The next call, a few minutes later, came from Bruce Welch's wife, Carol. Amason told her about the rented television, bed, and wheelchair. Carol broke down and cried.
She told Amason that the family had met and decided the acrimony between Wilbur and his late brother was still too strong. They decided not to tell him that his brother had died without the means for a decent burial. The two women talked about sending the body back to Utah and decided that would be too expensive. Carol said the family didn't have much money to spare, but wanted to come out to California and see what could be done. Amason told her the cost of a funeral in California would be about $4,500.
"They want to do the right thing," Amason told me. "They are going to all try and chip in."
Through one letter found stuffed in a plastic bag, two dedicated public servants have come within throwing distance of giving a lonely old ballplayer a decent end. Amason and Larson have done their part. It's time for others to take up the slack.
SF Weekly will donate $300 toward an Al Wright funeral. And over the next few days, I'm going to be calling the front offices of the Giants and the Oakland A's, and anyone else I think appropriate, to see what they can do to help, and what they are made of. I'll let you know what kind of stuff it is.