Happy birthday to a legendary Packer fan

One of the greatest Packer fans and kindest people we know turns 82-years old tomorrow.
John Spalding officially joined our family in 1971 when he and his wife Pat stood as godparents to my youngest sister. He legally became a member of our family 24 years later when, following the deaths of their respective spouses, he and my mother married.
Through all of those years, he has treated our family with love and respect.
Each year at Christmas John gives my siblings and me a special gift honoring the memory of our father. One year he commissioned an artist to create a beautiful scrapbook with copies of the photos and mementos my mom had collected through the years. Another year, he gave each of us a framed picture of our dad, RonKostelnik, tackling former Chicago Bear great Gale Sayers, autographed by Mr.Sayers.
A successful businessman, John spent his Sundays from 1960 through 1988 on the sidelines during Packers games working as a pencil and paper statistician. Hetracked player minutes for the Packers under coaches Lombardi, Devine, Gregg and Starr.
His devotion to Green Bay only grew once he retired from the team.
Last year, against all advice, John flew from sunny Florida to Chicago for the NFC Championship game and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, despite the 17 degree temperature and 26 below wind chill. He has attended every Packer Super Bowl since 1967.
Yesterday, John once again spent his Sunday afternoon at LambeauField, cheering the Packers on to a 13-0 record and 19th consecutive win.
Unlike his beloved team so far this season, John is not perfect. Due to a raging chocolate addiction, his go-to meal when my mother is not around consists of a chocolate shake and a handful of chocolate chip cookies.  
And he drives large cars with blissful ignorance of the road rage he inspires. I once sat in the passenger seat on a drive from Tampa to Long Boat Key and lost count of the angry gestures from passing motorists I ducked.
But he’s an intelligent man with an inspiring faith both in histeam and in his God and we’re hoping 2012 brings him nothing but joy.
Here are the hearty members of our family who sat through the
bitter cold 2010 NFC Championship Game in Chicago. Left
to right are Katherine, Charlie, John and my youngest sister
Jenny, whose hair is the same color as her hat.
Another sister, Kathy, joined John and his son Dan Spalding for
a sunnier game in Denver. They flew out, caught the game and
flew home the same day.
More than 100,000 people attended the Super Bowl in Dallas
this year, and Kathy and I ran smack into John and his son Terry.
Go Pack Go!

6 thoughts on “Happy birthday to a legendary Packer fan

  1. Laura,This was a very nice Birthday tribute to John Spalding. You and I were discussing John yesterday at the Packer Game. I have know John or Mr. Spalding since I was a young boy. Mr. Spalding set an example for me as to how a person should conduct their life. I still have a long way to go. There are just a few men, outside my father, that I respect as much as John Spalding. Happy 82nd Birthday,Sean Coughlin

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