MARSHALL, Ill. (WTHI) - Every coach and athlete need that special spark on the team.
"He's the best manager I ever had and will ever have," Tom Brannan said.
For the city of Marshall, Illinois, that spark has become a powerful memory. Harold Dominick Jr. ignited team spirit like no else. He had special needs, but everyone knew, he loved his sports.
It started more than 25 years ago with Brannan's basketball team at Marshall High school. Dominick was his team manager.
"I asked who this guy was coming to all the games, and they introduced me to Harold. so I went down and talked to him. It was like talking to a friend already," Brannan said.
Soon, Dominick began showing up all over the district for every high school sport possible. His purpose was to support. He became known as "Mr. Marshall" around town.
He loved to sing the national anthem at games. He even dabbled in other methods to boost the team.
"Like the cheerleader move where he just jumped as high as he could. touch his toes. didn't ever work out really good. i don't think he ever reached his toes," Kassidy Evans said.
Athletes like Evans and Joey O'rourke said his heart was pure, and his spirit was infectious.
"Everybody in Marshall probably has a Harold story of some kind. You just haven't heard it and they just don't know it," O'Rourke said.
However, recently that spirit made a transition. Dominick passed away due to medical complications. He was 51.
"It definitely like hit home and it made me really upset, but I'm happy to know that he's happy now and he's comfortable and he feels better," Evans said.
Dominick's death has been hard for several including coach Brannan's son, Kobe.
"I'd pick him up and we'd cruise around and we'd listen to the Neil Diamond song, Sweet Caroline. We'd turn that up, loud as possible and crank down the windows and start singing as loud as we could," Kobe Brannan said.
The two were very close. When he heard the news, the memories flooded back.
"So on my way home, I kind of turned that song on and kind of lost it guess you could say in the car ride back," Brannan said.
Those memories will stay with the city of Marshall and far beyond.
"He's probably filling water bottles for heaven's starting five and getting ready to sing the national anthem at the next big game up there," Tom Brannan said.
"Harold was the most special man. that you would ever meet. Kind-hearted, loved everybody, and he was your biggest fan, and he turned you into his biggest fan," O'Rourke said.
Visitation from Harold Dominick will be Saturday at 10:00 central time, with a funeral to follow at 2 pm. They'll both take place at Pearce Funeral Home in Marshall, Illinois.
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