Remembering The Life Of Bills Owner Ralph Wilson
More than 50 years ago he made a $25,000 investment into what was then known as the “Foolish Club”. but in less than 10 years that investment into the upstart American Football League turned into an NFL franchise we know now as the Buffalo Bills. On Saturday Bills fans by the thousands turned out to honor and celebrate the life of team owner Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.
Hundreds of photos and memorabilia were on display in the Bills field house next to the stadium that bears his name. His Pro Football Hall of Fame bust, yellow induction jacket, even the furniture from his Detroit office; his desk and chair, briefcase and leather couches were among the items fans were able to see.
Ralph’s widow Mary attended the event, met with many of the fans and thru the Bills issued a statement that read in part:
“I want to take this opportunity to thank Bills fans and people everywhere for their tremendous outpouring of love for Ralph. Their heartfelt condolences and warm wishes have truly been a comfort for me, Ralph’s daughters and the entire Wilson family.”
“Ralph loved his life, he loved his Buffalo Bills and he loved the fans. Before he passed, he told me that he wanted people to celebrate his life after he was gone. He wasn’t big on tears. And so that’s why we are referring to events such as the one today as “celebrating” the life of Ralph Wilson….He would have been profoundly touched by the fans outpouring of emotion.”
Ralph Wilson's Pro Football Hall of Fame bust, yellow induction jacket and portrait
Cards and placards left by fans
Ralph Wilson's office furniture
Ralph Wilson's desk
NFL Wilson football in the shape of a Bison
Van Miller interviewing Ralph Wilson circa 1960's
Ralph Wilson's stadium Wall of Fame jacket
1960's team photos
Ralph Wilson celebration displays
Fans left their thoughts in guest books at the end of the tribute