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Lombardi family disputes account of neglected grave site

pg2_lombardi_275 AP

Though the lockout has us focusing on news items that we otherwise would ignore, anything relating to one of the greatest coaches in NFL history will always get our attention.

In late May, a report surfaced regarding man who takes care of Vince Lombardi’s grave in New Jersey.  Lombardi’s former secretary, Lori Keck, had visited the site, and she found Gary Martin, a local Jets fan, tending to the tombstone and surrounding vegetation.

“I was absolutely amazed that no one [had been] taking care of the gravesite,” Keck told Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.  “I don’t want to create any problems here, but I’m very surprised that the family wasn’t doing it.  He’s an icon and the Super Bowl trophy is named after him.  Somebody ought to be taking care of that gravesite.”

Said Martin, “The grave was in total disarray.  You couldn’t even read his name.  It was totally overgrown.  It took a lot of work.  You can’t believe the work it takes.”

The Lombardi family, which initially contacted the Press-Gazette to contend that the local Knights of Columbus chapter has been tending to the site, formally has responded in a letter published on Friday by the Press-Gazette, via NFL.com.  Though the letter arguably tries to dismiss the comments from Keck and Martin by characterizing the report as an “opinion piece,” opinions rooted in fact of the persons interviewed for a news story don’t convert a piece of hard news into the opinions of the writer.  (That said, the hard news would have been more complete if, as the letter from the Lombardi family suggests, the original article had sought comment from the family or from the management of the cemetery where the grave is located.)

The letter from the Lombardi family thanks Martin for his efforts, even though the letter sharply contradicts his description of the grave site at the time he started to take care of it.

Lombardi’s grandson, Joe, currently serves as the quarterbacks coach of the New Orleans Saints.

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24 Responses to “Lombardi family disputes account of neglected grave site”
  1. cylondetector says: Jun 11, 2011 4:13 PM

    If Lombardi knew about this he’d roll over in his overgrown grave

  2. smacklayer says: Jun 11, 2011 4:24 PM

    For the love God the NFL should be taking care of this. How much can it cost to pay someone to go there once a week and clean it up – a few hundred bucks a month tops? Very shameful. You name the most significant trophy in world sports after the man and can’t even hire a gardner to clean up the weeds at his grave site. This kind of sh*t bothers me more than the billions of dollars they are currently fighting over.

  3. bcjim says: Jun 11, 2011 4:39 PM

    Unless it is on Lombardi family property it’s not their job. Anyway, someone needs to go reread Gray’s ” Elegy written in a country church yard”..get some perspective.

  4. hobartbaker says: Jun 11, 2011 4:40 PM

    Now that the Lombardi family knows where the grave is located, perhaps they can take some measures to ensure it’s upkeep.

  5. stairwayto7 says: Jun 11, 2011 5:15 PM

    If Lombardi loved the Packers why isn’t he buried in Green Bay? I blame this on Packer fan for not doing the upkeep on his grave!

  6. Patriot42 says: Jun 11, 2011 5:34 PM

    All of you critics might want to take a look at your relatives graves before you throw stones.

  7. woodyg says: Jun 11, 2011 5:47 PM

    This dude “Martin” seems to have finally figured out how to get his ’15 minutes of fame’ ….. Tending to Lombardi’s gravesight ……

    “It took a lot of work. You can’t believe the work it takes.” ……

    Gimme a break ….. The site’s in Jersey, not a tropical rain forest …..

  8. browns4ever says: Jun 11, 2011 6:12 PM

    When you buy graves, you also purchase including what is known as “Perpetual Care”, which is the Cemetery’s responsiblility to cut grass maintain marker/headstone. One can also plant a shrub, or spread much around the marker as long as it does not impeade the ability of the work crews to do their job. The Perpetual Care carries on even after the remaining family are not with us anymore. The Cemetery my parents are in have early settlers as well as Veterans from the Revolutionary War & every conflict, police action, in the history of the USA.

  9. browns4ever says: Jun 11, 2011 6:12 PM

    When you buy graves, you also purchase including what is known as “Perpetual Care”, which is the Cemetery’s responsiblility to cut grass maintain marker/headstone. One can also plant a shrub, or spread much around the marker as long as it does not impeade the ability of the work crews to do their job. The Perpetual Care carries on even after the remaining family are not with us anymore. The Cemetery my parents are in have early settlers as well as Veterans from the Revolutionary War & every conflict, police action, in the history of the USA.

  10. whatsafairway says: Jun 11, 2011 6:21 PM

    “Grave maintenance is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t maintain my grave once in a while; you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all the time. Grave maintenance is a habit. Unfortunately, so is lazy.”

