McGee funeral brings together Packers family

Updated: October 28, 2007, 10:25 PM ET
Associated Press

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 suburb.

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 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 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.

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.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

ALSO SEE