“He fought hard until the end, stayed positive, thought only of others and constantly reminded everyone of how blessed his life had been,” Paterno’s family said in a statement. “His ambitions were far reaching, but he never believed he had to leave this Happy Valley to achieve them. He was a man devoted to his family, his university, his players and his community.”
I bleed blue and white by marriage. From my first game at Penn State with my then boyfriend, now husband, I was hooked. The crowds were unbelievable, the excitement palpable, the love and adoration of Joe Paterno heartfelt. I can’t count how many games I went to over the last 11 years. Each fall was taken up by countless weekends in the long trek out to Happy Valley. Only this past year did we give up our season tickets, recognizing that it was getting harder for us to make all of the games.
No matter how you feel about what happened last fall and his subsequent ouster by the Penn State Board of Trustees, Joe Paterno was the embodiment of humility, class, and integrity. He gave money not to build a new stadium but to the library. He lived and breathed Penn State and no doubt a part of him died the day he was fired. His family was and is Penn State and his legacy will live on long after all of us.
God gave Joe Paterno one last white out. May he rest in peace.