Hundreds pack church to celebrate Eddie Key III

Posted By: Camila Orti

The funeral services for Eddie Key III packed St. Mark's United Methodist Church with friends, family and teammates.

More than 1,000 people, including his Wayne State College football team, gathered Saturday morning to celebrate the life of the freshman player and friend to many.

“He was more than a brother, he was my best friend,” brother Jerry Key said.

Eddie died at the age of 18. He was found in his Wayne State College dorm room on February 8th. Autopsies say the former North Star stand-out died of pulmonary edema, a side effect of pneumonia.

“That's only 18 years, but he did all of this,” Jerry said, gesturing to the full sanctuary. “He reached out to somebody at some point, he reached out to all of you.”

From family members to teammates and former coaches, speakers remembered the talented lineman's dreams and bright personality.

“I think he's touched each of our lives in a way that has made us better people and so I'm just appreciative of the opportunity to have known him,” North Star High School Principal Vann Price said.

She recalls Key's contagious smile.

“He'd be walking' down the hall smiling and I'm like, Eddie you don't have your ID on right now, and he'd put it on and say yes ma'am,” Price said.

Wayne State Football Coach Dan McLaughlin says Key, known as the “gentle giant,” never failed to make him or his teammates laugh.

A man of family and faith, family members say Key's spirit will live on in the hearts of everyone he touched.

Eddie Key III leaves behind his parents Eddie Jr. and Stephanie Key, two sisters and a brother.

A chili feed is being held at the North 27th Street Hy-Vee on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. All proceeds will go to the family.