Boone tribute

GERRY PRINCE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:59 AM ET

Former teammates and fans gathered to honour the memory of David Boone yesterday. A group of about 65 congregated at the Shiloh Baptist Church for the memorial to pay tribute to the former Edmonton Eskimos defensive end.

Boone, 53, battled depression in recent years and was found dead at his home in Point Roberts, Washington, on March 19.

Among those in attendance were Tom Wilkinson, Hec Pothier, Charlie Turner, Ed Jones, Angelo Santucci and Dan Kepley. None of the Eskimos' brass were on hand yesterday.

Boone, a native of Detroit, was an integral part of the defensive line dubbed Alberta Crude which helped power the Eskimos to five straight Grey Cup championships beginning in 1978.

The hulking end and former Esks' captain was lauded for his love of children and respect for his elders. On the gridiron and in the dressing room Boone was and, still is, regarded as the consummate leader.

"David Boone had a genuine love for football and for his teammates," Santucci said in paying tribute. "Booner was one of the leaders on this team that won five in a row.

"He led in his own way and did it on his own terms. He led the only way he knew how and that was by example. I always had a deep respect for David Boone, the man and the football player."

Kepley, who now serves as the Green and Gold linebacker coach, recalled Boone as the man who allowed him to be the best he could be.

"David Boone and the other guys that played up in front of me actually gave me the chance to be the player that I was," Kepley told the gathering.

"David Boone made me a better football player. David Boone helped me to be the linebacker that I was supposed to be. He took on a lot of the fight. All I had to do was go make the tackle which was the easy part."

As Kepley neared the end of his remarks, he was choked by emotion and forced to pause momentarily.

"As Martin Luther King said in his famous speech, 'Let them not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character,' " Kepley said before breaking down. "If that's the criteria, David Boone is a man ... He's a man that I feel proud to say is my friend."

None of Boone's siblings or his mother, Claudia, were in attendance at yesterday's memorial. A videotape of the ceremony will be made available to the family.


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