How the Dallas Cowboys Brought Light to a Lifelong Fan’s Family in Their Darkest Moment

The Dallas Cowboys sent their support to a lifelong fan's family after a tragic and sudden loss. How the act of kindness gave light in a dark time.

Football is more than just a game to many fans — for one Dallas Cowboys fan, it was a glue for his family. It also continues to be a way for his loved ones to remember him.

A Tragic Loss

What started as a normal day with a father-son trip to see the Cowboys ended most unexpectedly.

Tim Washington Sr. tragically passed away the same day he was supposed to attend his first NFL game, which was the final regular-season game for the Cowboys, who were playing the Washington Commanders at FedEx Field.

Washington Sr. was with his son, Tim Washington Jr., who had always aspired to help his dad live his dream of seeing his favorite team play live.

Tragedy struck when Washington Sr. was about 100 yards from FedEx Field. He suddenly collapsed and passed away minutes later.

Washington Jr. described this moment as his world collapsing, figuratively and literally, forever changing his life. He said his dad had told everyone about the opportunity to go to this game, and they had planned to take a picture in front of FedEx Field to send around.

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys

“He talked about going to this game since the moment I bought the ticket,” said Washington Jr., adding, “I had always wanted to take my dad to Dallas to see a game there, but the way the cards were dealt, unfortunately, it never happened.”

The younger Washington had been planning to meet his dad in Dallas to attend a game at AT&T Stadium, but because of job changes, moves, and the pandemic, plans kept changing.

The Dallas Cowboys Give Back

The Cowboys’ organization caught wind of the tragedy and acted to ensure the Washington family felt their love and support during this time.

The organization sent multiple sets of flowers to Washington Sr.’s services, and Washington Jr. got a special delivery sent to his door. That delivery was a hand-signed letter from Jerry Jones and a Cowboys pin.

Dallas Cowboys

The letter read in part, “I was made aware of the recent passing of Timothy Washington, as he was a devoted Dallas Cowboys fan. It is humbling and heartbreaking to hear of the manner of Timothy’s passing. More importantly, I understand what he meant to those who loved him.”

This act of kindness from the Cowboys is something Washington Jr. says would have made his father happy.

“He would be so proud, so proud. He loved the Cowboys and the people within the organization… Jerry Jones went above and beyond for a fan that he’s never met, and I respect that man so much for doing what he’s done.”

More Than Just a Football Fan

The son said the story of his dad’s passing had even reached former Dallas Cowboy and the NFL’s all-time rushing leader Emmitt Smith, who was one of his dad’s favorite players. This was ironic since he recalls his dad resembling the former running back.

Dallas Cowboys

“All the students were clamoring, saying, ‘Emmitt Smith is in our class.’ They swore he was, and it was so funny. But then they were confused because my last name is Washington, and his last name is Smith. I ended up telling everyone it was my dad. We all laughed, and I let them know he was, unfortunately, not Emmitt. This happened all the time growing up,” said Washington.

Dallas Cowboys

He said his dad had been a Cowboys fan as far back as he can remember, and they were a football family. In fact, he recently attended his son’s induction into the Bristol Sports Hall of Fame and let him know how proud he was of this accomplishment. But he was also proud of his son’s choice to pursue education, attending Syracuse University and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

But Washington Sr. was more than just his football fandom — he was a father, a husband, a grandfather, a friend, and an inspiration.

His family says they will remember him as a caring and loving soul, who helped countless people as a drug and alcohol counselor in multiple parts of Connecticut.

He came from a rough beginning and was in and out of rehab. That all changed, as he turned his life around to be sober for over 30 years. He also enjoyed being with his family, traveling, food, and poker nights with his buddies. 

In his memory, his family is setting up a memorial scholarship fund to help underprivileged students in Bristol, CT.

“If there is one thing my dad’s death can teach us is to love one another. Be kind to those you encounter. Make people laugh. Pay it forward and help someone who needs a helping hand. Like he said, ‘It costs $0 to be nice to someone,'” said his son.

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