ELY – Renee Lassi was more than a baseball mom. Some say she lived at Veterans Memorial Field here for many summers while she managed the concession stand.The Ely baseball community meant so …
ELY – Renee Lassi was more than a baseball mom. Some say she lived at Veterans Memorial Field here for many summers while she managed the concession stand.
The Ely baseball community meant so much to Renee that it was only fitting for her family to hold a special tribute to her for friends and fans last Thursday night on the field at Veterans Memorial Field.
With her famous pulled pork sandwiches on the menu and her name in lights on the scoreboard, her extended family gathered at the pitcher’s mound and all who knew her filled the grandstand to celebrate the life of Renee Lassi.
Lassi, a 1969 Ely High School graduate, died last October, and with public health restrictions in place due to COVID-19, her family made the decision to wait until a proper memorial service could be held under safer conditions.
The time was right last Thursday in between Junior and Senior Legion baseball games. The ISD 696 athletic director, Tom Coombe, listed off many titles for Renee, including concession stand manager, ball park mom, Ely supporter and ambassador, even wedding coordinator (she helped to plan the first baseball field wedding at the Ely venue) as he spoke about the impact Renee made on so many people.
Her son, Ely school teacher and coach Cory Lassi, said he could think of no better place to honor Renee than at the ball park. “During the summer months, if you wanted to find my mom, your best bet was to check the concession at the ball field,” he said. “She spent countless hours each summer, slinging burgers, stocking the fridge, painting, being a second mom to so many of the young men that walked through that gate.”
Fans gathered at the ball park and reminisced about Renee, signed a memory book, and laughed and cried as they enjoyed a large poster of photographs.
And they ate pulled pork sandwiches. Lots of them. Jessi Leeson and Amy Kromer helped serve in the concession stand. “We are on our second batch already,” Leeson she said as she assembled a couple of sandwiches. “We started out with 45 pounds and we will run out soon.”
Coombe, also the Ely Legion team coach, said, “Our ball park’s concession stand is the best anywhere and that’s all thanks to Renee. She grew that stand from a place for just a hot dog and soda, to a place where anyone could get a full meal.”
A scholarship fund in Renee’s name was recently established by her family. Two dollars from every pulled pork sandwich and every serving of pulled pork nachos was donated toward the fund. Many people just added dollar bills to a donation jug.
“Without a doubt, my mom woke up every morning wanting to make a difference in the lives of others, especially the students of Ely Memorial High School. We wanted to make sure that we carry on her legacy in providing opportunities for the students at EHS,” Cory Lassi said.
In between the baseball games, Renee’s family gathered at the pitcher’s mound and a short ceremony was conducted. Ceremonial first pitches by Renee’s grandsons, Colton and Clark Lassi, were thrown in her honor, as her two granddaughters, Morgan and Harper, and the rest of the family hugged each other and fought back tears
“This baseball program was so special to her for many reasons, but certainly at the top of the list is because of the relationships that she made with so many people,” Cory Lassi added.
According to Coombe, the Ely Baseball Association is looking into permanently honoring Renee with a plaque that would be placed at the Veterans Memorial Field concession stand.