Sports Outside the Beltway

Wilford ‘Crazy Ray’ Jones, Cowboys Unofficial Mascot, Dies

Wilford “Crazy Ray” 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.

Wilford "Crazy Ray" Jones Photos

Clarence Hill reports for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

Wilford “Crazy Ray” Jones, the Cowboys’ 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. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Mattie and the Jones family,” Jerry Jones said. “This 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 team’s heritage and family.”

Though Wilford Jones had attended every Cowboys home game since the team’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.

“Crazy Ray” became such an integral part of the Cowboys’ tradition and the America’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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