Max McGee Remembered
Max McGee caught two touchdown passes in Super Bowl I. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) -- Paul Hornung recalled his wild days with Max McGee as hundreds of fans, football legends and friends gathered at a megachurch Sunday to remember the talented and quirky Green Bay Packers receiver who caught the first touchdown in Super Bowl history.
Paul Hornung, Bart Starr, Fuzzy Thurston and other players from the dominant Packers teams of the 1960s spoke at a nearly two-hour service that drew as many laughs as tears. Friends from outside the game also spoke.
McGee died at age 75 on Oct. 20 when he fell while clearing leaves from the roof of his home in Deephaven, a Minneapolis suburb.
Starr told an oft-repeated story, recalling 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 down."
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 legendary 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 the rules.
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. In the background played Frank Sinatra singing "My Way."
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 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 at the service, telling how McGee would sometimes get his eras mixed up in the broadcast booth, referring to "Brett Starr" and "Bart Favre."
Mostly, though, McGee was remembered as a trusted friend.
Dowler said the old athletes' maxim, "I've got your back," was true with McGee.
"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 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.
Paul and Charmin Andrews, of Richfield, came to the service to pay their respects. Paul proposed to Charmin at the Vikings-Packers game at Lambeau Field in 1991. The couple once met McGee at the Original Pancake House restaurant in Edina, which McGee owned, and he showed them his Super Bowl I ring.
"Growing up listening to him and Jim on the radio -- you felt like you knew him," said Charmin Andrews, who grew up in Wisconsin.
Said Paul Andrews: "He's just what they said he was -- a very giving and kind man."
The state Assembly plans to honor the late Max McGee, one of the most colorful characters in Green Bay Packers history.
The Assembly plans to adopt a resolution honoring McGee's achievements during tomorrow's session. McGee died October 20th when he fell off the roof of his home in suburban Minneapolis. McGee caught the first touchdown pass in Super Bowl history in Green Bay's 35-10 victory over Kansas City in 1967. Still hung over from the night before, McGee caught seven passes for 138 yards and two scores on the day. He went on to become a broadcaster with the Packers Radio Network and helped develop the Chi-Chi's restaurant chain. (Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
The Assembly plans to adopt a resolution honoring McGee's achievements during tomorrow's session.
McGee died October 20th when he fell off the roof of his home in suburban Minneapolis.
McGee caught the first touchdown pass in Super Bowl history in Green Bay's 35-10 victory over Kansas City in 1967. Still hung over from the night before, McGee caught seven passes for 138 yards and two scores on the day.
He went on to become a broadcaster with the Packers Radio Network and helped develop the Chi-Chi's restaurant chain.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)