Reid, the eldest son of Eagles coach Andy Reid and his wife, Tammy, was found dead Sunday in the Lehigh University dorm room where he was staying with the team during training camp. Although a cause of death has not officially been released, Reid's family said in a statement Monday that he had "lost the battle," believed to be a reference to his long struggle with drug addiction.
Speakers did not shy away from Reid's past. He was a fighter, they said, and his struggle made him a more compassionate man. He was not only a friend for life to those he loved, he was a friend to the friendless.
Among the speakers were three of Reid's former bishops, or lay pastors, and Bart Winters, Tammy Reid's brother-in-law, who delivered the eulogy.
Winters reminisced about Reid's childhood, when the boy dreamed of becoming a "ninja star art teacher in the Air Force."
Winters recalled that after Andy and Tammy would go to bed when the kids were young, Garrett and his brother, Britt, would roust their younger sisters and bring them to the basement, where they'd all pretend to hold training camp. The girls were the players and the boys were the coaches who ran them through hitting drills.
Just one month ago, Reid was at his "very, very best" at his brother's wedding, Winters said. In life, he was the best combination of his dad's compassion and his mom's zest for life, Winters said.
Aside from his family and his "football family," Reid also had a special place in his heart for food and "the love of his life," Laura Perkins, according to Winters.
Reid was, as so many said, larger than life, larger than his heart, his smile and his hugs. He was larger than the hulking football players that filled his funeral and greater than the suffering his passing has left in its wake.
One of Reid's former bishops, Scott Stallings, said mourners should take one lesson from Reid's life: "As you look to those who suffer and need a friend, reach out and be that hand as Garrett was."
Reach Stephanie Farr at email@example.com or 215-854-4225. You can also follow her on Twitter @FarFarrAway and read her blog PhillyConfidential.com.