Biddeford Tigers Unveil Fenway-Style Memorial to Beloved Community Member & Fan
If you went to school in Biddeford at any time over the past 50 years or so, you knew you could always count on Desi to be there to cheer you on. Always.
I graduated from Biddeford High School in 2009, and I honestly can't remember a single game or major event that didn't feature Robert "Desi" Desjardins, front and center, cheering on his Tigers. Football games, basketball games, hockey games... even at Senior skits night during Homecoming week - Desi was always there. He was just as much a part of our school as the bleachers or the desks. We all loved him.
Desi passed away in September after a battle with cancer. The Portland Press Herald ran a featured story when he died, revealing that he kept thousands of clippings in more than 200 scrapbooks that spanned more than a half-century. His last words, to two close friends, were "I didn't get to finish my scrapbook."
Even at the end, Desi was Biddeford's biggest fan.
This week, Biddeford came together to return the favor. In a Fenway Park-style tribute, one of the hundreds of black seats in the high school's Tiger Gymnasium will now be orange. Like Ted Williams's lone red seat 502 feet out in right field, Desi's orange seat will always be a reminder of the dedication and passion that he had for all of Biddeford's athletes and his community. Watch the dedication ceremony here.
Robert Desjardins never married, and he didn't have any surviving relatives at the time of his passing. His collection of scrapbooks and Biddeford High School yearbooks - which he bought every year - will be donated to the school.
His obituary closes with these words: “He is survived by all of the former and current Biddeford Tiger students and families whom he tirelessly supported."