Friends and family members gathered Monday in Philadelphia to remember the great Tom Brookshier. He wasn't a native Philadelphian but he was adopted by the community during his playing days with the Eagles and subsequent broadcasting career.
Bob Ford of the Inquirer has a moving account of Monday's memorial service. You get the feeling that folks will be celebrating Brookshier's life for years to come.
"Two portraits flanked the altar yesterday, one of Brookshier in his No. 40 Eagles uniform, and the other, from later in life, in the business suit of a professional sportscaster," writes Ford. "He had those two lives here, but unlike some other local celebrities, whose offstage personalities doesn't match their onstage personas, there weren't two Brookshiers. Only one. Only Brookie."
Here's how former Eagles coach Dick Vermeil described Brookshier during the memorial service at Ardmore Presbyterian Church:
"A very unique piece of work," said Vermeil. "Bright, compassionate, empathetic, enthusiastic, humorous, impulsive, spontaneous, intense, tough, a never-ending source of encouragement, and a man of great integrity."
Most football fans under the age of 35 sort of assume that Pat Summerall and John Madden were always together in the broadcast booth. But those of us who started watching the NFL during the 70s know better. You never knew what might come out of Brookshier's mouth, but Summerall was there to gently rein his pal in if necessary. They were a great team -- and that's why Summerall was at the microphone again Monday.