San Francisco

Remembering Dwight Clark: Teammates, Dignitaries Pay Tribute to 49ers Great

Clark, famous for reeling in 'The Catch,' died in June after a battle with ALS

What to Know

  • Clark died in early June after battling ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease
  • Clark is famously known for hauling in "The Catch," a fingertip snag that propelled the 49ers to the first of multiple Super Bowls
  • "He was the type of person that made a really tough game fun," former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. said about Clark

Some of the most illustrious players in San Francisco 49ers history gathered in San Francisco Wednesday to pay their respects to former 49er Dwight Clark.

The former wide receiver — famous for hauling in "The Catch" that ended up propelling the team to the first in a series of Super Bowls — died in early June after a battle with ALS, which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Clark was 61.

Eddie DeBartolo Jr., the former owner of the 49ers, delivered the eulogy during Wednesday's private memorial service at Grace Cathedral. He said he's written and rewritten the tribute seven times.

While DeBartolo held the prominent position of power as the franchise's owner, he found a brother in Clark.

"I don’t think there was a person throughout his entire career that didn’t like him," DeBartolo told NBC Bay Area days before Clark's service. "He had names for guys. He was the type of person that made a really tough game fun."

Clark's ashes are buried on DeBartolo's Montana ranch just a few yards from the goal post that stood at Candlestick Park when Clark reeled in the memorable fingertip snag during the NFC Championship Game in 1982.

More than 400 people, including about 50 of Clark's former teammates, attended Clark's service. Guests included 49ers legends Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott and Steve Young as well as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Clark's old teammate, Roger Craig, was also in attendance. The former 49ers running back praised Clark for his selfless demeanor.

"Dwight Clark is the kind of guy that makes you feel special," Craig said. "And he's special. But he has this humbleness about him. He's so humble as a human being, and he just always was there to help me when I needed help. If I needed advice from him, he would always be there for me."

Mike Holmgren, one of Clark's former coaches, said No. 87 was "one of the greatest guys I've ever coached."

Contact Us