NEWTON, Mass. — Funeral services for Myra Kraft, wife of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, brought hundreds of people from the worlds of football and philanthropy together Friday at Temple Emanuel in Newton.
Kraft died of cancer Wednesday. She was 68.
Present and former Patriots quarterbacks Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe talked for a long time outside the temple after services.
Wes Welker was among the many other once- and current Patriots players to pay their respects.
Former Patriots running back Curtis Martin said Myra Kraft had more to do with making some players feel like part of a family than even her husband did.
“She always made this great chicken soup and it became my favorite,” Martin said. “She knew that I was up here by myself and was eating out most of the time, so she would always offer.”
Martin said he regrets never having a chance to thank Kraft for taking him under her wing when he was a rookie.
Among the many mourners were real-estate developer Donald Trump and Roman Catholic Archbishop of Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley.
Myra’s son David Kraft talked about how when he was on a vacation in South Africa as an 11-year-old, his mother took him to a shanty town because she wanted her children to see the uglier side of the human condition. He said she didn’t want their vacation to be all gold mines and safaris.
“You can’t be a philanthropist if you look at the world through rose-tinted glasses,” David Kraft said of his mother, who he said was a realist that saw the world as it was.
Another son, Jonathan Kraft, spent Thursday negotiating the NFL players’ contract in Atlanta, but was back in Newton for the funeral. He recalled how, on that same vacation to Apartheid South Africa, his mother tried to come to the defense of a black man about to be arrested for not having the right papers.
Myra Kraft confronted the police officers and told them that she did not have the right papers, demanding that they arrest her, too. Jonathan, remembering that his father had asked him not to let his mother get into trouble, picked her up and carried her away over his shoulder, as she hit him in protest.