BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WFRV) — The family of Bart Starr announced today that the Packers legend has died at the age of 85.
In a statement, the family said, “We are saddened to note the passing of our husband, father, grandfather, and friend, Bart Starr. He battled with courage and determination to transcend the serious stroke he suffered in September 2014, but his most recent illness was too much to overcome.”
Starr spent 16 years as the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, leading the team to victory in Super Bowls I and II. Starr was also the MVP of both Super Bowls, won 5 NFL Championships with the Packers, and was named to the Pro Bowl 4 times. Bart Starr was drafted in the 17th round in 1956 as the 200th overall selection. He was with the Packers as their quarterback from 1956-1971 and as the head coach from 1975-1983.
Starr and his wife Cherry also helped John and Jan Gillespie found Rawhide Boys Ranch back in 1965. The Ranch’s mission is to help at-risk youth and families lead healthy and responsible lives.
The full statement from the Starr family:
“We are saddened to note the passing of our husband, father, grandfather, and friend, Bart Starr. He battled with courage and determination to transcend the serious stroke he suffered in September 2014, but his most recent illness was too much to overcome.
While he may always be best known for his success as the Packers quarterback for 16 years, his true legacy will always be the respectful manner in which he treated every person he met, his humble demeanor, and his generous spirit.
Our family wishes to thank the thousands of friends and fans who have enriched his life – and therefore our lives – for so many decades and especially during the past five years. Each letter, text, phone call, and personal visit inspired him and filled him with joy.
His love for all of humanity is well known, and his affection toward the residents of Alabama and of Wisconsin filled him with gratitude. He had hoped to make one last trip to Green Bay to watch the Packers this fall, but he shall forever be there in spirit.”
Bart Starr was the most kind, thoughtful and classiest person you could ever know. I consider myself extremely lucky to have called him friend and to have been mentioned in the same breath. Deanna and I are praying for Cherry and the Starr family. #RIPBartStarr — Brett Favre (@BrettFavre) May 26, 2019
Lambeau Field was full of guests and many found their ways into the museum, gathering around any exhibit featuring Bart Starr.
“He did a lot for his community, which is really great,” said Crystal Marchel. “I know he loved this area.”
“One of the all-time greats,” said Dave Isaacson. “Meant the world to the organization.”
“Well, I learned to figure out who he was even with the helmet on,” said Ann Johnson.
“We saw a winner, a leader, a guy that ran Vince Lombardi’s offense the way he wanted to run it,” said Paul Hayes, who had just gotten married at Lambeau Field over the weekend. “That’s why he didn’t have the big inflated number like they have nowadays. He was a winner is what he was.”
Bart Starr’s list of accolades reads like a telephone book: five NFL Championships, two Super Bowls, two-time Super Bowl MVP, and he is tied with Brett Favre for most seasons in a Packers uniform at 16.
“He was a great player. He was the most iconic player in Green Bay history,” he said. “The plunging over in the Ice Bowl at the last minute. If he hadn’t had made it, that game would have been lost. Which it wasn’t.”
Surprises like Starr do not come around all that often.
“He was drafted in ’56 in the 17th round and he wasn’t even going to be the quarterback by the previous coaches,” said Hayes. “Vince Lombardi recognized right away that he was the guy.”
Starr leaves behind a legacy, living on in the memories he has created for Titletown.
“He’s meant so much to this franchise and he’s number one in most of our hearts,” he said. “We’ll all miss him in Packerland, Bart Starr. He had the classic last name: Starr. Because he was.”