No. 1057 - WHAT IS MY STONE?

No. 1057



There is a name in the annals of the American college and professional sport of football that most people will recognize, and that name is Frank Gifford.
Frank played college football for the University of Southern California, graduating in 1952 when he won the coveted Heisman Trophy, symbolic of being the best college football player in America. He would later be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He would go on to play professional football for the New York Giants for 12 seasons, and again would distinguish himself by being named the National Football League’s Most Valuable Player in 1956. Frank would play in five league championship games, was named to eight Pro Bowls and would be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977. One of the most important accomplishments was to have his No. 16 jersey number retired, never to be worn by any other New York Giant football player.
Granted, it is rare for one man to have so much talent and ability in different fields, as he also had a brief acting career. He later would transition from his football playing days to the broadcast booth, where he became an Emmy Award-winning sportscaster, known for his work on ABC’s “Monday Night Football,” “Wide World of Sports” and the Olympics.
Those of us who have been around for a while heard Frank as an announcer and commentator for 27 years on “Monday Night Football,” working alongside Howard Cosell and others. While there is much, much more to Frank’s football, acting and broadcasting career, for the remainder of our space I would like to turn our thoughts to his personal life, as his later years were even more rewarding for him than his earlier years.
Frank married his college sweetheart, USC’s homecoming queen Maxine Avis Ewart, in 1952 and they had three children, Jeff, Kyle and Victoria, and five grandchildren. Frank and Maxine divorced, and he was then married to fitness trainer Astrid Lindley from 1978 until they divorced in 1986. After his second divorce he married television presenter and singer Kathie Lee Johnson, who was 23 years his junior, on Oct. 18, 1986. They would co-host ABC’s coverage of the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. Apparently Kathie Lee was the woman Frank needed to settle him down and get him headed in the right direction. They moved to Greenwich, Conn., and had two children, a son Cody Newton Gifford and a daughter Cassidy Erin Gifford.
Frank died of natural causes at the age of 84 on Aug. 9, 2015. After his death, Kathie Lee did a television interview and told about his faith and the tremendous changes that took place in his life before he passed away. She said that Frank had accepted Jesus at a young age, and while he had left God, God never left him. She said they took a trip to Israel a couple of years earlier and visited the Valley of Elah and the Brook of Elah, where the shepherd boy David had fought the Giant Goliath with only five smooth stones. As we know, David slew Goliath, as his very first stone would sink deep into his forehead.
Kathie Lee said, “It was not the fact that David slew the giant, but that he trusted God completely to fight the battle.” The couple brought back some stones from this trip, and she said that Frank was a changed man. When their children graduated from high school and college they each got a stone with this thought from Frank -- What is my stone? What is my gift that God has given me that I can use to make a difference?
This is a good question that each of us should ask ourselves. Frank Gifford’s life did count and I praise God for that.
(Editor’s Note: Bookcase for Every Child – Changing Lives & Futures – ONE AT A TIME. Please visit our website: