Meet Marie Tillman. She is the beloved wife of former NFL player and Army Ranger Daniel “Pat” Tillman who left the NFL to joined the Army after the 9/11 attacks and was tragically killed during a friendly fire shooting in Afghanistan in 2004. Pat Tillman’s wife recently revealed the last love words she received from her husband.
Photo: Marie Tillman.
Marie Tillman’s husband left a promising career in the NFL to join the Army right after the 9/11 attacks. He also left his beloved wife, his soul mate and the woman he had lived with for over a decade.
35-year-old Marie, whose maiden name is Marie Ugenti,, is from San Francisco where she first met Pat. He was a handsome boy who was a senior with her at Leland high School and who she says became shy every time she came around. That was how Marie guessed he had developed a crush on her. A mutual friend hooked them up on a date and they began dating right before graduation.
She went to the University of California, Santa Barbara campus which is situated so beautifully on the Pacific coast, while Pat went to Arizona. She joined him there some time later before he was drafted by the Cardinals. While in Arizona she worked in production and marketing at ESPN and The Arizona Republic.
Ms. Ugenti became Marie Tillman on May 4, 2002 in Seattle, not long after her husband decided to turned his back on a lucrative NFL contract and joined the Army Rangers. They resided at University Place.
He was deployed three times to Iraq and Afghanistan where on April 22, 2004 he was killed during a friendly-fire accidental shooting. Marie was notified and she intermediately called her parents who came to comfort her. She held to the memories, photos and the love words he send her thru tons of letters she read everyday. Every word she knows by heart today.
Marie Tillman opened her heart to tell about those loving letters in her book “The Letter: My Journey Through Love, Loss & Life.”
The book will be out tomorrow, but Marie shared some of the heartfelt lines you’ll be reading in her book..
It’s difficult to summarize 10 years together, my love for you, my hopes for your future, and pretend to be dead all at the same time . . . I simply cannot put all this into words. I’m not ready, willing or able.”
Marie Tillman’s sister Christine got married to Pat’s close pal Alex Garwood who is Director at the Pat Tillman Foundation that Marie co-funded and serves as president. She is now married to Joe Shenton and together they are the proud parents of their son Mac. You can follow Marie on Twitter here.