Monday, December 15, 2014

“Fuzzy” Thurston Remembered

On Sunday, while watching an unfortunate performance by the Packers in Buffalo, our phone buzzed with a news alert that Fred “Fuzzy” Thurston had passed away. Sadly, we were not surprised after seeing him signing autographs with Jerry Kramer in the Packers Pro Shop on October 18th. We hadn’t seen him for a while, and it was obvious that he had been experiencing health problems. Not long ago, we read that he was in the last days of his life.

Fuzzy was a legend in Green Bay, because of his playing days for the Lombardi teams, sure. But also for his unfailing support of the team he loved, and as a business man in the city. We visited his establishment, “Shenanigans,” several times in its two locations over many years. The hat that he signed will be in our collection forever. He was the kind of guy that you assumed would always be around, cheering on the Packers.

But the stars of what we refer to as “The Glory Years” are aging, as all of us are. The Packers’ success over the last 20 years has been very enjoyable, but the Green Bay teams of the 1960’s will always hold a special place in our lives — for those of us who grew up in that era. As you’ve noticed here in Packerville, U.S.A., there is a heavy emphasis on that era. Here’s to you, Fuzzy, you gave us all many things to remember.

In 2006, Fuzzy published a book titled, “What A Wonderful World: A Story of Personal Triumph.” Luckily, we purchased a copy at Fuzzy’s bar and had him autograph it. It is now an expensive acquisition, but the stories and photos would make it worth it for anyone interested in this era of Packers’ history. We thought we would post just a few of the selection of images from the book here, in honor of Fuzzy. Above, a candid shot of Vince Lombardi and Fuzzy in 1968.

An early photo of Fuzzy with his mother at the family home in Altoona, Wisconsin. 

Fuzzy, lower row center, on the Valparaiso University basketball team. 

Fuzzy sitting on the Packers bench with RB Paul Hornung

Posing with T Bob Skoronski

Playing on the Packers’ offseason traveling basketball team in the 1960’s. 

Posing at “Shenanigans” with fans. 

Mike Holmgren with Fuzzy in Lambeau Field. 

Fuzzy with three 1996 Packers you may have heard of: C Frank Winters, QB Brett Favre, and TE Mark Chmura. They brought another Lombardi Trophy home to Green Bay. 

From the back cover of the book, a photo of Fuzzy at Lambeau Field.
Lombardi-era photos by Vernon and Jim Biever


Anonymous said...

Very nice memorial to Fuzzy. Thanks for posting...

Fred Thurston said...

Thank you for the nice piece on my grandpa!