Teammates say goodbye to N.A. on field

Naughton Padgett wanted to be remembered at the place he enjoyed so much: the softball field.

On Saturday, his family, friends and teammates from the Speed Limit 55 softball team gathered at the softball field at Diamond Lakes Regional Park for his memorial service.

"This is what he wanted. One of his loves was softball and this team," said Terry Leiden, the team's coach. "He played with us for many years, and he was always a great person to have around."

Mr. Padgett, also known as N.A., died June 2 at the age of 80.

What he will be most remembered for is standing on his head before games, Mr. Leiden said.

"If you saw someone standing on their head before the game, you knew it was N.A. He would be in the outfield on his head with a glove hanging from his foot," he said. "Even when he was 77 years old, he was able to do that with no problem. He was an amazingly strong man with a great sense of humor."

Mr. Padgett's sense of humor made the game fun for the team, whose members are 55 and older, said teammate Bill Patterson.

"He loved to cut up. He kept those games interesting," he said. "When you get to our age, you can't take softball too seriously. Cutting up was his way of reminding us that we play the game to have fun in addition to winning."

During the memorial service, red roses were placed in a glove at home plate, and those who attended signed a softball rather than a guest book.

Robert Lane, another teammate, had played softball with Mr. Padgett since they were children.

"We've played together for years. As children, we played together at different parks in Augusta," he said. "Then when we got older, we joined (Speed Limit 55) and played together again. He was a great guy. He was always there to play ball, and I'm going to miss that."

In addition, Mr. Padgett was active outside of softball.

He had served as a Navy SEAL, was a representative for Mothers Against Drunk Driving for 22 years and served as a poll manager for elections for 30 years.

Survivors include his wife of 58 years, Katie Padgett; sons Randy, Robert and Ronald; three grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

Mr. Leiden said that he looks forward to playing softball again with Mr. Padgett.

"I know one day, at another time in another place, we will play ball again," he said. "Until then, he will be greatly missed."

Reach Nikasha Dicks at (706) 823-3336 or nikasha.dicks@augustachronicle.com.

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