Kathie Lee Gifford Delivers Heartfelt Tribute to Frank Gifford on 'Today' Return
The fourth-hour co-host returned to the NBC morning show on Monday and talked to viewers about the importance of her late husband's faith and thanked those who have supported her.
Kathie Lee Gifford returned to the fourth hour of NBC's Today show on Monday, a little more than a week after her husband, Frank, died. Wearing a blue floral dress, Kathie Lee fought back tears as she took a few minutes at the top of the 10 o'clock hour to pay tribute to Frank.
Kathie Lee talked at length about the importance of faith to Frank, explaining that growing up poor, his family's beliefs were all they had.
"Every time they moved to a new town, [as Frank's father searched for work]," Kathie Lee explained. "They'd go to church every week as a family, and that kept them together as a family through the darkest, darkest times."
Kathie Lee indicated that Frank's faith helped him be in "complete peace" when he died.
"He knew that every sin that he had ever committed was forgiven," Kathie Lee said. "He had the hope that he would be with the Lord and that we would someday be with him as well."
She noted that he died instantly while watching TV, all dressed for church in what he knew was her favorite outfit.
"I'm grateful that the Lord took him that way because the only thing Frank was afraid of in his entire life was being a burden to those he loved," Kathie Lee said. "He never wanted to be hooked up to machines. He never wanted to lose his dignity. He'd seen so much of that through the years. I prayed that the Lord would take him the way he wanted to go."
She explained that their trip a few years ago to the Valley of Elah, where they picked up some of the stones like the one David threw to defeat Goliath, changed him. And she urged those who were watching to continue to carry out Frank's message.
"Frank would want you to do this today: If you see a stone somewhere, pick it up and ask yourself, 'What is my stone? What is the gift that only I can do in this world to make it a better place?' And spend your life trying to throw it well," Kathie Lee said. "And then he'd want you to stop a policeman and thank him for [his] service. He'd want you to stop every fireman and thank them."
She added: "He was so grateful. He knew what hard work was. He never had an entitled moment in his life. And we will miss him so much."
She also thanked her family, including her surrogate family members at Today, and those who've expressed their support to her.
"I want to thank everybody for your love and your texts and your tweets. Just the outpouring has been extraordinary," she said. "It's a heck of a way to find out how loved you are, but believe me my family got great strength and comfort from it."