EULESS, Texas?Hundreds of people, including dozens of representatives from Dallas’ professional sports teams, crowded into First Baptist Church of Euless on Tuesday afternoon to honor the life and legacy of longtime Dallas Cowboys chaplain John Weber.
Weber, 59, a deacon at FBC Euless, served as the Cowboys team chaplain for more than two decades. He died Nov. 1 in Dallas following a heart attack, and he was remembered by his family, friends and those he served as a gentle man with an eternal mission.
“John was a chaplain, a deacon, a staff member for Athletes in Action, a father, husband and grandfather,” said FBC Euless Senior Pastor John Meador. “We are all here because we’ve been touched by John. We will never be the same.”
The two-hour service included current and former Dallas Cowboys players and legendary football broadcaster Pat Summerall, who called Weber his best friend.
“God must have been very proud last Thursday when John came to take his seat in heaven next to Him, because He never made one better than John,” Summerall said.
In addition to working with the Cowboys through five head coaches, Weber also served the local Arena Football League team, the Dallas Desperados, the Major League Baseball Texas Rangers and local businesses in the Dallas area.
He also taught a Sunday School class at his FBC Euless, touching and encouraging everybody he met.
“I don’t think you realize what greatness you have in front of you before he’s gone,” said Cowboys All-Pro defensive lineman Greg Ellis. “I don’t think you’ll know how important John was to the world we live in.”
Weber, working under the Athletes in Action pro sports ministry umbrella, conducted weekly Saturday chapel services for the Cowboys during the NFL season, but also counseled the players, coaches and team personnel on a regular basis, interacting with the millionaire superstars and the lowest-paid team employees.
On a cool, sunny Tuesday the nearby team complex was nearly empty as they all came to pay tribute to Weber and his unique ministry in the life of one of sport’s highest-profile franchises.
At one point during the service, one speaker asked every professional athlete impacted by Weber’s ministry to stand, and the large auditorium was filled by players of all sports standing in silent tribute.
One of those who came to thank Weber for his service and eternal impact was Dallas starting quarterback Tony Romo.
The Cowboys latest multi-millionaire star sat alone on a back pew as a tribute to his friend and spiritual example.
“He was never judgmental, he just made people feel good and that’s rare in this world today,” Romo said.
Ellis is entering into his 10th year with the Cowboys, but said Weber treated everyone he came into contact with the same.
“He was a man of integrity?he treated all men the same from a rookie to a 10-year veteran. He said in one of his last chapels, we should all be of good cheer and that’s what we’re doing today,” Ellis said.
While stressing he was not a trained preacher, “just” a Christian, Ellis continued the theme many brought up which urged those in attendance to have the same spiritual salvation certainty that Weber had.
“I just know that Christ is on one side and man is on the other, and there is a gulf in between with Jesus as the bridge,” Ellis said. “Make sure that your eggs are in the right basket. To me, Jesus Christ is the real stuff.”
Ellis also made an emotional presentation of an actual game ball used by the Cowboys in their Sunday night win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
“This ball has a small X on it which means it’s the real deal. The ball is worn and has battle scars on it, but it serves its purpose just like John.”
He made the first presentation of the ball in the Cowboys locker room after Sunday’s victory over the Eagles, and also presented it to Weber’s wife, Carol, at the funeral on Tuesday.
Jimmy Draper, a former FBC Euless pastor and Southern Baptist Convention president, compared the work of John Weber to another famous John in the Bible.
“Two-thousand years ago, John the Baptist came to testify to the light of Jesus. Now 59 years later another John (Weber) came to testify for the Savior.”
“Who is going to be saved through this service and John’s life and example? Who is going to get serious for God through seeing John? Will it be you?” Draper asked.
Summerall closed the service, which included a video tribute, by reading a poem titled, “Leaving a Legacy,” written by Weber this summer, which concluded by saying, “When the end comes, only one thing really matters and escapes the grave ? only a good name matters.’
“Nobody ever had a better name than John Weber, and that’s better than silver or gold,” Summerall said.