Westboro Church Joe Paterno

January 24, 2012 by staff 

Westboro Church Joe Paterno, His legendary career ended abruptly in November, when he was fired after a former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, 67, was charged with sexually molesting 10 young boys, including some in the Penn State athletic complex.

Paterno was fired November 9 after he was criticized for not doing enough to stop Sandusky.
He was diagnosed with “a treatable form of lung cancer” the following weekend, according to a statement his son Scott released at the time. But JoePa’s health took a turn for the worse, as the cancer proved to be aggressive. Joseph Vincent Paterno died Sunday morning, at the age of 85, surrounded by his family.

Yet his legacy lives on — at the statue of Paterno situated outside the university’s Beaver Stadium, where mourners descended on a makeshift shrine, draping an American flag on the statue’s shoulders and wrapping its neck with a Penn State scarf.

His legacy lives on in his five children, all of who are Penn State graduates, and his 17 grandchildren.

His legacy lives on in other football coaches and players, who looked to Paterno for guidance; in government, including Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett and former US president and friend George H.W. Bush; and his passing has sent a ripple through Hollywood as well.

Jerry Sandusky, who is currently awaiting trial on 52 criminal counts of sexual abuse of 10 children over 15 years, released a statement, saying, “This is a sad day! Our family, Dottie and I would like to convey our deepest sympathy to Sue and her family. Nobody will be able to take away the memories we all shared of a great man, his family, and all the wonderful people who were a part of his life.”

Sandusky was Paterno’s top assistant for years until he retired in 1999. He has denied the allegations made against him by prosecutors.

“He maintained a high standard in a very difficult profession. Joe preached toughness, hard work and clean competition,” Sandusky said. “Most importantly, he had the courage to practice what he preached.”

“I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Joe Paterno,” former President George H.W. Bush said in a statement. “He was an outstanding American who was respected not only on the field of play but in life generally – and he was, without a doubt, a true icon in the world of sports. I was proud that he was a friend of mine. Barbara and I send our condolences to his devoted wife Suzanne and to his wonderful family.”

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