching NASCAR and munching on peanuts and Pepsi.

 

On Fridays, Willingham would get together with Padalecki and a few of his brothers to drink beer and wax philosophic about life and racing.

 

“I called it the old-man committee,” said his niece, Sirizzotti-Willingham. He also loved spending time with her 2-year-old daughter, Zoey, and had talked about getting her a go-kart.

 

“She was his world,” Sirizzotti-Willingham said.

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