DICKINSON, Texas - The pandemic has changed nearly everything, including funerals, but that isn’t stopping one Houston-area family from holding a Texas-sized tribute in this Positively Houston.
Loved ones of Pierre Weber didn’t have to look long for something truly special to him, as they searched for a way to celebrate his life after his passing. The 61-year-old held near to his heart, right up until the end, his high school football days at Dickinson High.
"During our 18 years together we traveled a lot. We loved vacationing. We visited Europe multiple times, Hawaii multiple times, Mexico," explains Weber’s wife Jodie Tisserand.
But even after decades of making memories, it was Weber's time playing football at Dickinson High he talked about most. "That’s where he had a place of belonging. He felt successful. He felt validated," says Weber’s sister Monica Weber Oliver.
"He always bragged, always bragged about that team and how good they were," Weber's wife explains.
In fact, the trophy bearing Weber’s name still decorates the display case at Dickinson High because his team was pretty phenomenal. Then, after Weber graduated in the Spring of 1977, in the fall the football team won the state championship.
"Albeit, he wasn’t on the winning team, he played with them three years prior to that win. It was something he still celebrated," Weber’s sister explains.
The stories of his good times on the gridiron continued even through 2018 when Weber was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
"This was called Glioblastoma Multiforme. They initial it GBM. It’s one of the deadliest cancers there are. There’s only a 5% survival rate. We were devastated. How could this be? We were healthy. We didn’t drink. We didn’t smoke. We hiked two to three miles every day," says Weber’s wife.
After two years, the 61-year-old lost his battle to the illness a day before Thanksgiving 2020.
"Because of COVID we couldn’t do a memorial, we couldn’t do a funeral," says Tisserand.
So to celebrate the football lover’s life, loved ones held an online fundraiser, bringing in nearly $10,000.
"I thought it was incredible how much money we got. That’s how loved he was," says Tisserand.
The family donated the $9,500, where else but to the Dickson High School Football program. "Thank you so much. I'm sorry I’m getting emotional," says Dickinson Football Coach John Snelson through tears.
Turns out, Coach Snelson too was touched by cancer. "I was diagnosed with throat cancer," Snelson explains. He survived after being diagnosed in 2015.
"He would try to recount some of the nights or some of the highlights where they would win 53 to 0," his sister explains. His wife adds, "He really lost a lot of his cognitive function at that time, but that stuff was still there. It never left. It was amazing."
Even more amazing, that’s what led them to one last victory for Pierre Weber at Dickinson High, where a gift for and from a grieving family turned out to be a celebration of life for a coach as well.
"Just thank you so much. I wish I could have met him," Coach Snelson says as he wipes away tears.
The nearly $10,000 will be used to buy the football team meals after games, equipment, or whatever they need.