By Esme Murphy, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — He was a star during the University of Minnesota’s glory days in football. And when he became a multi-millionaire, he continued to give back to the U.

Richard “Pinky” McNamara died Monday.

McNamara will also be remembered for his willingness to share his battle with Alzheimers.

McNamara and his brother Bob played together at the U of M. Bob was an All-American. Pinky was a team leader in all-purpose yards. The brothers were best friends and today, Bob recalled some of his best memories.

“Whenever Pinky was around, he had so much humor that everyone at the table was having a good time,” he said.

It was with a smile that Pinky battled Alzheimer’s, as he shared with Mike Max back in 2007.

“As long as you have a sense of humor, that is the name of the game, you bet,” he said then.

After football, Pinky McNamara became a hugely successful businessman by buying and reviving struggling companies.

McNamara was one of the biggest stars in U of M history, over the years he gave the U millions including money for the McNamara alumni center on campus.

In recent years Bob, Pinky and a small group of friends would gather for lunch twice a week at Legends Restaurant in Minneapolis. Today was no different — Pinky would have wanted it that way.

“It will be a long time before there will be another Pinky McNamara,” said Hal Lyman.

Bob said there’s definitely a void without Pinky

“We are going to miss him. We all had some great times with him. He was a special guy,” he said.

As for the nickname Pinky, as a child McNamara had a set of red corduroys and after frequent washings they faded to pink — so the neighborhood kids started calling him Pinky.

Funeral arrangements for Pinky are pending.

Sid Hartman Remembers His Friend “Pinky” McNamara

WCCO-TV’s Mike Max Profiles Pinky In 2007

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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