Hundreds turn out for funeral of Garrett Reid
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MARPLE, Pa. – The extended family of Andy Reid showed up in full force for the funeral of Garrett Reid, Andy’s oldest son, on Tuesday morning in Broomall.
An estimated 900-plus people filled the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Delaware County on Tuesday morning for the funeral service of 29-year-old Garrett Reid, who was found dead in his Lehigh University dorm room on Sunday morning.
“It was filled with grief and love and that’s the nature of sadness,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said.
Aside from family and close personal friends, Reid’s football family mourned the loss of Garrett on Tuesday also. The entire current Eagles football team came, mostly in large charter buses from Lehigh University, the home of Eagles training camp. Plenty of former Eagles – Donovan McNabb, Jeremiah Trotter, Brian Westbrook and plenty more – showed up to pay their respects too.
And it wasn’t just players who filled the church. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, Browns head coach Pat Shurmur, Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson and Browns president and former NFL coach Mike Holmgren were among the guests in attendance.
They were there to support Andy, Tammy and their children, but they were also there to remember the life of Garrett Reid.
“The thing I took from it was, Garrett was a friend to everybody,” said Harbaugh, an assistant coach for the Eagles under Reid for nearly a decade before becoming the Ravens' head coach. “Kids in school who were struggling a little bit, he was their friend. The guys who were picked last for the basketball team, he was their friend. He would take everybody under his wing. He has great compassion for people and that’s a trait I think he gets from Andy.”
The service, which was supposed to start at 10 a.m., didn’t begin until shortly after 11. The line of mourners stretched out from under the white canopy that covers the back entrance of the church and continued down the side of the building. The last person didn't get inside the church until 10:34. The service lasted for approximately 90 minutes and included an invocation from Garrett’s aunt, Cindy Winters, and a eulogy from Garrett’s uncle, Bart Winters.
One of Garrett’s sisters, Crosby, sang his one of his favorite hymns: “My Heavenly Father Loves Me.”
“That was beautiful,” Harbaugh said.
The Church in Broomall isn’t the Reids' church. It’s just the biggest in the area – and it needed all that space on Tuesday. The chapel holds about 350 people but the gymnasium behind it opens up and several other rooms in the building have closed-circuit TVs to watch the service.
Lurie, while leaving the church, was visibly upset while talking about Andy Reid as a person.
“I do,” Lurie said when asked if he thought Reid would be returning soon. “And the team loves this man, Andy. It’s hard to explain. As a coach and as a human. He shares his life and his love and his passion for the football team with this extended family.
“It’s so appreciated by everybody who works for him. It’s not something you can see in press conferences. It’s not something you can see after a loss or after a win. He’s just respected nationally around the National Football League, as you saw today. Everyone who works for him respects this man for what he is as a person.”
Reid, who missed Sunday and Monday practices, is expected to be on the sidelines for the Eagles’ first preseason game on Thursday (see story)
. Lurie said he would allow Reid to miss as much time as needed, but Reid wanted to be around the team.
“There [were] a lot of tears,” Lurie said, “but also a lot of joy about the best parts of [Garrett’s] life and an acknowledgement of the challenges he faced.”
Holmgren first met Reid when he was a coach at BYU in the early 1980s. They’ve remained good friends since. Reid was the first person Holmgren said he hired when he became the head coach in Green Bay in 1992.
“As you might expect, Andy prides himself on being a rock and all of us in this business have to be like that a little bit,” Holmgren said. “But when it comes to something as personal as this, his humanness and who he is comes out and that’s OK. That’s a good thing. He reacted as any other father would act.”
Holmgren remembers when he first met Garrett. He said he was “a little rambunctious guy.” One of Holmgren’s daughters babysat all of the Reid children. He also said Andy was like a son.
Holmgren said he was just happy to be there for the family in this tough time, which was the sentiment shared by most as they filed out of the church.
“It was a wonderful ceremony, a wonderful celebration of Garrett Reid’s life,” Harbaugh said. “He was a special young man who will be missed.” E-mail Dave Zangaro at firstname.lastname@example.org