Lee Remmel, a man who has been associated with the Green Bay Packers since the Curly Lambeau era, will retire Dec. 31, celebrating a 62-year relationship with the storied franchise.
A member of the Packers' front office since 1974, Remmel led the organization's public relations and publicity efforts until 2004, when he became the Packers' team historian, an honor bestowed upon him by then-Packers CEO Bob Harlan. Prior to joining the team's front office, Remmel was a sportswriter and columnist for the Green Bay Press-Gazette for nearly 30 years, covering his first Packers game in 1945 in Milwaukee.
"It's time...and then some," Remmel said of his finishing up one of the NFL's most respected front office careers. "I have enjoyed a 62-year association with the Packers - first as a reporter for the Press-Gazette, and then 33 years as an employee of the organization. It's been a long and satisfying career for the greatest sports franchise in the universe.
"I have experienced many great moments over the past five-plus decades, and met so many great acquaintances and gained countless friends. I have been truly, truly fortunate...and for that I am thankful. Through my work, I hopefully have allowed our fans to gain a better understanding of our franchise, our players and our outstanding game. The memories have been priceless, and so have been our fans."
Remmel, 83, will leave a lasting legacy on the franchise, according to Packers Chairman Bob Harlan.
"Lee has been a great ambassador for the Green Bay Packers for many years," said Harlan. "He is a class individual who has served this organization with the utmost professionalism and respect. Many people involved in this game and around the NFL have such great respect for him. His relationships with people are what have served him so well - with the media, with the fans, everyone. He is the consummate professional."
"He's a Packers icon," said Packers quarterback Brett Favre. "There will never be another like him. His knowledge of the team and its history has always been impressive. He is sharp as a tack when it came to those things - truly impressive. He's always had a great sense of humor, too. We loved to give each other a hard time. I cherish our friendship."
In the course of his two "careers," Remmel was involved in the staffing of the first 40 Super Bowls, the first eight representing the Press-Gazette, the next 22 as a member of the National Football League's auxiliary media relations staff, the 1996-97 seasons with the Packers' front office and again the next eight years with the NFL. During the week leading up to Super Bowl XL, Remmel was recognized as one of 12 media contributors (print, photography, public relations) who had worked the first 40 Super Bowls; he was the lone representative in the public relations category.
Remmel also was a member of the NFL public relations directors' Professional Football Writers of America liaison, statistics and NFL Films committees.
While at the Press-Gazette, he was the only sportswriter in Wisconsin to have been directly involved in coverage of the Packers throughout all of the team's coaching regimes to that point, beginning with Packers founder E.L. 'Curly' Lambeau and continuing until the naming of Bart Starr. He witnessed his 100th Packers-Bears game on Nov. 12, 1995, in the 150th regular-season meeting of the arch enemies, and has attended 123 overall.
Remmel's better than half-century of close association with the Packers was duly recognized on March 30, 1996, when he was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame. An additional honor was bestowed upon him in August 2003 when the Packers' press box at the redeveloped Lambeau Field was named, "The Lee Remmel Press Box."
Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, in recognizing Remmel's impact on the team, its fans and the league as a whole, said earlier this decade, "Lee Remmel has played an important role in National Football League history. From the 1940s when he began covering the Packers for the Green Bay Press-Gazette to his role today as the club's top public relations official, Lee has spent his career informing Packers fans about their team. The NFL serves more fans than any other sport, and Lee has served Packers fans longer than anyone else in club history - for more than half a century. His tremendous depth of Packers knowledge is immensely valuable both to the club and the league. The Packers are a vital part of the NFL tradition and no one is more synonymous with the Packers than Lee Remmel."
In 1967, he was voted Wisconsin 'Sports Writer of the Year.' He also is a past president of the former Wisconsin Pro Football Writers' Association. Remmel, a native of Shawano, Wis., began his career as the sports editor of a weekly newspaper while a Shawano High School freshman. He and his wife, Noreen, will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary next August.
Active in the community, the annual Lee Remmel Sports Awards Banquet, honoring Wisconsin professional, collegiate, amateur and prep athletes, has been held the past 10 Aprils, raising over $150,000 for scholarship funds at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, St. Norbert College and area high schools.
He and his wife also served as honorary co-chairs of the annual Brown County Humane Society's 'Fur Ball' in 2000, 2001 and 2004, and are members of the executive committee of the Brown County Civic Music Association. Lee additionally is on the executive board of the 65 Roses Sports Club (cystic fibrosis) and the board of directors of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, Inc.