Bills players, employees, fans say goodbye to Ralph Wilson
On Saturday, the Bills held a public remembrance for former team owner Ralph Wilson.
A little less than two weeks ago, Bills owner Ralph Wilson died at the age of 95. On Saturday, his life was remembered in Orchard Park, N.Y., as a public remembrance celebrated his life, his ownership and his NFL importance.
Among those in attendance, according to the Associated Press, were former and current players, team officials and employees, and thousands of fans.
"The Bills are more than just a football team. They're family," Matt Guarino, a 20-year season-ticket holder, told the AP. "So we came to pay our respects just like we would any friend and any family member."
More from the AP:
The mood on Saturday was festive. Under grey cloudy skies and with a cold brisk wind blowing off nearby Lake Erie, a long line of fans snaked into the parking lot once the doors opened. Many wore team jerseys and posed for pictures in front of the Wilson memorabilia.
The displays circled the fieldhouse, and featured many significant moments of Wilson's life: From childhood pictures to the medals he earned serving in the Navy during World War II, and photos of Wilson with his fellow American Football League founding owners. ... In the middle of the field, the Bills recreated the layout of Wilson's office. There was a team helmet on the coffee table, press releases on his desk, as well as a picture of him and his wife Mary.
And Mary Wilson was on hand. Standing near a guestbook area, she greeted fans, shared stories, signed autographs and posed for pictures.
Last week, it was announced that Mary Wilson had taken over as the controlling owner while she and the rest of the ownership group can ready the team for sale.
This, then, was the fans' chance to say goodbye to Wilson and his family as the team owners.
Here are a few images from the Bills official Twitter account.
Members of the Navy stand guard by an eternal flame. Mr. Wilson was a WWII vet who served in the Atlantic and Pacific pic.twitter.com/UZG6ZwobXy— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) April 5, 2014
Among many unique items displayed today: a setup of Ralph Wilson's office, complete with his glasses. pic.twitter.com/3dhV0NSPVn— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) April 5, 2014
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