Four members of the Ed Weir family appear on the big screen in Memorial Stadium Saturday during the jersey retirement ceremony of Weir and seven other Nebraska football greats. Family members, from right, included grandchildren Cathy Renk, Peru, Ill.; Julie Gockley, Imperial; Ed Weir III, Columbus; and Tad Weir, Imperial. (Photo courtesy of GWYNETH ROBERTS, Lincoln Journal Star)
Husker game day special for members of Weir family
Husker fans eagerly awaited the opening of another NU football season at Memorial Stadium Saturday.
There’s nothing like a football Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, especially on the opening game of the season.
Saturday proved to be an especially memorable and meaningful game day for the Weir family of Imperial.
That’s because the family witnessed the retirement of the Husker jersey of their grandfather and Husker legend, Ed Weir.
One of Ed Weir’s sons, Bill, and his wife Nancy lived in Imperial for many years, moving here in the mid-1950s. Two of their four children, son Tad and daughter Julie Gockley still live in Imperial. Their other daughter, Cathy Renk, lives with her family in Peru, Ill., and son Joe and family reside in Topeka, Kan.
Three of them and their families, along with another grandson, Ed Weir III of Columbus, were special guests of the Husker football program Saturday.
All four were introduced on Tom Osborne field during the pregame ceremony.
“It was exciting,” Julie said this week. “A once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
It was especially meaningful to have 14 family members there for the event. She noted Cathy drove 12 hours from Illinois in order to be there.
Family members of the inductees gathered at the Hawks Championship Center just outside the stadium for a meal.
From there, they were directed to the field where they watched pre-game warm-up prior to the ceremony. The families also got to watch the tunnel walk from the field.
Gockley said it was an amazing experience for her and her family to be down on the field prior to the game.
Julie remembers her grandfather well but had no idea growing up of his connection to Nebraska football and Nebraska sports. “My dad did, though,” she added.
“We all called him Coach,” she said. “The university meant everything to Coach—he lived and breathed it.”
She wished her dad and mom would have been alive to witness her grandfather’s jersey retirement.
She said it’s refreshing to see the athletic department once again show respect for the history of their programs and recognize the individual contributions.
Ironically, the Weir family has ties to one more player whose jersey was retired Saturday.
Guy Chamberlain, who was an All-American football player in 1915, was Nancy Weir’s uncle.
Gockley said Chamberlain was much older and she and her siblings never knew him.
Chamberlain was represented by a great-niece and nephew at the ceremony.
Gockley said it was nice to meet cousins from that side of the family.
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