Community mourns loss of Al Dantes Jr.

It might seem like those who work in the news business would become desensitized to the awful things that happen in the world.

After all, we see it and report on it every day, right?

But nothing could be farther from the truth.

In fact, we understand all too well that death, especially a sudden death, leaves a hole in the lives of that person’s family, friends and community.

And at no time do we understand that more clearly than when that person lived and worked in our community.

Such is the case with Allan “Al” Dantes Jr., who left behind six daughters.

He died when a semi plowed into the Holiday gas station in L’Anse where Al was getting gas.

Senseless, tragic, frustrating … no words can really describe how the feeling of losing someone so suddenly.

Especially someone like Al.

By all accounts, he was an accomplished rally race driver and a just plain stand-up guy. According to his obituary, Al’s motto, “Do it for the kids,” shined through in his volunteer work.

He helped to start the first L’Anse High School robotics team, and he coached — as a volunteer of course — baseball at the high school.

Al also started a chapter of dads of great students, known as the Watch D.O.G.S.

The organization has two primary goals, to provide positive male role models for students who demonstrate the importance of education and have an extra set of eyes and ears in the school to enhance security and reduce bullying.

As far as we can tell, those goals fit right in with what Al stood for.

Al was also a member of the L’Anse School Board.

It seems he worked tirelessly to make life in Baraga County better, with accomplishments and activities too numerous to list here.

He was also known in the rally race circuit where he was a member of the Tower City Race Team. Al was known for his passion for rally. He would drive his #50 RX-7 Rally Car, which he named Rexine, to the limit at rallies across the country.

But his one true love, his passion, was his family.

A Go Fund Me for Al’s six daughters had raised almost $130,000 as of Friday, if anything could measure a community’s support, we suppose that does.

We suspect there is more pain ahead, and our hearts go out to all involved.

Especially Al’s family.

In the end the community is rallying around Al’s loved ones as he rallied for his community. It seems only fitting.


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