UPPER MARLBORO, Md. - Funeral services were held Wednesday for Chief Zee, a longtime Washington Redskins fan well known for attending games wearing a faux American Indian headdress along with the team’s colors of burgundy and gold.
Zema Williams was remembered at a viewing and funeral held at First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Upper Marlboro, which was open to the public. The 75-year-old died last week in his Oxon Hill apartment.
Williams had been attending Redskins games since 1978 and many Redskins fans recognized him as an unofficial mascot for the team.
The team said in a statement last week after Williams’ passing:
"The Washington Redskins will always appreciate Zema Williams' unique passion and dedication to our football team and his fellow Washington Redskins' fans."
“He was just a super-loving guy,” said Williams’ son, Prentiss Smith. “I always enjoyed his conversation. Very optimistic man. Talking to him, he was always positive. He always shared a joke and laughed.”
Smith said he talked with his father about twice a week.
“When I look at my phone and see him calling, I knew it was always good,” he said. “There was never any bad news. He never told he didn’t feel bad. I never heard any of that. It was always good stuff.”
According to sources, FOX 5's Brody Logan has learned that the anonymous donor who paid for Williams' funeral is Redskins owner Daniel Snyder.
.@fox5dc can confirm the anonymous donor that paid for Chief Zee's funeral is Dan Snyder. He did the same for Sean Taylor's family in 2007— Brody Logan (@BrodyLogan) July 27, 2016
Encouraged by Williams' family, many fellow Redskins fans paid respect to the beloved 75-year-old by wearing their favorite Redskins gear at Wednesday's viewing.
"He brought excitement to the stadium and he always welcomed everyone, and I loved to hear his stories that he would tell me back in the day," said a Redskins fan at the viewing. "Just an outstanding guy and we will miss him."
"He is so much more than our mascot and so much more than the 'chief,'" said another fan. "He gave himself until the day he died. He did charity work up until the last days. That was important to him. Kids were important to him. We love him."