For more than 50 years, Bill Curry watched with admiration and brotherly love as he saw his friend Bart Starr live a life of integrity and interpersonal presence.
That friendship has been delayed by the death of his Green Bay Packers teammate and friend after a full life of 85 years.
You can make a decision on what sort of person a human being is by the way they treat people who can do nothing for them. Bart treated everybody with respect and love. It was awesome. It was to be in his presence and watch him with children or even arrogant drunks who would say things to him they shouldn’t say, and he would still unfailingly be kind and courteous to them. I think that’s what I’ll probably remember the most.”
Curry’s first experience of it came on the first day Curry became a Packer, in 1965.
“I was walking over to dinner by myself,” he recounted on Wisconsin’s Afternoon News.
“I was reporting two weeks late because of the College All-Star Game…I’m walking over to dinner. I’m a 20th round selection and they only had 20. Walking by my side is the great Bart Starr. I almost passed out. He invited me to his home with his wife Cherry and his boys. He invited me to go to church with him. It never changed. Through all the years, he remained by our side.”
31 years later, Starr also came to Curry in a deep moment of struggle after he found out he was being removed as head football coach at the University of Kentucky.
— 620wtmj (@620wtmj) May 28, 2019
“I lost my job at Kentucky and still had four games left to coach,” said Curry.
“I still wasn’t a very happy guy. I told my assistant I didn’t want to see anybody all day long. I wanted to be in my office focusing on what I had to get done with those players.
“She called and said ‘You have a visitor.’
“I said, ‘No, I don’t want a visitor. I don’t want to see anybody.’
“She said, ‘I don’t think you understand.’
“I said, ‘I do understand.’
“About that time, the door opened and Bart walked in. I said, ‘What are you doing in Lexington, Kentucky?’
“He said, ‘I came to see you.’
“I said, ‘You’ve got business here?’
” ‘Are you passing through?’
” ‘No. I told you I came to see you and I’m going to stay all day.’
“That is a friend.”