Article Category: Funereal Friday

The “Bear”

Posted Friday, Jan 08

Southern Calls Vol. 3, March 2014

After the 1982 season, Paul William “Bear” Bryant, 69, announced his decision to retire, stating, “This is my school, my alma mater. I love it and I love my players. But in my opinion, they deserved better coaching than they have been getting from me this year.” After the last game of his career, a 21-15 victory over the University of Illinois in the Liberty Bowl, Bryant was asked what he planned to do now that he was retired. He replied, “Probably croak in a week.” 

His reply proved ominous. Four weeks after making that comment, and just one day after passing a routine medical checkup, Bryant checked into Druid City Hospital in Tuscaloosa after experiencing chest pain. A day later, January 26, 1983, when being prepared for an electrocardiogram, he died after suffering a massive heart attack. On his hand at the time of his death was the only piece of jewelry he ever wore, a gold ring inscribed “Junction Boys.”

A moment of silence was held prior to Super Bowl XVII, played four days after Bryant’s passing. A month after his death, Bryant was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, by President Ronald Reagan. 

He is interred at Birmingham’s Elmwood Cemetery.

Subscribe today, or order any of our highly collectible issues online in our Shop

***

Check back every Friday for another nugget of funereal miscellany!

Other Recent Articles

The Charleston Nine

The Charleston Nine

Southern Mourning | from Southern Calls Issue 16, September 2017 (Opening Image: June 22, 2007 – Charleston 9 Firefighters ServicePresident, Mike McDaniel,1999-00 (head), President Thomas E. Baker II, 2007-08 (foot) Photographer – We are very appreciative to SCFDA...

read more
Man O’ War’s Funeral

Man O’ War’s Funeral

Southern Mourning | from Southern Calls Issue 9, September 2015 (Opening Image: As visitors look on, legendary thoroughbred Man O’ War lies in state in a casket lined with his racing colors at owner Samuel Riddle’s Faraway Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, Nov. 3, 1947....

read more
The Art of Undertaking

The Art of Undertaking

Here are three powerful images that I believe capture the essence of our beloved Profession - Mike Squires ABOVE: The Recessional | Mac Brown, Photography “Red clay fills the hole left in our hearts. Only flowers remain as guardians of the grave, until they too wither...

read more
“Being There” | Robert Clint Walker

“Being There” | Robert Clint Walker

The alarm of the cellphone balanced on the dash rouses Clint Walker from an uncomfortable sleep. Brushing away empty coffee cups and food wrappers, Clint unfolds himself out of the pickup truck and zips his camouflage jacket against the icy wind blowing across the...

read more

Join Our Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter to periodically receive article updates, industry news, and details about new issues before they are released.

The Magazine