Memorial service for Gary Papa

June 17, 2011 12:09:47 PM PDT
A memorial service was held Wednesday night for our friend and collegue Gary Papa, who died last month.VIDEO: The Gary Papa Memorial Service (Part 1)
VIDEO: The Gary Papa Memorial Service (Part 2)
VIDEO: The Gary Papa Memorial Service (Part 3)

Those whose spoke at the memorial echoed a common theme: Gary made each and every person he met feel important.

"To understand him, appreciate him, and love him you had to experience him," said Action News Anchor Jim Gardner.

As the face of Action News Sports for nearly two decades, Gary often made us laugh. But what many didn't see on air was his generosity.

Dave Roberts reflected on a moment at a toll booth when Gary, in typical fashion, couldn't find his EZ Pass.

"He gives the toll-taker a $20 bill. The toll-taker starts to get the change together and Gary said "No, no no. You keep that. You see the guy behind me? Pay his toll. If there's anything left, have yourself a beer or a sandwich or something."

Jim Gardner provided one of the more touching moments of the night when he read a letter to Gary's young sons Tucker and Nathaniel that read in part:

"Your dad was an incredible man, but I'm afraid words don't do a good enough job of explaining why."

Through his 5 year battle against prostate cancer, the rock of the Papa family has been Gary's wife Kathleen. The Action News sports department presented her with a framed newspaper cover.

"This is the cover of the Daily News the day after Gary passed away and it was just says it perfectly. It says he was one of the good guys, and we thought that summed it up best and we wanted you to have it," said Mark Meany, Action News Sports executive producer.

Kathleen spoke about Gary's 5 year battle against prostate cancer and his will to survive.

"You, everyone in this room, were crucial to his survival as much as all the medical interventions he went through. You, in very real way, kept him alive. You gave him love and hope and Nathanial, Tucker and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts."

VIDEO: Jim Gardner remembers Gary Papa
VIDEO: Matt Adamchak at Gary Papa's memorial services
VIDEO: Jamie Apody and Mark Meany speak about Gary Papa
VIDEO: Dave Roberts remembers Gary Papa
VIDEO: Kathleen Papa, Gary's wife, remembers her husband
VIDEO: Gary's oldest brother Ron Papa at the memorial service
VIDEO: Gary's youngest brother Greg Papa at the memorial service

Gary passed away Friday, June 19, 2009 after a long fight with prostate cancer. He was 54 years old.

Gary leaves behind his wife Kathleen, his two sons Tucker and Nathaniel, of course his Action News family, and all of you.

"We loved Gary Papa and, you know what? He loved all of us," said Action News anchor Jim Gardner while announcing Gary's death Friday afternoon during a special report on 6abc.

Gary was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1954. Upstate New York would be his home for most of the next 27 years.

Gary went to Cornell University as an undergraduate, and actually considered a career as an attorney. He even earned his law degree at the University of Buffalo Law School.

But that's when the combination of sports and broadcasting got its hold on Gary. He went into television in Buffalo, and in Steubenville, Ohio.

In April 1981, Gary Papa came to Action News and the Delaware Valley. Gary's first report was from Milwaukee, where the Sixers were playing the Bucks in the NBA playoffs.

In 1990, Gary was named Action News Sports Director.

SLIDESHOW: The Life and Career of Gary Papa
SLIDESHOW: Run 4 Your Life 2009
SLIDESHOW: Your Text Tributes to Gary Papa

VIDEO: The life and career of Gary Papa. Jim Gardner reports.
VIDEO: Jim Gardner announces the passing of Gary Papa
VIDEO: Gary Papa: The Time of Your Life
VIDEO: Phillies honor Gary Papa with a moment of silence
VIDEO: Greg Papa speaks with Action News about the passing of his brother
VIDEO: More loving memories of Gary from Keith Russell and Jamie Apody
VIDEO: Keith Russell remembers Gary Papa
VIDEO: Jamie Apody remembers Gary Papa
VIDEO: Dave Roberts remembers his time with Gary Papa
VIDEO: Lisa Thomas Laury remembers Gary Papa
VIDEO: Cecily Tynan remembers Gary Papa
VIDEO: Scott Palmer on Gary Papa's death
VIDEO: Irving Fryar remembers Gary Papa
VIDEO: Watch Gary's first report for Action News
VIDEO: Watch Gary's last appearance on Action News
VIDEO: Gary Papa is inducted into the Hall of Fame
VIDEO: Watch classic stories from Gary Papa
VIDEO: Gary talks about his battle with prostate cancer
VIDEO: The lighter side of Gary Papa with Jamie Apody and Keith Russell
VIDEO: Local coaches remember Gary Papa
VIDEO: Phillies fans fondly remember Gary Papa
VIDEO: Parishoners remember Gary Papa at the church his family attends
VIDEO: Pa. Gov. Ed Rendell reacts to Gary's passing
VIDEO: Mayor Michael Nutter on Gary Papa's death
VIDEO: Charles Barkley on Gary Papa's death
VIDEO: Ruben Amaro Jr. on Gary Papa's death
VIDEO: Charlie Manuel on Gary Papa's death
VIDEO: Jeffrey Lurie on Gary Papa's death
VIDEO: Donovan McNabb reacts to Gary's passing
VIDEO: Donovan McNabb's written statement regarding Gary Papa
VIDEO: Jamie Moyer recalls the joys of watching Gary Papa
VIDEO: Sheldon Brown remembers a specific Gary Papa moment
VIDEO: Gary's neighbors in Wayne, Pa. react to his passing
VIDEO: Philadelphians remember Gary Papa
VIDEO: Memories of Gary Papa at Citizens Bank Park
VIDEO: Delaware residents react to Gary Papa's passing
VIDEO: Trenton remembers Gary Papa
VIDEO: Chris Wheeler on Gary Papa's death
VIDEO: Milt Thompson on Gary Papa's death
VIDEO: Larry Anderson on Gary Papa's death
VIDEO: Action News co-workers remember Gary
VIDEO: Local politicians remember Gary Papa
VIDEO: Preperations into Run 4 Your Life, an event that meant so much to Gary
VIDEO: Run 4 Your Life honors Gary Papa

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