Sad news to report out of SFOM land. Friend of the club and former Starting Gate Owner Dean Gubbrud passed away after an extended illness. For those of you that are newer to our gatherings, The Starting Gate, in St. Paul, is where it all began for the SFOM.
Once the original yinzers began going to The Starting Gate in the 80’s, Dean listened to their requests to broadcast the Steelers games in the bar. Back then, there was not an NFL Ticket and to get Stillers games broadcast into a bar in St. Paul, Minnesota was an expensive proposition but Dean did it.
Dean also donated prizes at halftime on his own, starting a tradition that continues to this day. This eventually lead to the annual picnic in the park which for years was a big event leading to the current Black and Gold Bash. Dean was also responsible for another great tradition: the playing of the Steelers songs! Something we all enjoy to this very day. Through Dean’s leadership and generosity along with the SFOM originals The Starting Gate quickly became a well-known spot for Steelers fans in the Twin Cities to check out the Black and Gold and get a taste of the Burgh.
Dean still kept in touch with Bob “Chooch” Pano and was even at McGovern’s as recently as a couple of seasons ago. The SFOM has grown into one of the finest Steelers fan clubs in Steelers nation with our current venue; however, it would not be the club it is today if it were not for a group of Northwest Airlines mechanics, and a former bar owner from Alcester, South Dakota with an open mind, a larger than life personality and a big heart. Rest in Peace Dean.
The SFOM donated (Gold & Yellow flowers with Black ribbon in Steelers fashion) for Dean’s funeral.