Irvin Favre focused his life on family, friends, and football. He taught his family, and he coached his players to always stick by each other.
"Obviously it's a huge loss," Favre family friend Bus Cook said of Irvin's death. "He was the pillar of that family. He was the rock on which it was built."
Favre's son Brett may be a three time winner of the NFL most valable player award. But around the house, the coach was the star quarterback. "Their dad, he was their father," said Cook. "But he was kind of like a big brother to them, too."
The elder Favre made friends wherever he went. So when he died, people felt a need to be at his funeral.
USM coach Jeff Bower attended the St. Paul Catholic Church service. His relationship with Irvin dated back to Brett's college days. Packers coach Mike Sherman led Green Bay's entourage to the South Mississippi funeral. Dozens of football players coached by Favre came to the service. So did current and former teammates of his son Brett.
"Even without Brett Favre, Irvin Favre was very popular in his own right in the sports community," Cook said.
Despite chilly morning temperatures, friends patiently waited for a chance to console and comfort the Favre family. Bob Short came because of his relationship with the Favre family, and Special Olympics. "He had a heart of gold," the former Gulfport mayor said. "He's helped so many people on the coast." Short thought the large turnout "just shows that people realize what a good family the Favre family is."
Inside the church, Favre's pastor gave a stirring homily.
"Death teaches us, as Irv would have taught others that he coached, taht there are some things in life that will never die," Father John Ford said. "I don't have to give a eulogy for Big Irv. If you want to see and hear a eulogy for Irvin, go back and look at the game Brett played the other night. That's the eulogy to Irv."
The football themed eulogy was fitting. After all, football consumed Irvin Favre's life. He loved coaching the game, talking about the game, and watching his son play the game.
Bus Cook thinks the football mentality will help Favre's children deal with his death. "Irv instilled that toughness in them," he said. "And I'm sure today he would tell them all, stand in there and be tough. So I'm sure they will."