The passing of the original Green Bay Packers Golden Girl
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Long before the 1980′s hit TV series “The Golden Girls,” Green Bay had its own golden girls. They were the Packers cheerleaders from 1961 through 1972.
Sadly, the original Golden Girl, Mary Jane Sorgel, has passed away.
Growing up in Door County, Sorgel started dance lessons and baton twirling at a very young age.
In 1949, at the age of 17, the director of the Packers Lumberjack Band discovered her and invited her to perform with the band at halftime the following week.
Throughout the 1950′s, Sorgel became known as the Golden Girl at Lambeau Field.
Then in 1961, a new challenge.
“Coach Lombardi decided that it would be nice that I could start a group to be pom-pom girls and he’d like that so much,” Sorgel told NFL Films.
The Packers Golden Girls were formed and under Mary Jane’s direction became a shining light during the team’s golden era.
“Everybody worked so hard, we tried to be perfect, Coach Lombardi was very strict,” recalled Sorgel in a 2007 interview with WBAY.
That same year, Mary Jane met Packers founder and former player and coach Curly Lambeau.
“He was so interesting to talk to because he talked about the Packers and I loved the Packers so much,” explained Sorgel.
An instant connection was formed, even though Lambeau was in his 60′s, more than 30 years older.
The two dated until Lambeau’s sudden death in 1965.
As Packers legends received honors over the years, Sorgel continued to carry on the Golden Girls tradition, appearing at events.
But perhaps her biggest legacy can be tied to one simple, yet very familiar cheer.
“Coach Lombardi wanted to get the fans going and then I decided we’d do ‘Go Pack Go,’ and to this day I keep seeing they’re doing it again,” said Sorgel to NFL Films.
Sorgel described her life as a dream.
“It was wonderful.” she declared in 2009.
Mary Jane Sorgel was 89.
Her funeral is Friday, August 5 at 11:45 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Sturgeon Bay.
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