Eulogy From Art Pollard’s Funeral
Courtesy of Mike & Georgia Pollard
The perils and consequences of a competitive life are not easily understood. We who know and loved Art Pollard stand in awe at his realistic approach to danger. Some of us really never understood, perhaps, but we knew that Art was a realist. We know he had faced up to the realities of reaching the final victory earlier in life. Because Art succeeded in accepting this challenge, it is for us now to draw inspiration from the rich and lasting legacy that he leaves. For he has touched our lives in many ways. “I have fought the good fight.” “I have finished the course.” “I have kept the faith.” This is Art Pollard. An affirmative thinker – A man of action! This meant for Art a rich and rewarding life. And Art’s ready smile and quick wit were outward proof of his philosophy. From the visits to troops in Vietnam to the speeches for high schools and churches all over the Nation, he carried his vital message of courage and determination. Expressions of his philosophy were numerous. Go with Art a half dozen years ago to La Rue Carter Hospital in Indianapolis to a ward for emotionally disturbed and retarded children. One visit and Art became their friend. At the invitation of Art, these children each year visited the Speedway. Even more than that, when there were no funds to send them to a summers’ day of sunshine at a day camp, Art personally provided the money. Go with him to a high school and watch the audience unite with him as he expressed his love and admiration our Nation’s youth. And he never criticized the young people. He was with them, he was their champion. Affirmative thinking was his trademark. He was an enthusiastic salesman for the sport of racing, not only to audiences numbering in the thousands, but also on a person-to-person basis with men and women of the media. A newcomer to racing faced with the responsibility of getting a story, could got Art Pollard and be informed and then come away satisfied. No matter how busy, regardless of the pressures of competition, Art would always take the time to patiently explain. Those of us who visited with Art in a hospital after a racing accident could catch his spirit – The spirit that makes recovering quicker. Here you could see and feel his determination to whip the odds and return to the course. He was the ability to the sun shining at the midnight hour. He was a student of the skill of driving and for him it was a continuing learning process. Those who watched him bicycle to various parts of the track study the techniques of other drivers, realized that he was still learning adding to his knowledge. He was sill learning adding to knowledge. For him there were no short cuts to success. Aware that victory goes to the physically keen and mentally sharp, he was a regular in his conditioning program. And he was successful in the sport he loved – – – Competing in 83 championship events, he knew the thrills of victory, he knew the disappointments of defeat, but even then, never a tear, never a word of criticism, never a regret, but always a friendly smile and the ability to translate obvious disappointment into an expression of love of the sport of racing.
Courage. This was Art, never, FLAG – never FAIL – this Art. The courage necessary to go faster than anyone else. This was Art, we can draw inspiration from him and translate his great ability to challenge the perils into our own lives. Although our courage may not be on public display like Art’s, it is still necessary. We all need that wonderful and magnificent courage of Art Pollard. And those of us who watched him, knew that his family was the central point of his competitive life.
We who gather to pay tribute are blessed to have known Art Pollard. His life has meaning to us and it is for us to forever cherish His principles and Art would want us to follow them in our daily lives. His ability to translate love into action, His courage, His determination – These are the virtues we all need: “I have fought the fight.” “I have finished course.” “I have kept the faith. With those who have put faith in me.” This is ART POLLARD.
If we did not go to sleep at night, we’d never awaken to see the light, and the joy of watching a new day break, or meeting the dawn by some quiet lake would never be ours unless we slept while GOD and all HIS Angels kept a vigil through this “LITTLE” death that’s over with the morning’s breath. And death too, is a time for sleeping, for those who die are in God ’s keeping and there’s a “Sunrise” for each Soul for life, not death, is God’s promised goal. So trust God’s promise and doubt him never for only through death can man live forever.
Helen Steiner Rice
Footnote: Tonight let us all remember our picture of the ART POLLARD we all know. Pedaling around the speedway on his bicycle – smiling and waving to all of you – HIS FRIENDS
The Carpenters were one of Art’s favorite groups in the modern era. The Carpenters – Perry Como Show 1974