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The Grave of Curly Lambeau

by Randy Snow

Original to www.theworldoffootball.com, Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Before Vince Lombardi became the head coach of the Green Bay Packers in 1959, and led the team to victories in the first two Super Bowls, there was another man who was the face of the franchise.

Earl “Curly” Lambeau was born in a small house at 615 North Irwin Avenue in Green Bay on April 9, 1898. He graduated from local East High School and went on to play one season of college football at Notre Dame in 1917. He played for legendary college football coach Knute Rockne. He got sick following the football season, returned home and never went back to school.

On August 11, 1919, he and the editor of the Green Bay Press-Gazette newspaper, George Calhoun, met and agreed to form a semi-pro football team in Green Bay. The agreement was finalized on August 14. The team was originally sponsored by the Indian Packing Company, which gave them their nickname, the Packers.

The Packers played as an Independent team for two seasons and then was granted entry into the American Professional Football Association in 1921. The APFA changed its name to the National Football League in 1922.

Lambeau was a player/coach on the team from 1919 - 1929. He played fullback, tailback and end.

As the head coach, Lambeau led the Packers to three consecutive NFL titles (1929-1931) and three more titles in 1936, 1939 and 1944.

Following the 1949 season, Lambeau resigned as head coach of the Packers and became the vice president and head coach of the Chicago Cardinals in 1950 and 1951. He ended his head coaching career with the Washington Redskins in 1952 and 1953.  

His overall NFL coaching record with the Packers was 209 wins, 104 losses and 21 ties.

From 1925-1956, the Packers played in City Stadium. They moved into a new stadium in 1957, which was known as New City Stadium. After Curly Lambeau passed away on June 1, 1965, at the age of 67, the city voted to rename New City Stadium in his honor. It has since been known as Lambeau Field.

The old City Stadium is still in use today. It sits next door to East High School and is used by the school for its high school football games. Lambeau is not the only football legend to graduate from East High School in Green Bay. Jim Crowley, a member of The Four Horsemen of Notre Dame, also graduated from the school.

Curly Lambeau was a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963 and was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1970.

Finding His Grave

Curly Lambeau is buried in the Allouez Catholic Cemetery in Green Bay, which dates back to 1822. The address is 2121 Riverside Drive. However, if you enter the cemetery from Webster Avenue, which is on the other side of the cemetery from Riverside Drive, you will have a much easier time finding his grave. As you enter from Webster Avenue, look for a sign that says Section H, where Lambeau is buried, and then follow the road to the left. There is a large white marker with the family name Lambeau a few rows back on your right. Curly’s marker is much smaller and located in front of the larger Lambeau marker.

The cemetery is located just 3.5 miles from Lambeau’s birthplace and 3 miles from East High School.

There are also two other former Packers players buried in the same cemetery; halfback Tony Canadeo and punter/kicker Dale Livingston.

Canadeo played college football at Gonzaga where he earned the nickname, The Grey Ghost. He was the third player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season (1949). This was during Lambeau’s final season as head coach. His jersey number (3) has been retired by the team. He was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1973 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1974. Canadeo passed away in 2003 at the age of 84 and his final resting place is in the cemetery’s mausoleum. 

Livingston played college football at Eastern Michigan University and Western Michigan University. He went on to play in the American Football League for the Cincinnati Bengals from 1968-1969 and then for the Packers in 1970. He was inducted into the Western Michigan University Sports Hall of Fame in 2007. Livingston passed away in 2009 at the age of 63.  

Today, there are larger than life statues of Lambeau and Lombardi right outside of Lambeau Field. And just five miles away, on the other side of the Fox River, you will find the final resting place of Curly Lambeau, the man who started it all and brought a small town in Wisconsin to national prominence on the gridiron.  


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