Sunday, October 28, 2007
McGee funeral brings together Packers family
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Paul Hornung recalled his wild days
with Max McGee as hundreds of people gathered at a megachurch
Sunday to remember the talented and quirky Green Bay Packers
receiver who caught the first touchdown in Super Bowl history.
Hornung, Bart Starr, Fuzzy Thurston and other players from the
dominant Packers teams of the 1960s spoke at a service that drew as
many laughs as tears.
McGee died at age 75 on Oct. 20 when he fell while clearing
leaves from the roof of his home in Deephaven, a Minneapolis
Starr talked about how McGee stayed up all night partying before
Super Bowl I in 1967, his disheveled appearance prompting the
quarterback to think, "Oh my gosh, I hope Boyd Dowler doesn't go
Dowler separated his shoulder, as all Packers fans know, and
McGee finished with 138 yards receiving and two touchdowns as Green
Bay beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.
Hornung was McGee's roommate for 10 seasons. When Hornung
retired after the '67 Super Bowl, he said coach Vince Lombardi
decided to keep McGee on the roster for one more season, figuring
if he lost both players he would have nobody to fine for breaking
About 600 people filed into the auditorium at Grace Church as a
montage on two big screens showed sports clippings and photos of
McGee on the field and with his family.
McGee's wife, Denise, told the crowd her husband had been
suffering from Alzheimer's disease but spent several good days with
his family in the days before his death.
She said her fun-loving husband "was 75 years young."
McGee attended White Oak High School in East Texas.
McGee had successful broadcasting and business careers after his
football playing days ended. He became a partner in developing the
popular Chi-Chi's chain of Mexican restaurants and in 1979 became
an announcer for the Packer Radio Network with Jim Irwin until
retiring in 1998.
Irwin provided more levity for the service, recalling how McGee
would sometimes get his eras mixed up in the broadcast booth,
referring to "Brett Starr" and "Bart Favre."
Dowler paid tribute to McGee's loyalty.
"Max had my back and Paul's and Bart's and everybody's," he
said. "And we all had his."
In 1999, McGee and his wife, Denise, founded the Max McGee
National Research Center for Juvenile Diabetes at the Children's
Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. His brother suffered diabetes,
and Max and Denise's youngest son, Dallas, has the disease.
In addition to his wife and youngest son, McGee is survived by
another son, two daughters and several grandchildren.