Our View: You decide what counts in the end | TheUnion.com

Our View: You decide what counts in the end

In the course of 24 hours, a Hall of Fame baseball player and one of America’s most inspirational women passed away.

Kirby Puckett was 45 when he died Monday after a stroke knocked him unconscious the previous day. Dana Reeve was 44 when she lost her brief battle with lung cancer on Monday night.

One day they were young and vital; the next day they became memories for countless people.

Puckett led the Minnesota Twins to a pair of World Series titles and was the most revered figure in Minnesota before he was forced to retire in 1996 after losing his sight in one eye. In addition to numerous statistical accomplishments, Puckett was the most popular player in baseball at the time and considered the consummate team leader.

“He was the only player in the history of baseball that everybody loved,” said Ozzie Guillen, the manager of the world champion Chicago White Sox and a former opponent of Puckett’s.

Reeve became known to the public after her husband, Christopher Reeve, became the world’s most famous quadriplegic just three years after they were married in 1991. In the nine years following her husband’s horse-riding accident, Dana was his constant companion and a tireless advocate for a cure for spinal cord injuries. Christopher Reeve’s own brave battle ended on Oct. 11, 2004. He was 52.

“She was vibrant. She was stylish. She was tough,” said movie star Paul Newman. “She was caring, and she will be sorely missed.”

While good people die far too young every day, the deaths of these two popular public figures should serve as a reminder that our health can fail us at any time.

In the end, we will be judged by our contributions and by those whose lives we have touched in a positive manner. On that scale, Kirby Puckett and Dana Reeve lived remarkable lives and as a result will be missed all the more.

How will you be remembered?

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