Former Packers lineman Gillingham dead at 67

CREATED Oct. 21, 2011

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  • Gale Gillngham. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel archives

GREEN BAY - A former Green Bay Packers lineman who played on both the Lombardi Super Bowl championship teams and the 1972 NFC Central champion Packers has died.

Gale Gillingham's former Packers teammate, Newsradio 620 WTMJ Packers color commentator and WFRV-TV sportscaster Larry McCarren, announced that Gillingham, 67, died while he was lifting weights at his home in Little Falls, Minn.

"He was quite simply the best offensive lineman I've ever seen, bar none.  Should have been in the (Pro Football) Hall of Fame," said McCarren, a Packers teammate of Gillingham's.

The five-time 1st-team All-Pro entered the Packers Hall of Fame in 1982.

Packers Coach and GM Vince Lombardi drafted Gillingham in 1966 and came off the bench for the Super Bowl I championship team.

A year later, he took the starting left guard job from long-time starter Fuzzy Thurston and was the other guard on the field besides Jerry Kramer on the famous goal-line quarterback sneak that won the "Ice Bowl," the 1967 NFL Championship Game, over the Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 31, 1967.

He also started for Dan Devine's 1972 division title-winning team before eventually moving to defensive lineman for a short time.  He played through 1974, and again in 1976 for the man who was his quarterback in the beginning years of his career in Green Bay, Bart Starr.

"Gilly," from Madison, eventually settled in Minnesota.