PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — One person who was with Pittsburgh Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney in his final days was the leader of the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese, Bishop David Zubik.
He is remembering the Steelers legend, Hall of Famer and former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland as a humble man and an iconic Pittsburgher.
Bishop Zubik says he spent some time praying with the Rooney family over the last few days.
“It’s a blessing for any priest to be able to be with a family whenever they’re getting ready to help one of their family members to cross over the bridge. I had the blessing of being able to be with Mr. Rooney a couple days ago and to pray with him, and with Pat and some of his children,” said Bishop Zubik. “Certainly, they were all cognizant of the fact that he was dying very quickly, but were very much at peace with how much he as at peace.”
KDKA’s Lynne Hayes-Freeland Reports:
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The two have known each other for 30 years. Bishop Zubik said he met Rooney and his father, the legendary Art Rooney, when he was Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s secretary.
“There’s no question about it, Dan was really a beautiful reflection of his dad,” said Bishop David Zubik. “He had business smarts but more importantly was very much quintessentially a Pittsburgher and was very humble about everything the Steelers were able to do.”
But, Bishop Zubik says the reach of the Rooney family goes far beyond the borders of southwestern Pennsylvania.
“I think there’s a very clear respect for what the Rooneys stand for, and I think we can see that certainly in terms of the spirit of Steelers fans, not only in this city, but you think about how many cities in our country and beyond in the world that there are Steelers bars, ways in which people celebrate the Pittsburgh spirit, all of which was a spark that came from the Rooney family,” Bishop Zubik said.
Going forward, Bishop Zubik says it’s important for Pittsburghers to remember one of Rooney’s most vital character traits.
“The fact of it is, we can all learn a great deal from his humility, from the humility of the Rooney family,” he said.
Elsewhere in the Pittsburgh Catholic community, St. Vincent College in Latrobe – where the Steelers annually hold their Training Camps in the late summer – is in mourning.
KDKA’s Ross Guidotti Reports:
“He was here every day. He was get a little rest when he arrived, but he would make sure he was down on the field. It could be the hottest day, and the rest of us were finding place to cool off, and he would be there,” said Archabbot Douglas Nowicki, of St. Vincent College. “The Steelers players were really an extension of his family and he was interested, he knew the names of their kids and he knew the players and knew the issues they were struggling with.”
— St. Vincent College (@MySaintVincent) April 13, 2017
The university released this statement:
“Dan Rooney, through his long association with the Steelers, will be remembered as a strong, successful leader and a good man, devoted to his family, to his parish church, and to his many friends. We at Saint Vincent mourn his loss and are grateful for the many years of friendship.”
Yes, their are broken hearts all over the campus, but they are remembering Rooney’s legacy and how important it was to him that Steelers Training Camp remain on the campus.
Duquesne University also released a statement. It reads in part:
“Ambassador Dan Rooney was a giant among Duquesne University alumni, just as he was a giant in professional sports and on the world stage. A 1955 graduate of our school of business, Dan was a soft-spoken man with a heart of gold and a deep devotion to his family, his hometown and his university.”