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Lombardi family: We never abandoned Vince's gravesite

7:19 AM, Jun. 10, 2011  |  Comments

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We are writing to express our concern regarding a sports column about Gary Martin and the maintenance of the final resting place of Vince Lombardi (Green Bay Press-Gazette, B-1, "Jets fan maintains Vince's gravesite," May 26).

That opinion piece left the strong impression that the Lombardi family somehow had simply abandoned the cemetery plot, leaving its maintenance to a well-meaning stranger. Other media outlets, including the New York Post, The Star-Ledger in New Jersey, the Chicago Sun-Times and Deadspin.com, picked up the item and in some instances expanded on that theme. One blog that picked up the column flat out stated that former Green Bay Packers Coach Lombardi never should have had children.

Unfortunately, as set forth in the second piece on the gravesite (Press-Gazette B-1 story, "Site might have multiple caretakers," May 27), the implication that we had abandoned coach Lombardi's gravesite was repeated; and that simply is false. This article correctly noted, however, that the local Knights of Columbus had been tending to the site since the mid-1970s, which the family knew and appreciated very much. We would like to thank the paper for writing the follow-up article to correct the record. Unfortunately, the other media outlets that ran the May 26 column did not pick up the subsequent story; as usually is the case, any follow-up article designed to correct the initial reporting fails to garner as much attention.

A representative from the Mount Olivet Cemetery contacted us and expressed his exasperation over the initial column (he was not aware of the follow-up article) and assured us that he has never observed the gravesite in any state of disrepair during his 37 years on the staff.

A simple phone call to us, or someone associated with the cemetery, would have saved our family no small amount of agitation. This original assertion that the gravesite was somehow abandoned simply was incorrect and could have been avoided with a bit of investigation.

We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to Gary Martin. While we were unaware of his efforts, we are indebted to him. We would like to also thank the Knights of Columbus for all they have done throughout the years.

Finally, we are grateful for football fans everywhere who have kept coach Vince Lombardi's memory - and all he stood for - alive for decades. It never ceases to amaze us how loved and respected he is, even though he has been gone for 41 years.

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