#By BRENT STUBBS
#Senior Sports Reporter
#THE family and friends of the late Alfie ‘Spy’ Bethel will remember him as a caring and loving person who gave himself unselfishly to helping so many others.
#Bethel, a former versatile track and field and softball/baseball player, passed away on Wednesday after the car he was driving swung to the side of the road on Cowpen Road in what appeared to have been an apparent heart attack.
#While condolences poured in person, phone calls and through social media, Bethel’s wife Theresa said she and her family appreciate all of the moral support they have received so far.
#“He was a happy, go lucky person. He’s always fun to be around. Sometimes I think he joked too much,” said Bethel, who was married to her husband since 2000. “But he was also very stern on education. “He wanted his children to get the best education. He was very stern on that. His last two girls are in UB (University of the Bahamas), one is an education major and the other is a bio-chemistry major. Unfortunately, he won’t get to see them graduate. But that was his dream to see them do very well.”
#As a former sprinter turned decathlete, who represented the Bahamas at the CARIFTA Games and the Junior Central American and Caribbean Championships, Bethel also played softball and baseball and was a physical education teacher at the CW Sawyer Primary School.
#The 54-year-old Bethel, survived by his parents Jacqueline Bethel and Philip Bowleg, leaves behind five siblings Philippa, Philip Jr and Sharfi Bowleg, Vinco Bethel and Jamal Johnson and children Tavarese Laroda, Taneka Bain, Alexandria Bethel-Weldon, Alfereese, Alexander and Alfanique Bethel.
#An emotional Taneka Bain said although Bethel was her stepfather, he was a person who “would never tell you no. You could always count on him for anything.”
#Alfanique Bethel, the last child, said her father helped her to become the “chef” that she is today.
#“I could remember the first time I cooked taco and wings, he said he never had taco before, but I thought he only wanted one taco and maybe three wings, but he said ‘no, I want three tacos and four wings,’” she said.
#“He came out when he was finished and he said ‘man they taste good. We could do them more often.’ He liked my food and he was my food critic. He would say this was a little too salty, but it taste good. It was just too seasoned. You don’t have to season things this much.”
#As a member of the dance group at Southland Church of God, Alfanique Bethel said she recalled one Saturday he was about 20 minutes late to get her to practice.
#Just as he approached home, she caught the bus and she remembered how he followed the bus and fussed with her when she got off for not waiting for him when she saw him coming.
#“Everybody used to ask me if I was daddy’s girl or mommy’s girl, but I told them both,” she said. “But he meant so much to me and to all of us.”
#Every Saturday, she also noted that he sorted out all of the clothes and washed them. He was a security guard in the evening and often times he would call home and instructed them to make sure they pick up the clothes whenever he knew the rain was coming.
#And every Christmas, she said he would prepare the turkey for the family meal.
#She said he had his own special way to prepare the turkey and when it was finished, everybody knew that it tasted good and he always wanted everybody to praise him on his culinary skills.
#“One night he went to pick up our mother from getting her hair done and he left me and Alferense to watch the pot and we almost burned the house down,” she said. “He was so mad when he came home.”
#Bethel-Weldom, who resides in Alabama, noted:
#“One of my fondest memories with my father Alfie Bethel, is when he would pick me up from the airport on my visits to the island. We would drive around the island until the sun went down visiting different people and having long conversations.”
#And his mother, Jacqueline Bethel, put it into perspective when she added: “Nobody knows how you feel until you lose a son especially your first born. He’ll truly be missed. I love him.”
#For Antonio Greene, he and Alfie Bethel developed a relationship from childhood that expanded to Yellow Elder Primary School and SC McPherson Junior High before they separated with Bethel going to AF Adderley and Greene to RM Bailey.
#Their paths, surprisingly, collided when they went to South Plains Community Junior College where they both competed in the decathlon.
#“He pushed me and I would push him,” said Greene, who was converted from a 400m specialist to the multiple events, while Bethel made the switch over from the sprints and the long jump. “One year we were getting ready to go to Nationals and he told the coach that we were going to finish 1-2 in the decathlon and secure 18 points for the team.
#“He always put his goals aim. He aimed high and he achieved the most of them.”
#Greene, the brother of University of Kentucky’s head coach Rolando ‘Lonnie’ Greene, said when he got the news that his long-time friend and former college room-mate had passed away, he couldn’t believe it.
#“I just spoke to him about three months ago as we were reminiscing on the past and now he’s gone,” said Greene, a former track coach in Springfield, Missouri who is recovering from stage four prostate cancer. “I was messaging people trying to find out if it was true or not. When I called Lonnie and told him about it, it hit him hard too because we all grew up in the Grove together. It was hard. He will be missed.”
#The funeral service for Bethel is tentatively being planned for September 24.