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Former Football: Football great Orlando Thomas laid to rest today

Megan Wyatt, The Advertiser, November 15, 2015

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Friends and family remember former UL and Minnesota Vikings football player Orlando Thomas Saturday at St. Theresa Catholic Church in Crowley. Thomas died Nov. 9 after a struggle with ALS. Video by Leslie Westbrook Leslie Westbrook

Former Crowley High, Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns and Minnesota Vikings’ defensive back Orlando Thomas was laid to rest today, surrounded by friends, family and neighbors.

The football great succumbed Sunday to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease – at the age of 42 after a 10-year battle with the progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

Hundreds of people poured into St. Theresa Catholic Church in Crowley today for the 10 a.m. Mass, with dozens of people lining the side aisles and back of the church to pay their tributes to Thomas.

MORE: Thomas dies after battle with ALS

MORE: Retired No. 42 to be worn during Ragin’ Cajuns game today

In the memorial service program, Thomas had written a special message to his family:

"When tomorrow starts without me, and I’m not here to see,

If the sun should rise and find your eyes, filled with tears for me.

I wish so much you wouldn’t cry, the way you did today,

While thinking of the many things we didn’t get to say.

I know how much you love me, as much as I love you,

And each time you think of me, I know you’ll miss me too.

When tomorrow starts without me, don’t think we’re far apart.

For every time you think of me, I’m right there in your heart."

The funeral service for former UL and Minnesota Viking

Athletic Network Footnote: Please click here for the Feb., 2010 Spotlight Feature on Orlando posted by Bruce Brown.
Click here for the AN profile of Orlando Thomas.