It’s game day in Titletown and I’ll be one of the 70,000 pumped up Packer fans streaming into Lambeau Field tonight. Whether you’re joining me, or watching the game on TV tonight, I’m asking you to pay special attention to one of the names displayed on the inside rim of the stadium.
Henry Jordan was inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 1995 and lucky I got to attend the induction ceremony as a guest of the Jordan family. With the invitation came a red button that identified me as a “Guest of Henry Jordan.” I treasure both the button and the memories it inspires of a thrilling weekend in Canton, a charming family whose beautiful matriarch both intimidates me and makes me smile, and an intelligent man whose premature death at age 42 stunned us all.
Today when I look up at Henry’s name, I will be sending a prayer for his widow, Olive Jordan Frey, who recently was diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Henry Jordan was my dad Ron Kostelnik’s best friend on the storied Packer team of the 1960’s. Sadly, both men and their teammate on the defensive line, Lionel Aldridge, suffered fatal heart attacks and died young.
As much as Henry mentored my Dad both on and off the football field, so too did Olive mentor my mom. Olive, a vivacious and generous woman, happily assumed the role of team social director, according to my mom.
Olive organized family dinners for the single players and taught an eclectic group of very young Packer wives, most of whom had never heard of Green Bay, Wisconsin, how to conduct themselves with style in the increasing glare of the spotlight.
In the 44 years since the Packers won the first Super Bowl, Olive has cheerfully maintained that role. At my own wedding in 1987, Olive arrived and kindly offered to organize our wedding party and she stayed in the back of the church to pace them through the opening march.
Six years later she proved to be an invaluable resource at a far sadder occasion, guiding us through the grim process of organizing a funeral following my dad’s sudden death.
Today, Olive could use some help in her battle with a brutal disease.
Please join me in praying for her and, if details regarding any other way you can help her become available to me, I will pass them along.
Go Pack Go!
|Henry and my dad take a breather. At left
is a scanned paper napkin. At dinner one
night, a bored Henry sketched my dad. Not
a bad likeness, right? My dad kept that napkin
for the rest of his life.
|Here Olive spruces up one of our groomsmen, Dennis Fitzgerald
prior to sending him down the aisle.
|This is my dad and Lionel Aldridge at my wedding in 1987.
The Aldridge family could use your prayers today too.