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Blue-and-gold memorial honors ‘super’ fan

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Apr 11, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    Chargers chaplain Shawn Mitchell officiated at yesterday’s memorial service for friend and fellow Charger fan Lotta Cross of City Heights.

    Cross part of Bolts’ family for decades

    Sunday, April 11, 2010

    COLLEGE AREA — The memorial service held yesterday morning included everything Lotta Cross loved most in life: family, friends and Chargers.
    Members of Cross’ family were joined in the College Area by a Chargers assistant coach, a former Chargers player and plenty of friends wearing blue-and-gold jerseys. Even the small wooden box containing her ashes was surrounded by floral wreaths decorated in the team’s colors.
    “I haven’t seen this many bolts since the last game of the season,” joked pastor Shawn Mitchell, the team’s chaplain, who also sported a Chargers jersey.
    Cross, 81, who lived in City Heights, died April 2 after battling numerous illnesses. She was a near-constant presence for more than four decades in the Chargers’ extended family of players, coaches, staffers and booster-club members.
    She regularly bade players and coaches farewell when they departed for away games and welcomed them home win or lose, even when they returned at a pre-dawn hour. Her containers of cookies, doughnuts and candy were a mainstay on team flights.
    She served as president of the Charger Backers fan club from 1993 to 1995, a period that included the team’s only Super Bowl appearance. She was dubbed the organization’s most valuable fan in 1997. She drove cars with huge versions of the Chargers lightning bolt painted on the sides.
    “I think (players) thought of her as a surrogate grandmother,” said former linebacker and radio sports commentator Billy Ray Smith Jr. “It’s one of those bonds you don’t see often. She just loved the franchise.”
    Over the years, Cross, a former secretary and mother of three children, became recognized as the quintessential Chargers loyalist.
    A 1993 Union-Tribune story dubbed Cross a “super” fan.
    In another article, former Chargers cornerback Gill Byrd, who now serves as an assistant defensive coach for the Chicago Bears, said Cross provided the team with a motherly dose of encouragement even when the team faced its darkest moments.
    “She exemplifies what it is to be a Backer,” Byrd said. “I call her my stepmom because she means that much to me.”
    Cross’ son, Le Mar “Lee” De Tro III of La Mesa, told the 50 people attending the memorial yesterday that he never fully understood the role his mother played until recent years, after she started using a wheelchair and he began accompanying her to team events.
    “I used to wonder if all the things my mom did were really appreciated,” De Tro said. “I got so much pleasure from seeing the looks on players’ faces when I told them that Lotta Cross was here.”
    Chargers defensive coordinator Ron Rivera said Cross didn’t shy away from offering advice when she thought it was needed.
    “One day she said, ‘Coach Ron, you know, it’s all right to blitz,’ ” he said. “That was Lotta. The only other person who talked to me like that was my mom.”
    Others at the service spoke about Cross’ passions for painting, singing and Bible study. “And she loved peanut-butter cookies,” one woman said.
    Charger Backers board member Joe La Rocca said Cross became famous in the organization for coming up with new and sometimes unconventional ways to support the team.
    It was her idea to give players piles of candy to eat on their away-game flights because she thought the sugar in the treats would keep them awake for the trip and boost their energy for the game, La Rocca said.
    Cross was born Nov. 13, 1928, in Lodi, where her father worked as an auto mechanic, De Tro said. Her interest in football started at a young age when she began attending high school games with her parents.
    She divorced her husband in 1958 and never remarried.
    Cross moved to San Diego five years later, when the Chargers won 11 games and finished the season as champions of the old American Football League.
    She worked as a secretary for the San Diego Unified Port District until retiring in 1986.
    Cross had a special arrangement with her bosses that let her attend Chargers luncheons on the Fridays before games, De Tro said.
    She was particularly fond of Byrd and several other players with children who battled health problems, De Tro said.
    When Byrd’s son graduated from high school in 2003, the former Charger mailed an invitation to the ceremony to Cross along with photos of his family.
    “She carried that in her purse,” De Tro said. “It was in there when she passed away.”
    Cross’ daughters, Lynnette Kilpatrick and Lorri Barker, both live in Indianapolis, home of the 2007 Super Bowl champion Colts, with whom the Chargers have some history.
    “It got to be a joke that Mom was no longer welcome in Indianapolis during football season because every time she went, (the Chargers) would beat them,” De Tro said.
    In keeping with the spirit of the service, attendees held a tailgate party in honor of Cross after the memorial ended.
    De Tro said his mother’s large collection of Chargers keepsakes will be divided among her children and 16 grandchildren. Her season ticket, which she renewed about a month ago, will stay in the family.
  2. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Official Hater

