What an interesting and exciting woman I was able to sit with and interview for this month's Behind the Bench! In the past you've been able to read about players' wives only. This year we've put a little twist on it. For the month of November, you get to find out more about Delores Weaver, whose husband J. Wayne Weaver, is chairman and CEO of the Jacksonville Jaguars. You're in for a real treat!
Sybol Delores Barr was born September 13 in Columbus, Georgia, to Colon and Claudia Adams Barr. "Doley," as her father used to call her, is the younger of two daughters. Colon worked with the city while Delores was growing up, later on owning different service stations in town. Claudia was a stay at home mom. During her school years, Delores enjoyed playing volleyball and softball. She always wanted to take dance lessons, but her father wanted for her to learn the piano instead. She took piano lessons for about five years and readily admits she cannot find middle c today In junior high, Delores also enjoyed being a majorette. In high school she was a member of several organizations, including the Future Business Leaders of America, Behind the Scenes Club, Student Council, and was an officer and spokesperson for Tri-Hi-Y (an in-school girls program within the YMCA, there was no YWCA at the time). Outside of school activities Delores was a Rainbow Girl (a group of girls whose fathers were part of the Masonic order.)
During the summer of 1952, Delores worked at a dress shop in town called the Darling Shop. The manager was Mrs. Ouida Bonnoyer, who just so happened to be the mother of a certain young man named Wayne Weaver! Delores started out at the shop as a sales person, but by Mrs. Bonnoyer's standards wasn't too successful at that. However, she had already fallen in love with the sweet young girl and didn't want to fire her, so she put her to work as a cashier. Delores also worked the inventory for the shop with a German woman whose accent was so thick that no one BUT Delores could understand it!! She had saved her job with the woman that would become her mother-in-law. On Saturdays, that certain young man would come into his mother's store straight from military school. Since that was the day Delores worked during the school year she couldn't help but take attention to the handsome boy in uniform. But what really attracted her to him was the co-worker who stated so matter-of-factly, "That Wayne Weaver...his mother thinks nobody's good enough for him." Being one to take on a good challenge, Delores started dating Wayne late in the summer of '53, after he had graduated from high school!! It was also during this time that Delores had a really special experience. Friends of her family, who were at Fort Benning, had introduced her to a young man who was studying at the Officer Cadet School. He was alone and had no other female figures in his life. When it came time to graduate and receive his bars, they had asked if Delores would like to pin them on his uniform, representing his moving up to lieutenant. What a neat honor it was for her "to be a part of the "pomp and ceremony"!
Delores went on to graduate from high school in June of 1954. With the help of her father, she started working as a secretary for a moving company. She and Wayne were still dating and getting more and more serious about each other. So serious that his mother even took Delores to look at rings. Not only that, but she was adamant that her son go and talk with Mrs. Barr to let her know of his and Delores' intentions. Wayne then proposed to his love at Christmas of that same year. They were then married February 26, 1955.
Delores moved with Wayne to Norfolk, VA when he was transferred, in '56. It proved to be a short stay, however, as they were transferred back to Columbus in '57, only to leave again in '58 for Newport News, VA. At this time, their dreams and goals for their life together were of making $10,000 a year and of someday owning a $35,000 home. It never entered their minds to own a football team and live in Jacksonville, Florida. What was on their minds was their next move which took them to St. Louis, Missouri in 1960. It was lucky for Delores that when Wayne was transferred, Delores could also transfer to another AT&T office, as she was working for the telephone company at the time. Once they moved to St. Louis, though, they made it their "home." For the next twenty years, the Weavers made a life for themselves, adding onto their brood with two children, Brad and Leigh. Delores discontinued her work at AT&T and became a very busy stay at home mom. Often, she was both mom and dad 24-7 as Wayne did much traveling with his work. Then in 1979, the Weavers left their life in St. Louis behind and moved to Connecticut to start up 9 West. In '93, a family member approached Wayne and Delores about starting an NFL franchise team in Jacksonville. They became interested right away and were given a chance that same year. They began their transition from Connecticut to Florida in '94 and spent much of the '95 season living here, although their current home wasn't finished until '96. When asked to name her favorite place to live, without hesitation Delores named Jacksonville. She loves the city, the people, the team. But she also named St. Louis. She said that it was a very special time in her life. It was her home and the birthplace of her children. It holds a lot of sentimental value.
The path her life has taken her on has afforded her the opportunities to do many things, some pretty extraordinary in nature. For example, in 1990, Delores and Wayne traveled to Africa. She wanted to visit the country, but he didn't, so she found a tour group that had two packages in a row that appealed to both of them. They camped out on the land, under the stars. Their trip even included a climb to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro! Delores remembers that moment showing her what she was really made of. With all of the travels under her belt, she would still like to see the Silver Back Gorillas in Rwanda. She thinks they're so beautiful and majestic and would like to visit them in their habitat someday. For right now, though, Delores is staying busy enough right here in Jacksonville. She loves working and feels privileged to be able to do what she does. She is highly committed to making a difference in others' lives through the Jaguars Foundation, The Weaver Family Foundation and throughout the community. Outside of work, Delores has little time for any hobbies, but she does enjoy getting to hang out with her two grandchildren, Morgan, 15, and Nash, 2. She looks forward to the first Thanksgiving in a long time with all her family.
Delores says that the most important/best part about the NFL for her is that the Jaguars and the whole league have opened doors that would never have been opened otherwise. She's been given the opportunity to be heard, make all kinds of contacts, and ultimately, make a difference in this community. Her advice to other women is to have the confidence to do whatever it is you want to do. Know and realize that you CAN do it. Lastly, when asked what her favorite thing about Jacksonville is, Delores said the people. They are good people and she and Wayne have always been welcomed, since the beginning. As for her dreams now and how they've changed since she was a newlywed, all that's on her mind is winning a Super Bowl. I think that's one dream that thousands of us are wishing for, with her!!