Harbaugh mourns loss of 'Grandpa Joe'

Harbaugh thanks Buck, Aikman for paying tribute to coach's late grandfather

Harbaugh mourns loss of 'Grandpa Joe'
January 13, 2014, 3:45 pm
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He was watching the Green Bay game a week ago, and he took credit for Colin Kaepernick’s performance. He said when he put the 49ers hat on the 49ers scored a touchdown. And he’s just a wonderful, amazing man.
Jim Harbaugh on 'Grandpa Joe'

Programming note: For comprehensive 49ers-Seahawks coverage tune in to 49ers Central tonight at 6:30 on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.SANTA CLARA – Coach Jim Harbaugh learned Sunday morning that his grandfather, Joe Cipiti, passed away. He was 98.

SANTA CLARA – Coach Jim Harbaugh learned Sunday morning that his grandfather, Joe Cipiti, passed away. He was 98.

“It was sad, and I kind of felt that sadness all day,” Harbaugh said Monday, one day after the 49ers’ 23-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs.

“But I know he’s got a new audience now to tell his stories to. He is an amazing storyteller. He’s a poet of life and a man that was all about family.”

“Grandpa Joe” made several trips from his home in Ohio to visit the 49ers. He attended Super Bowl XLVIII to witness his grandsons, Jim and John, coach against each other.

“He was watching the Green Bay game a week ago, and he took credit for Colin Kaepernick’s performance,” Harbaugh said. “He said when he put the 49ers hat on the 49ers scored a touchdown. And he’s just a wonderful, amazing man.”

Harbaugh expressed gratitude to FOX TV broadcasters Joe Buck and Troy Aikman for their kind words during Sunday’s game.

“They just did a wonderful job,” Harbaugh said. “I wanted to thank them for that. Both Joe and Troy, the way they talked about it, you could hear it in their voice that they understood family and they just had a great understanding of what our grandpa meant to us. So, I appreciate those guys for that.”

Harbaugh said he would not be able to attend Cipiti's memorial service, which is scheduled for Friday, due to preparations to travel to Seattle for the NFC Championship game on Sunday.

"Bit of a crushing blow there," Harbaugh said. "But Grandpa Joe is with me and I’m with him, and he knows that."