WALTHAM — Clad in Red Sox jackets and hats, mourners gathered at a funeral home chapel here Thursday for the public wake for Red Sox Hall of Famer and longtime broadcaster Jerry Remy, who died Saturday at the age of 68.
Over six hours, hundreds of mourners, some clutching souvenirs, paid respects to Remy at the Mary Catherine Chapel of Brasco & Sons Memorial Funeral Home.
To life-long Red Sox fans like EJ Salfity, who said he’s watched the Sox since 1975, Remy embodied the heart and spirit of the team and its proud fan base.
“He’s the president of Red Sox Nation. He’s the RemDawg,” said Salfity, referring to the team’s fan club and Remy’s nickname. “He played with a lot of people, and he touched people’s hearts here in New England. He was amazing. He was the Red Sox.”
Ray Hoefling of West Newton admired Remy’s skill as a color analyst for the televised games.
“He was terrific about helping people understand the game,” Hoefling said. “He had the uncanny ability to tell the fans what should happen, then we’d watch what he’d said happen. He was a student of the game.”
Some signed large poster boards outside the front door, leaving notes for Remy, who died after a 13-year battle with lung cancer.
“God bless uncle Remy,” one person wrote. “A beautiful man who led a beautiful life,” wrote another.
Wayne Brasco, owner of the funeral home, said the six-hour wake was held to allow fans to say goodbye to Remy, the Red Sox second baseman from 1978 to 1984, before joining the NESN broadcast booth.
Inside the small chapel, bouquets of flowers guided attendees through six decades of memories — Remy’s old game notes, the team’s 1978 starting roster with notes scribbled on the side, and baseball cards. Two TVs played a loop of his signature moments, including the late broadcaster’s air guitar warm-up routine.
At the front of the room was a painting of him from his playing years, framed by flowers and his hall of fame plaque. Beneath the painting, a home plate.
Charlene Sawyer walked out of the funeral home, handkerchief in hand wiping away tears. She drove an hour from Gloucester to pay her respects to “someone you really felt like you knew, even if you didn’t actually know him.”
“What’s funny is I don’t always remember what took place on the field when I think about the games — he just had such a silly personality,” she said.
Sawyer became a Red Sox fan after moving to Somerville in 1995. She “got hooked” watching Pedro Martinez send fastballs whizzing by batters while sitting in a bar one night. While she never saw Remy play, she said she’ll never forget his razor-sharp analysis and his hijinks in the booth.
“It’s been weird, the last few months without him,” said Sawyer. “I miss him. I think we all miss him.”
John Leger, 60, was visiting a client in Needham when he heard about the wake on the radio and decided to drop by. Losing Remy, he said, was like losing an uncle.
“That’s the kind of pain I feel,” said Leger, who lives in Littleton.
“He’s unlike any other broadcaster,” Leger said. “He was genuine, sincere, and you sense that he’s a fan like us. A lot of us appreciate a hometown broadcaster who’s also a fan of the team. And you could tell that he was.”
Leger grew up watching the Red Sox and listening to Remy. His favorite games were the lopsided ones, when Remy and Dennis Eckersley “would go a bit off the rails.”
“That was world-class entertainment,” he said. “The Sox could be getting pounded and I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen.”
Asked his favorite memory of Remy, he responded “that’s like asking me to pick my favorite Beatles song. There are so many that I think of over the years. He was just a master of his craft.”
Wayne Lheureux, 36, a Red Sox security staffer, said he often ran into Remy in the hallway or bathroom.
“He always had a joke to tell,” said Lheureux. “He was just this jovial, friendly guy. What you saw on TV was exactly who he was in person.”
Remy’s death was “more than just losing an icon,” Lheureux said. “It was losing a friend.”
“When you grew up watching someone and then start working with them, your mindset changes,” he said. “It was working with an icon, but he also became a friend. So this feels like losing a family member or a friend.”
Ellen Murphy, 74, walked up to the funeral home clutching a prized, chiseled bobblehead of Remy at an NESN desk next to former play-by-play announcer Don Orsillo.
She walked out of the wake without it, explaining she’d left it on display for other fans to see.
“They wanted it, and I said definitely,” said Murphy, who lives in Lexington. “Other people should see it.”
Kathleen Kourian, 72, recalled interviewing Remy on a local sports talk show on Bedford cable television in the late 1980s, soon after he joined the Red Sox broadcast booth.
“He was perfectly professional and courteous and happy to answer questions,” said Kourian, dressed in a Red Sox jacket, standing on a sidewalk. “He was everything you’d think he was from watching his broadcasts.”
Travis Andersen of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.