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She joined the rest of the crowd at the memorial service giving Phil Knight a standing ovation after the Nike founder and CEO gave the most impassioned defense yet of her husband’s legacy in the wake of the firing.

Appearing to nearly tear up at times, she otherwise looked poised during the emotional service that included several video tributes to Paterno, who amassed 409 victories.

Despite their recognition, they led lives similar to others who worked at Penn State. They raised five children in a ranch home next to a local park. There’s no fence lining the front yard and no gates guarding the driveway.

The family’s phone number is listed in the phone book. It was a way, Sue Paterno has said, for families of players to reach them in an emergency.

Besides tutoring players and helping to counsel players’ parents, Sue Paterno was a prodigious fundraiser for the university library that bears the family’s name _ it was, after all, where Joe and Sue met, when he was an assistant coach and she a freshman at the school.

He had a degree in English literature from Brown. She was an English student.

Outside of football, they rarely spent a moment apart.

“Besides Joe coaching and being at the football building, those two were inseparable,” Clark said. He said the Paternos treated him as if he were one of their own children.

Sue Paterno baked spreads of cookies and desserts when the family hosted recruiting visits. Current and former players still rave about them.

At the memorial service, former receiver Kenny Jackson recounted a conversation Sue Paterno had with his family while he was being recruited. She reinforced the themes Joe Paterno promoted in his “grand experiment” of placing as much emphasis on academics as athletics.

Sue only promised two things: the first, Kenny will go to class; second, he will get a quality education,” Jackson said. “That’s all she said. She never talked about anything else but my education. So I thank you Sue. … You always made sure that was the first priority.”

And she’s responsible for perhaps one of the most lasting game-day memories of Joe Paterno.

Back in the late `60s, Sue Paterno suggested he raise the cuffs on his pants so mud wouldn’t get on his wool slacks while coaching. It wasn’t as much a concern when JoePa switched to his trademark khakis _ but Sue Paterno said her husband kept rolling them up anyway as a superstition.

“People don’t realize how much she’s done for this place,” Joe Paterno said in an interview with The Associated Press in 2009. “I’ve said many times that they won’t have any problems replacing me, but if they can find a coach’s wife like Sue, they’ll hit the jackpot.”

The Paternos became renowned in the community for their generosity. They championed Special Olympics and THON, the Penn State student-organized dance marathon charity that raises millions of dollars annually for childhood cancer research and treatment.

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