    “There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my grave, and that’s first place. I have finished second twice in my time at Green Bay, and I don’t ever want to finish second again. There is a second place bowl game, but it is a game for losers played by losers. It is and always has been an American zeal to be first in anything we do, and to maintain that grave, and to win, and to win.”

    “And in truth, I’ve never known a man worth his salt who in the long run, deep down in his heart, didn’t appreciate the grind, the discipline. There is something in good men that really yearns for discipline and the harsh reality of pulling weeds.”

    “I don’t say these things because I believe in the “brute” nature of man or that men must be brutalized to maintain a grave. I believe in God, and I believe in human decency. But I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the human lawn — victorious.”

    - V. Lombardi

  11. commandercornpone says: Jun 11, 2011 7:24 PM

    cremation. that’s the way to go.

  12. hobartbaker says: Jun 11, 2011 7:30 PM

    “I don’t give a fiddler’s fart about grass growing on my grave, just do something about these goddamn worms!”

    - V. Lombardi

  13. stellarperformance says: Jun 11, 2011 7:35 PM

    stairwayto7 says: Jun 11, 2011 5:15 PM
    If Lombardi loved the Packers why isn’t he buried in Green Bay? I blame this on Packer fan for not doing the upkeep on his grave!
    —————————————————————

    You would.

  14. goombar2 says: Jun 11, 2011 7:36 PM

    This is stupid. This guy, this hero of Vince’s grave, is so full of it. The grave was taken care of by the family and the cemetery.

    Vandy (their sports editor mind you), as the locals call him, is about the laziest journalist ever! Get this, the AP picks sports writers from the local papers to represent teams in All-pro balloting and other awards…

    Well, they value the Green Bay Press Gazette so much under Vandy’s leadership they go to the Milwaukee Sentinel and give them the vote. Distance wise, it would be like giving Baltimore reporters those rights to judge NY teams. It’s an embarrassment.

    Anyway, turns out Vandy did no research… You know, like call the cemetery or the Lombardi Family. Anyone smell lawsuit?

    Maybe with the Lombardi’s running the GB paper things will get better… Can’t get much worse!

  15. lynnko says: Jun 11, 2011 8:37 PM

    Nice try Mike, but we know the first tenet of liberalism is that the people are too stupid to make their own decisions. They have to be told what to do and to think. Therefore, all communications require the people to be told what this means.
    Stop it! I am smart enough to figure things out for myself. When I want to engage other perspectives I look to the opinion pages or programming. Thank you

  16. dempsey63 says: Jun 12, 2011 12:09 AM

    “WHAT THE HELL IS GOIN’ ON UP THERE!”

  17. nahcouldntbethat says: Jun 12, 2011 12:14 AM

    Who cares?

    The man’s dead. He was a great coach and that’s what we remember of him.

    If his family chooses not to revere his grave site that’s their business. He certainly doesn’t care one way or the other.

    Trivia question: how many people here know where their great-great-great grandfather is buried? I’ll bet you that 955 don’t. More importantly the odds are fairly good that his grave site is in worse condition than Vince Lombardi’s.

  18. nahcouldntbethat says: Jun 12, 2011 12:14 AM

    95% that is.

  19. indywilson40 says: Jun 12, 2011 12:45 AM

    the sinners that failed to take care of his grave should be required to drink from a boot at the essen haus in madison, wi.

  20. randysavage4ever says: Jun 12, 2011 1:31 AM

    i apologize that i am even stooping to this level to post on this article.

    i dont think any of us should be commenting on this issue, it is between the family.

  21. philyeagles5 says: Jun 12, 2011 10:43 AM

    who cares. its not like he was a war hero something the sad thing is is he is more recognized than a war hero.

  22. backindasaddle says: Jun 12, 2011 11:30 AM

    The cemetery management should be responsible for basis upkeep and preventing it from getting overgrown. People die and life moves on. If the family, or any particular member of the family, wishes to be more attentive to the grave then that’s their prerogative. It should not, however, be considered as some sort mandatory moral requirement for the family to perpetually dote over the grave. If a family member wishes to…fine. If not…that’s fine too. We all move on with life because we have to.

  23. danimalk82 says: Jun 12, 2011 3:29 PM

    dempsey63 says: Jun 12, 2011 12:09 AM

    “WHAT THE HELL IS GOIN’ ON UP THERE!”

    Absolutely Hilarious. Bravo Dempsey, Bravo.

  24. packerbacker12 says: Jun 12, 2011 3:47 PM

    If Vince Lombardi was buried in Green Bay, I guarantee regular visitors will come and take care of his grave site to keep it nice and clean.

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