    Feb 14, 2007
    Wrong thread sorry. :icon_shrug:
  3. sdbound

    sdbound Well-Known Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    Nice story. Thanks.

    SDKCFAN BoltTalker

    Jun 6, 2009
    Rest in peace Super Fan!

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

    Jul 11, 2006
    My condolences to the family and the Charger universe.
  6. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2005
    God Speed Lotta Cross,

    This year,

    let's kick some Indy *** in your honor

  7. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    A True Superfan

    By Scott Yoffe


    It will be hard not to notice the empty seat in Plaza section 31, row 21 when you walk by at the Chargers’ home game in 2010.

    That seat belonged to Lotta Cross, a life-long Chargers fan and season ticket holder since 1968 who died on April 2 after battling a lengthy illness.

    Cross was a fixture everywhere the Chargers went. Whether it was games at Qualcomm Stadium or the former Jack Murphy Stadium, or training camp practices at UCSD, The Home Depot Center or Chargers Park, the Chargers were never far from the heart, mind, eyes and ears of the spry Cross.

    “It will be hard to find someone who loves the Chargers more than Lotta,” said Chargers President Dean Spanos. “She treated the guys like they were her own kids; like her second family. And she never wanted anything in return. I think that’s what the guys appreciated the most.”

    Born in 1928 in Lodi, California, Cross moved to San Diego in 1963, a special year in America’s Finest City as the Chargers went 11-3 at Balboa Stadium and won their first and only world championship.

    Cross dedicated the latter years of her life to the Charger Backers Fan Club. She served three years as the club’s president and was a fixture at both the stadium and Chargers Park over the years, serving up trays of homemade cookies as well as candy and bubble gum to the players, coaches and staff as they boarded their chartered buses to set off on a road trip.

    But Cross didn’t stop there. She was also among a die-hard group of fans who would be there to greet the team, win or lose, following those same road trips, sometimes as late as three or four in the morning.

    “You hear the term ‘super fan’ thrown around quite a bit, but Lotta really did personify what in my mind a superfan would be,” said Chargers Head Coach Norv Turner.

    The Chargers named Cross their Most Valuable Fan in 1997. She rarely left home without wearing something that signified her favorite team, and every car that Cross ever drove was emblazoned with the Chargers’ lightning bolt logos on the side.

    Georgette Rogers, the team’s receptionist since 1992, came to know cross quite well over the years.

    “We were fortunate to have a supporter like Lotta. She was the ultimate fan,” explained Rogers. “She loved being around the team and whenever the Charger Backers would have a function, she was always the first one to arrive. She could never get enough Chargers.”

    Cross gave everything she had to the Chargers until the very end, including renewing her season ticket for the 2010 season, knowing she wouldn’t be able to use it. And when she passed, the atmosphere at her memorial service was more like a game day, just as she would want it: a celebration of the good times, complete with a tailgate party.

    Cross will forever be missed by the Chargers. So next time you’re in the stadium and you find yourself passing by row 21 in Plaza section 31, stop for a moment and offer a tip of the cap to one of the greatest Chargers fans of all time.
  8. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2006
    How many more must die before we finally win the whole damn thing ? :icon_shrug:

    BTW: The pastor in that picture (the Chargers pastor or used to be) will kick you out of his church if you attend repeatedly and do not put something into the hat that is passed. F-him. :yes: Prick.

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