Dick Deschaine, the Green Bay Packers' first true kicking specialist, died Sunday at age 87. He was a native of Menominee, Mich., and had lived in Green Bay since his pro football career ended 60 years ago.
Deschaine served as the Packers' punter from 1955 to 1957, averaging 42.6 yards on 181 punts. Although he also practiced as an offensive end, he was the first player the Packers kept on their roster to basically perform exclusively as a kicker or punter.
Deschaine was a high school football star in Menominee and participated in what is still the country's oldest interstate high school football rivalry between two public schools. Menominee and Marinette, Wis., began playing each other in 1894. Deschaine joined the Marines after high school and never played college football, although he played semipro ball for the Marinette-Menominee Hornets.
Less than five months ago, Deschaine was featured on packers.com.
"What a punter, he was," former teammate Max McGee, who also was a former punter, said of Deschaine in 2006. "He had a great leg. But he wasn't real fast. He had a few blocked. But he could just drill the ball.
"He was a better punter than I was. But when I came back, they could only keep X amount of people and they couldn't keep a specialist. So I got the punting job and they let him go. But Dick could kick the ball so high. He had a powerful leg."
McGee, a Packers Hall of Fame receiver, served as the team's punter in 1954, missed two years when he was in service, returned in 1957 and then punted again from 1958 to 1962.
Deschaine finished his NFL career with Cleveland in 1958. The roster limit at the time was 35.
Funeral arrangements are pending, but services will be held May 31 at St. Bernard Catholic Church in Green Bay. Hansen Family Funeral & Cremation Services is handling arrangements.