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June 26, 2019

5/31/2019 9:40:00 AM
Remembering a legend
J. Patrick Reilly

I grew up with the Green Bay Packers in the Vince Lombardi era when players played for each other instead of the dollar. If you asked me which Packer was my favorite, I would have to say all of them. But one in particular stood out and that was the legendary quarterback Bart Starr.
Just the name rings true with football.
Starr quarterbacked the Packers from 1956 through 1971 and was the only quarterback in NFL history to lead a team to three consecutive league championships (1965-1967). Starr led his team to victories in the first two Super Bowls: I and II. As the Packers' head coach, he was less successful, compiling a 52-76-3 (.408) record from 1975 through 1983.
Starr was named the Most Valuable Player of the first two Super Bowls and during his career earned four Pro Bowl selections. He won the league MVP award in 1966. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Packers Hall of Fame in 1977.
Starr has the highest postseason passer rating of any quarterback in NFL history and a postseason record of 9-1. His career completion percentage of 57.4 was an NFL best when he retired in 1972. Starr also held the Packers' franchise record for games played for 32 years, through the 2003 season.
Sounds like a great life, right.
But Bart Starr had some tough times growing up.  His father's reserve unit was activated for WWII and he was sent to the Pacific Theatre. He later transferred to the US Air Force.
His brother stepped on a dog bone in the yard and three days later died of tetanus. He and his father grew apart after that tragedy.
He did not try out for football until his sophomore year in high school and three weeks into the season he tried to quit. His father told him if he quit he had to work in the family garden so he returned to the sport.
There were glitches along the way but the one thing that always was there for Bart Starr was football and later the Green Bay Packers.
Bart Starr died May 26 at the age of 85. He was a lot of things in his life but perhaps the most important was that he was a great human being and a remarkable role model. He was not about the awards but he was about team and family and community.
That is how it should be.
We are all better off having Bart Starr in our lives and we are among the many who should feel that way.
We are sorry for this huge loss.

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