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Cherry Starr, philanthropist wife of the late Green Bay Packers quarterback Bart Starr, dies at 89

FILE - Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Bart Starr, left, and his wife Cherry Starr appear at the Packers Hall of Fame in Green Bay, Wis., Sept. 18, 2010, to announce their donation of three of Bart's World Championship rings, Cherry's necklace and other items. Philanthropist Cherry Starr has died Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, according to Rawhide Youth Services, an organization that helps at-risk youth that the couple worked closely with. (Corey Wilson/The Green Bay Press-Gazette via AP, File)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Cherry Starr, the philanthropist wife of former Green Bay Packers quarterback and coach Bart Starr, has died. She was 89.

Rawhide Youth Services, an organization that helps at-risk youth that the couple worked closely with, posted a video tribute to Cherry Starr that notes she died on Tuesday.

The Starr Children's Fund, an endowment the Starrs created to finance childhood cancer research, said in an online obituary that she passed away peacefully at her home in Birmingham, Alabama. The obituary did not mention a cause of death.

Her son, Bart Starr, Jr., told WBAY-TV that she had been battling cancer for years.

Cherry and Bart were high school sweethearts and were married for more than 60 years before Bart died in 2019. He led the Packers to league championships in 1961, 1962, 1965 and 1966 as well as victories in the first Super Bowl in 1967 and the second Super Bowl in 1968. He was named NFL MVP in 1966 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977. He also served as the Packers’ head coach from 1975 through 1983.

Cherry is survived by Bart Starr, Jr., three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. The Starrs' son Bret died in 1988.

“She was a figurative mother to many more,” the Starr Children’s Fund obituary said.

The Starr Children's Fund noted on its website that the couple served as honorary chairpersons of the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation's Golf Classic for 44 years. After Bart's death, Cherry continued his tradition of writing letters to every starting quarterback in the NFL at the beginning of each season asking for an autographed helmet to auction off during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month each September.

“Just the sweetest presence ever when she came through our offices,” Andrew Brandt, a former Packers vice president of player personnel, posted Tuesday on X, formerly known as Twitter.

She last visited Green Bay in 2022, Bart Starr Jr. told WBAY-TV.

“To her final breath, she would always talk about how she missed getting up there,” he said. “In the obituary I drafted today after she passed away, I noted the favorite trips she would have, it was not going to Alaska, it wasn't going to Hawaii. It was going to Green Bay.”

The Associated Press

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