Funeral held for former New England Patriot Ron Brace - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Copy-Funeral held for former New England Patriot Ron Brace

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)
(Photo: New England Patriots) (Photo: New England Patriots)

Hundreds of people gathered at the St. John's Congregational Church in Springfield for one final goodbye to former New England Patriots player and local icon Ron Brace.

Brace, 29, died last Saturday and today, he was laid to rest.

For much of the morning, a long line of people have been waiting to get inside the church for the services and to pay their respects.

So many people went to the church to say a final farewell that the church needed to add on an overflow room as family friends and an entire city came together for a touching tribute to Brace. 

Wearing his son's jersey,  Ron's father, Ronald Brace Jr., spoke of his son's accomplishments while a video tribute place in the background.

"Ron's the only person I know that played NFL football and we have a lot of great athletes," said Ronald Brace Jr.

Born in Springfield, Brace graduated from Burncoat High School in Worcester before receiving a full scholarship to play football at Boston college.

After Brace graduated from BC, he was picked in the second round of the NFL draft by the New England Patriots, where he played until 2012.

Brace's siblings spoke on a more personal level of their brother.  Each shared memories of their brother and best friend who lived a full life and always had a smile on. 

The Springfield native never forgot where it all began in the City of Homes.  Brace often gave back to the community that he grew up in

One of those ways was through the organization Revitalize Springfield.  After the June 2011 tornado hit Springfield, Brace really jumped into action and helped rebuild some to homes that were damaged.

Brace was always finding ways to get back to the community, which is why many people turned out Monday to pay their respects.

"Very awesome young man, very awesome.  He gave back to his community, never turned his back on Springfield.  He was always here.  I'm really going to miss you Ron," said Gregory Harris, a family friend.

A wake was also held at the church, prior to this afternoon's funeral service.

After the funeral, Brace was laid to rest at Oak Grove Cemetery in Springfield.

CLICK HERE to check out more pictures as we look back at Brace's career and how he gave back to the community.

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