It all started with a letter I received on June 8th 2006. The letter read: My name is Brenda Eyman. I live in Chama New Mexico. My dad is (Billy Eyman) he is a die hard Broncos fan and recently they discovered that he had liver cancer. In November 2005 my dad fell off a roof during a regular work day and that was when he started feeling ill. After numerous doctors visits he was diagnosed with liver cancer in March of this year. On April 26th, 2006 the doctor in Albuquerque, New Mexico told us that the cancer had taken over ¾ of his liver and that my dad didn’t have long to live and there wasn’t anything more they could do and sent him home. We have taken him to Denver, Colorado for a second opinion at University of Colorado Hospital/Cancer Center and so far everything sounds better than here in New Mexico.
I was wondering if there would be any way that some of the Broncos team members or Alumni might be interested in meeting my dad while he is in Denver. He is receiving treatment through University of Colorado Hospital /Cancer Center on 9th street in Cherry Creek. He has gone to almost every home game for several years. He decorates his house with all the Broncos items for every game we watch at home. This would be greatly appreciated if there was something you could do. Meeting some of the players would make his dream come true…Family has always come first to our dad. Every year when the new schedule comes out he asks who wants to go see a game this year. Being there are four daughters, he tries to get us to go at different times. He has had a hard year and we just want the best for him. If we don’t get very much time with him we would like the time that we do have with him to be the best memories ever.
After reading Brenda’s letter I was sort of spellbound wanting to meet her dad. I could feel the love she had for her dad and was reaching out to do anything to make him happy. We get tons of letters requesting various things but this one just stayed with me. I had to call Brenda back and talk to her.
We played phone tag for a couple of days and finally we talked. She told me that her Mom and Dad would be in Denver and gave me a phone number that I could reach them at. She also told me that she didn’t tell them anything about this call because she didn’t want to disappoint them if no one was able to come. I told her I would see them when they came to Denver.
On Saturday June 29th, 2006 I decided I would give Billy Eyman from Chama New Mexico a call. It was late afternoon and I spoke to Burta, his wife. I told her who I was and that I heard about Billy and what a tremendous Broncos fan he was. At first she didn’t believe it was me and that I was calling them. I assured her it was me and I wanted to meet Billy. She told me he was resting because they had just returned from getting his treatments. I heard something in the background on the phone and it was Billy asking Burta who it was. She put him on the phone and I told him who I was and that I wanted to meet him. I could see him smiling through the phone. We set a time and day to meet. We met in Lochbuie, Colorado (25 miles northeast of Denver). Billy was a little weak from his treatments that day but he was the most upbeat and charming person you would ever meet. We saw one another on and off for most of 2006 and we exchanged Christmas cards.
On July 9th, 2007, I got a phone message from Brenda, Billy’s oldest daughter. Judging by her tone I could tell something was wrong. I called her back and she told me her dad had passed. I had known Billy for just over a year but it seemed like forever. I needed to go to Chama to celebrate Billy’s life. When arranging my travel plans I learned that there are no planes that fly directly into Chama. You have to fly to Albuquerque and drive three hours to Chama.
Generously, I received a ride from Abbie Martinez and her granddaughter Mikayla. They were on their way to Chama by way of Dallas, Texas, for the services for Billy. We arrived just in time to see the last remaining visitors leave Billy’s house. Burta was happy to see me and I was happy to make it. The services were the next day in a small but cozy Catholic Church that was full of Billy’s friends and family.
Father Daniels started the service with the reason he was there. Father Daniels was once the father for the church in Chama but he had moved to Albuquerque to take over a larger church. He said everyone should know him because his picture had been plastered all over the front page of the Albuquerque newspaper for some charges that he has since been cleared of. He said the first person that called him was Billy Eyman. He said Billy asked what he could do to help and he didn’t believe what the papers were saying. He said he had to be there to do the services and celebrate Billy’s life. I think that’s why everyone was there because Billy touched everyone he knew including me…plus today is Billy‘s birthday.
Happy Birthday, Billy.