Monday, December 15, 2014

RIP Fuzzy Thurston

From the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune:
Fuzzy Thurston, a key player on Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers championship teams of the 1960s, died Sunday after a long illness. He was 15 days shy of his 81st birthday.
His family announced the death on Sunday afternoon via Twitter, prompting an outpouring of sympathy messages from Packers fans.
"My favorite memory of Fuzzy was when he was in Eau Claire signing autographs for a fundraiser; he was wearing a Super Bowl ring, and I was in awe," recalled Packers fan Jason Christopherson of Osseo. "Fuzzy must have noticed. He looked up at me, smiled, took the ring off, and handed it to me to look at. Still the only time I have ever held one.
"He was just a special human being who loved interacting with his fans."
The 6-foot-1, 247-pound Thurston, whose given name was Frederick, teamed with fellow guard Jerry Kramer to clear the way for running backs Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor as part of the famed Green Bay power sweep. He played in 112 games for the Packers, retiring after the 1967 season. He played on five NFL championship teams under Lombardi and was a first-team All-Pro in 1961.
"I got to know Fuzzy over the years and I met him at, I believe, the '06 Fan Fest and he was great," Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said after Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills. "He was a Packer legend and that's rough. We lost a great one."
Baltimore Colts coach Weeb Ewbank reluctantly traded Thurston to the Packers for journeyman linebacker Marv Matuszak in 1959. The Colts were set at guard with Alex Sandusky and Art Spinney, and Ewbank couldn't wait for Thurston, a rising star, John Unitas Jr. said in his book "Johnny U and Me: The Man Behind The Golden Arm."
I remember Fuzzy, watching him on TV and seeing him play in Milwaukee.  He also owned/invested several restaurants, The Left Guard.
Another great Packer is now playing football in heaven.

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