Friday was an emotional day for all of us that knew, loved and respected our late friend Steve "Dr. Death" Williams. His Memorial Service in Lakewood, Colorado was special and well attended. It certainly was a day that created some lasting memories.
Several individuals were provided the opportunity to speak including Hall of Fame football Coach Barry Switzer, Doc's college wrestling coach at OU Stan Abel, Terry Taylor, Leon "Vader" White, Ted DiBiase, Sr., Stan Hansen, myself, and many others in Doc's family and circle of friends. WWE executive and Doc's former tag team partner John (Johnny Ace) Laurinaitis flew in from Connecticut to pay his respects.
The services also featured some amazing video tributes to Steve and the closing video was one that many of you have likely seen where Doc talked about his love for Christ and how important living in God's word was to him.
The entire service lasted about 3 hours or so and was extremely moving.
I traveled to Lakewood from OKC on a private jet provided by Coach Switzer with former OU and Colorado Gene Hocheavor, who recruited Doc, Merv Johnson, who was Doc's offensive line coach for 4 years and James Hale who is a radio personality at AM1400 The Ref and INTERNET recruiting expert who was friends with Doc at OU when Steve was a student.
It was a memorable day and I enjoyed hearing the many stories about my adopted "little brother" who made my life better by knowing him.
Stan Hansen said it best when he said that the wrestling business allows one to have many acquaintances but few friends.
To those attending Steve Williams' funeral services it was obvious that many of us within the business lost a true friend when Steve died on December 30 as a result of a five plus year battle with throat cancer.
Terry Taylor was Doc's first Mid South opponent of note back when Steve first started wrestling and Terry had some great stories of wrestling Doc in some of Steve's earliest matches. Terry is a brave and dedicated man to have survived a young Dr. Death who was known to get a little excited in the ring back in the day especially considering Doc never knew just how strong he really was. It was really good to see Terry again as it has been years since we last spoke or saw each other. Terry has been a friend of mine for many years and it is sad that we both allowed our professional lives to prevent us from even calling one another and saying hello from time to time. Perhaps it is days like Friday that encourage one to remember one's short list of "wrestling friends" and to reach out to them occasionally.
Hansen spoke of bonding with Doc on a Thanksgiving night, 9 hour ride on a ferry boat in Japan not long after Doc and Terry Gordy had left one Japanese wrestling company for another. Doc's blessing/prayer that night before the wrestlers devoured a turkey that was provided to them by Mrs. Baba was particularly memorable to Stan who was one of the best and toughest wrestlers I ever saw. 60 year old Stan looked to be lean and in incredible shape and far from the 300 pounds that he used to carry. Stan's verbal skills are still spot on and I could listen to him talk all day.
Ted DiBiase was assigned to teach Doc the ropes by Bill Watts, who did not attend the service, and shared some great stories as well. Ted and Doc formed an amazing tag team even though most fans will debate that Doc's best tag partner was Terry Gordy. Trust me, Doc and Ted were awesome and that's taking nothing away from the greatness of Williams and Gordy. Ted is now a minister and it is always good to see my old friend as we have literally grown up together in the biz. Bill Watts and Dick Murdoch mentored both Ted and me back in the day. I hope that Ted is inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame some day.
Leon White is now a born again Christian and has also shed a bunch of weight, perhaps close to 100 pounds. I'm proud of Leon/Vader's life changes and the man he has become. Leon has worked hard to rid himself of his demons and here's hoping that he can remain demon free for the rest of his days. Leon and son Jesse will be teaming in a wrestling event this spring in Japan. Jesse, former OU football recruit and who will graduate from OU in May, is a great kid who I hope I can help with his wrestling career in the future.
The closing shot of Doc in the video that aired shocked me. I was not ready to see my pal with no hair and down, what looked like, many, many pounds. But guess what...Steve still had a twinkle in his eye, a mischievous smile on his face and showed no fear even in spite of his physician predicted death.
We are going to look into doing something on this website to help create a college fund for Doc's son Wyndham. Perhaps a limited edition photo from our pal Dennis Brent's collection of Doc and me that I can sign and that we can then donate a large portion of the proceeds to Doc's only son. I'll keep you posted.
God Bless you Steve and remember, if you email me from Heaven, please seek out sell check and remember that there is no need to put your entire message in caps....unless you're yelling at me or think that I'm getting hard of hearing. I love you my friend and I will see you again when my number is called. Thanks to you, I'll be ready.
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I spend a fair amount of time answering the Q&A's that made the cut as of Saturday morning and hope that you will check them out. I am curious to see how some of the "wrestling pundits" and other "interested individuals" will "interpret" some of my responses to the recent round of questions and comments. I can assure you that these simple responses will take on a life of their own in the coming days especially with those with an agenda or looking to increase their website traffic with a sensation, New York Post-like headline. Then, again, perhaps I will be pleasantly surprised.
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As I have written, the Hot BBQ sauce, the Chipotle Ketchup and our Beef Jerky sales have been especially brisk lately.
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