NFL star Frank Gifford’s death on Aug. 9 was mourned by sports fans worldwide. The famed New York Giants player played three different field positions, was inducted in the team’s Hall of Fame, and also managed to earn an impressive career in the broadcast booth.
For the first time since her late husband’s death, Kathie Lee Gifford returned to the Today Show and dedicated a moving 8-minute tribute to him. Three characteristics she used to describe her husband, were his faith in God, his humility, and his emphasis on hard work.
Kathie Lee recounted how Frank grew up during the Great Depression and at times found himself reduced to eating dog food. She said this abject poverty taught him to be grateful for everything he had:
“He knew what it was like to be hungry,” she said. “He knew what it was like to have literally no clothes on his back….They had nothing but they had their faith.”
The faith he cherished as a child, she said, molded how he lived the rest of his life.
"That remained with him for the rest of his life. He strayed from his faith on occasion but his faith never left him," she said. "His world got smaller as his God got bigger and he'd want you to know that, that he died in complete peace. He knew every sin he committed was forgiven."
Kathie Lee also praised her husband for his appreciation of hard work:
“He knew what hard work was,” she said. “He never had an entitled moment in his life. And we will miss him so much.”
By the time she finished, a tissue box appeared because neither she, her co-anchor Hoda Kotb, nor the surrounding crew seemed to be dry-eyed.
She reminded everyone, however, that his contagious joy never escaped him.
"We laughed up to the very end. I just want everybody to know that this is a man who was at complete peace in his life," she said. "He might have been the happiest, most content person in the world at this point in his life."