Azel Wendell Grasty -- Oaktown Pirate
Oaktown Pirate passed away suddenly on October 15, 2014. It was a shock to all his friends and family. Mr. Grasty is survived by his three children, Angela, Azel, Jr. and James S. Grasty.
I grew up in Chester, Pennsylvania. My father was a chef and restaurant owner and my mother worked in a correctional facility for girls. In December of 1974, I joined the military in the delayed entry program and served in the US Army for two years as an Electronic Communications Technician. I also worked for the US Coast Guard as an Aircraft Electrician, wiring spy planes at the Naval Air Reworks Facility (NARF).
I have eleven years of experience coaching youth sports, including football, basketball and baseball. I worked my way up from coach to president of the football organization and commissioner of a youth football league.
I am not a sports fan. This is a lifestyle for me. During my younger years I was a Philadelphia Eagles fan. However, after learning how Mr. Al Davis became an entrepreneur in the sport of football, I became interested in the Oakland Raiders. This lifestyle has put me in a position where I can make children smile and people who are down and out can find a few moments of happiness when being greeted by Oaktown Pirate.
During football season and during the off-season, I participate in charity events, sports events, fundraisers, birthday parties, and other activities as the Oaktown Pirate. Some fan group activities I recently attended are Children's Hospital, Ronald McDonald House, Oakland Raiders Blood Drive, ESPN Commercial and local media interviews, Oakland Running Festival Cheering Station, Standing Against Violence Day in the Park, and other events throughout Northern California and beyond.
Remembrance -- By Ed Jay
When I first met Oaktown Pirate, I wasn't sure how he would react to someone new to the Raider Nation. In a few short seconds, I was welcomed as a family member. In the years that I saw him at charity events, tailgates and games, he was never without an infectious smile and a wink in his eye.
He loved to give joy to young children and disarmed them with his character. However, I think he received more from the kids, as they warmed his heart and made him smile! On the Sunday before he died, I made my usual trek to his seat, exchanged pre-game pleasantries and knew that all would be well and he would be swaying to the song Oaktown, during the game. We were all shocked when he died a few days later.
I attended his funeral and it was clearly evident that he was greatly loved, as the outpouring never ended. He will be dearly missed as a friend, father, mentor, companion and as Oaktown Pirate.