Celebration of life held for Carolina Panthers founder Jerry Richardson

SPARTANBURG, S.C. — A celebration of life for Carolina Panthers founder Jerry Richardson was held on Saturday in South Carolina.

Richardson died peacefully on March 2. He was 86.

The ceremony was held inside Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium at Wofford College in Spartanburg, the alma mater of Richardson.

Channel 9′s Dashawn Brown attended the service, which centered around Richardson’s legacy.

Brown said several reminders of Richardson can be seen around campus, including flags with his jersey number that has since been retired.

Amongst those in attendance were some of the Carolinas Panther’s biggest stars such as Ron Rivera, Frank Reich, Cam Newton, Steve Smith, and Greg Olson.

Each was there to honor the team’s founder, whom many called a friend.

“The lives that he impacted behind the scenes. Not just his players. Not just his employees. The people that you’ll never know. You’ll never learn their names. Sent them to college. Gave them jobs. Gave them hope. Gave them opportunities. That’s who he was,” Greg Olsen told Channel 9.

Panthers legend Thomas Davis, who spoke through tears, described Richardson as the father figure he never had.

“It’s one thing for family to speak like but you hear Thomas and Jim Gray and people that really got to know him that weren’t family,” Olsen said. “The amount of lives he touched is really the measure of someone’s legacy.”

Former Panthers player Carlton Bailey was among those in attendance from the Inagurual team.

“All of those things really mattered. And I think that history, that tradition, that legacy that he had in regards to making a difference in people’s life. That’s continued to flourish and to move on,” Bailey said.

Wofford College said they have another plan in place to honor Richardson again.

On Nov. 1, which is also All Saints Day, the college will say his name as the bell tolls in honor of his legacy.

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