Thousands Expected To Attend Funeral

Dallas Morning News – February 15, 1984
By Stephen G. Bloom

The City of Denton was preparing Tuesday for 3,000 to 7,000 mourners expected to attend the Wednesday funeral of David Von Erich, the 25-year-old professional wrestler found dead in a Tokyo hotel room Friday.

Services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday at the First Baptist Church, 1100 Malone Ave., in Denton.

“We plan to increase our manpower around the church for crowd control,” said Denton Police Sgt. Clovis George. “We plan to have 18 officers there at 7:30 a.m. in case mourners arrive early.”

The First Baptist Church of Denton seats about 1,500, said George, and “once the church fills up, we’ll be closing it off.”

To accommodate any overflower crowd, audio speakers will be set up to broadcast the funeral service. Channel 39, KXTX television, plans to tape the funeral in its entirety for later broadcast, tentatively scheduled for Feb. 26.

Graveside services will follow at Grove Hill Memorial Park, 4118 Samuell Blvd., in East Dallas.

Von Erich’s father, Jack Adkisson, a retired professional wrestler known as Fritz Von Erich, said Tuesday he expects about 100 professional wrestlers, including Harley Race, Ric Flair and Gene Kiniski, to attend the funeral.

“We may have been archenemies in the ring, but outside we all shared a common respect for each other,” said the elder Von Erich.

The body of Von Erich, who died of severe inflammation of the intestine, arrived Tuesday night from Tokyo at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.

Since Von Erich’s death was announced Friday in Dallas, a steady procession of cars has driven past the Von Erich estate in the Denton County community of Lake Dallas.

“The phone has rung constantly ‘til about 2:30 each morning and then starts up again at 7 a.m.,” said Bill DeBerry, director of the Schmitz-Floyd-Hamlett Funeral Home, which is handling the arrangements. “We’ve gotten more than 150 calls a day.”

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