He often referred to himself as the “scrawny kid from Bridgeport Way.”
But, oh, what a life Fircrest’s Ken Still lived.
A near-capacity troop of supporters turned out for Still’s memorial service at St. Charles Borromeo Parish on Friday as the area’s first great homegrown PGA Tour golfer was laid to rest.
Still died March 19 of kidney failure. He was 82.
An hour before the 11 a.m. funeral, the parking lot at St. Charles was already filling up. Many in the community, ranging from Fircrest policemen to club golf professionals — even former Mariners president Chuck Armstrong — gathered to say goodbye to this kind-hearted man of the people, who entertained galleries at tournaments for nearly 50 years.
“Everybody who knew him loved him,” said Fred Still, Ken’s brother who now resides in Arizona. “He was one of those guys who was blessed.”
Outside the front door of the church, a VIP golf cart from American Lake Veterans Golf Course was parked. It had a monogrammed image of Still, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, and former U.S. Ryder Cup team member, in the windshield.
Inside, an hourlong Mass of Christian Burial ceremony was held.
Kay Love, a close family friend, touched on many of Still’s defining characteristics during the eulogy — his generosity, his love for people, his civic pride and his unbridled passion for the local sports teams.
“He added a whole new ‘boi’ to boisterous,” Love noted.
And, on this weekend of the Shell Houston Open on the PGA Tour, one of the most famous stories of Still’s career was retold by the Rev. Mike McDermott during the homily.
It took place in 1968. Still shot an opening 78 at the Houston Invitational and returned to the hotel to book a flight out of town.
The next day, Still rallied with a 69 to make the cut by two strokes. He canceled his travel plans.
Good thing he did, because all 86 people on that flight from Houston to Dallas perished when the airplane crashed.
“Do your very best, and never give up,” McDermott told the congregation.
Which was something Still excelled at.
Of course, this Catholic ceremony had a very Still-like twist: Attendees sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” — a Still favorite — as a sendoff tune.
“I told Ken I was going to do that,” said Linda Still, his wife. “Oh my goodness, I cannot tell you how many times we sang that together.”
Fellow professional golfers Jack Nicklaus, Raymond Floyd and Chi Chi Rodriguez, as well as baseball great Sandy Koufax, were listed as the honorary pallbearers. None of them were able to attend in person Friday.
The eight pallbearers were Pat Feutz, Jim Love, Erik Norling, Ryan Miller, Kevin Thomas, Joe Lyons, Fircrest Police Chief John Cheesman and Lt. Colonel Dan Still, Ken’s nephew.
A reception followed the memorial, at Fircrest Golf Club.