Dwight Clark was honored Wednesday as “a husband, father, a teammate and, most importantly, an old friend.”
Those are the words from Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana, who spoke at the memorial for his former 49ers teammate. Clark died June 4 from complications with ALS at the age of 61.
On the field, Clark is known for game-winning touchdown reception in the 1981-82 NFC championship — simply known as The Catch — from Montana led the 49ers to a 28-27 win over the Dallas Cowboys en route to Super Bowl XVI and the first of San Francisco’s five titles.
However, there were several people on hand at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco to discuss his life away from the game, including Montana, former team owner Eddie DeBartolo, former 49ers tight end Brent Jones and some of Clark’s family members.
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Among those in attendance were many former 49ers players, coaches and front-office staffers — including Roger Craig, Mike Holmgren, Steve Mariucci, Terrell Owens, Carmen Policy, Jerry Rice and Ronnie Lott.
Also on hand were NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and singer Huey Lewis.
“He’s a part of our history. The Catch changed the history here in San Francisco,” Lewis told the San Francisco Chronicle. “San Francisco was coming out of Zodiac, Harvey Milk, Moscone, the SLA (Symbionese Liberation Army shootout in 1974). The 49ers raised us up. ... And Dwight was such a personable guy. Such a wonderful guy, just through and through.”
Clark first announced his diagnosis on Twitter in March 2017: “I wanted to share some unfortunate news: I have ALS.”
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a “progressive nervous system disease that destroys nerve cells and causes disability,” according to the Mayo Clinic. It “affects control of the muscles needed to move, speak, eat and breathe.” It is incurable and leads to death.
KGO-TV, San Francisco’s ABC affiliate, posted video of Montana’s speech and of others who spoke about Clark. Montana closed out his nine minutes of remarks with a warm yet funny memory he and Clark shared.
“One thing he would always say to me though is, ‘You know, they don’t call it The Throw,’” Montana said. “In ending, I will say to you, D.C., ‘Yes, that’s true, my friend, and I will catch you on the other side.’”