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Paterno was upbeat to the end

Paterno was upbeat to the end

Posted: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 7:00 pm

By GENARO C. ARMAS
AP Sports Writer
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Joe Paterno was upbeat and confident in his final days and didn’t die broken-hearted over his firing in November as Penn State’s longtime football coach, his son said Monday.
Scott Paterno said his Dad was “serenely calm,” before his death from lung cancer on Sunday, antsy to leave the hospital so he could start planning a vacation with his wife, Sue.
Above all, he didn’t die bitter over his firing in November after 46 years as Penn State’s football coach, an abrupt dismissal that came amid a child sex abuse scandal involving a former assistant coach.
During a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Scott Paterno said his father’s health had deteriorated by Friday afternoon, prompting the family to announce Saturday that the 85-year-old Paterno was in serious condition.
He died the following morning.
“He wanted his family in his room. He wanted to be around people. He wanted to talk,” the son said. “He wanted to have people, even when he had trouble speaking, he wanted people around him talking. How are your kids? It was so natural. It was like we were having dinner around the kitchen table. It just happened to be his hospital bed.”
And, he said: “Even at the end when it was clear that he passed a line of no return, it was never a moment of bitterness.”
The Paternos would have been married six decades this year.
“If there’s any message I think my father would pass on to everybody at this point, it’s ‘let’s build this thing up.’ He was so positive and so confident at the end of his life that the things that were important about this place would endure.
“And that’s why he was at peace,” Scott Paterno said, before joking, “That, and (that) my mother was willing to put up with him all these years.”
Published in The Messenger 1.24.12

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