Wilford â€œCrazy Rayâ€ Jones, who has entertained at the sidelines of Dallas Cowboys games since almost the beginning of the franchise’s history, passed away yesterday after a long illness.
Clarence Hill reports for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
Wilford â€œCrazy Rayâ€ Jones, the Cowboysâ€™ original, although unofficial, mascot for the past 43 years, died Saturday morning in Dallas. Jones, 76, had been in deteriorating health for several years. He most recently suffered a heart attack two weeks ago and was diagnosed with degenerative heart failure. Jones was surrounded by friends and family at the time of his death, including his wife of 53 years, Mattie.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones called it sad day for the franchise. â€œOur thoughts and prayers are with Mattie and the Jones family,â€ Jerry Jones said. â€œThis is a sad day for anyone who is a follower of the Dallas Cowboys. Ray was the most dedicated, entertaining and passionate of Cowboys fans. He touched thousands of lives and generations of football fans. He will remain an important part of this teamâ€™s heritage and family.â€
Though Wilford Jones had attended every Cowboys home game since the teamâ€™s inception in 1960, his strong relationship with the team began in 1962 when he started selling pennants at games. He drew the affection of fans for his western outfits, tricks and trademark whistle.
â€œCrazy Rayâ€ became such an integral part of the Cowboysâ€™ tradition and the Americaâ€™s Team image that he has a place in the fans wing of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
A number of ailments, including a leg amputation, four strokes, five heart bypass surgeries and glaucoma, have curtailed his involvement in recent years. He also had been set back by financial trouble.
Truly sad news.
The folks at SaveCrazyRay, who have been helping support the family through all the expenses of Ray’s long bout with illness, have a nice tribute.
PHOTO CREDIT: Juan Garcia, Dallas Morning News August 7, 1997 file photo
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