Gerald Francis Clifford
Undated portrait of Clifford
|Died||February 24, 1952 62) (aged|
|Occupation||Lawyer and politician|
|Known for||Officer, Green Bay Packers, Inc.|
|Spouse(s)||Mae Clifford (née Heney)|
Gerald Francis Clifford (June 19, 1889 – February 24, 1952) was an American trial lawyer, politician, and executive officer of the Green Bay Packers. Clifford began his legal career in 1913 after studying law at the University of Michigan. He was an active trial lawyer, specializing in cases regarding search and seizure and Prohibition. He once served as assistant Attorney General of Wisconsin where he became well-known for prosecuting corruption cases. Politically, Clifford was a leader in the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and was once a Wisconsin Democratic nominee for Congress in 1934. In addition to his work in law and politics, he also served as an executive officer and team lawyer for the Green Bay Packers. Clifford helped the organization avoid bankruptcy, reincorporated the team under a new ownership model, and helped prevent the team from moving away from Green Bay, Wisconsin. He is one of The Hungry Five, a group of businessman who were instrumental in the early development of the Packers. Clifford died on February 24, 1952 at the age of 62. In recognition of his contributions, he was elected to the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1991.
Gerald Francis Clifford was born in Chilton, Wisconsin on June 19, 1889, but grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.During his childhood, Clifford's father Jerry served as the mayor of Iron Mountain, Michigan for period of time. The family lived in Escanaba, Michigan during Clifford's teenage years, where he would attend Escanaba High School. After graduation, he traveled across Europe for 18 months while providing a written account of his travels for the local newspaper. Back in America, Clifford attended the University of Michigan and received a law degree in 1912.
Clifford began his legal practice in 1913 with Patrick Martin, who was the father of John E. Martin, the future Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice.He would remain associated with the Martin law firm for the rest of his career, serving as a senior partner at the time of his death. Clifford ran for public office in 1916, losing an election to become the Wisconsin Attorney General. In 1923, he was appointed as a Brown County, Wisconsin assistant district attorney and in 1924 was named assistant Attorney General of Wisconsin. He became a well-known trial lawyer who specialized in Prohibition cases and search and seizure law. He also tried many corrupt practices cases during his time as a prosecutor. He handled 26 murder cases as a defense attorney; none of his clients were found guilty of the original charge.
Clifford was a leader of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and a strong supporter of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.He served as a delegate to every Democratic National Convention from 1932 until his death. He was the chairman of the Wisconsin 8th District Democratic organizing committee and was part of various campaign committees. In 1934, he ran for public office a second time, losing a Congressional election. Prior to his death, he was mentioned as a possible appointee for a federal judgeship.
Clifford became acquainted with the Green Bay Packers in the early 1920s. He was one of the local Green Bay, Wisconsin businessmen that Andrew B. Turnbull contacted to help raise money to keep the Packers afloat financially.Around 1929, Clifford began his first official role with the team when he replaced Ray Evrard as the team lawyer. His contributions over the next 20 years were so significant that he became recognized as one of The Hungry Five, a group of Green Bay businessmen who helped guide the early development of the Packers. He would go on to serve on the Packers board of directors from 1929 to 1950 and the executive committee from 1930 to 1950. From 1930 to 1933, he was elected vice president, serving under president Lee Joannes. He was also in charge of the Packers season-ticket drives for areas outside of the Green Bay metropolitan area.
As the Packers attorney from 1929 to 1950, he defended the Packers in various lawsuits, including a case in 1933 where a fan fell from the stands.The resulting settlement from the lawsuit forced the Packers into receivership during the early 1930s. He then helped draft and sign the Articles of Incorporation after the franchise was reorganized in 1935 as the Green Bay Packers, Inc. The reorganization and resulting stock sales brought the Packers back from financial difficulties. In 1949 and 1950, he and former Packers president and team physician W. Webber Kelly successfully saved the non-profit status of the Packers organization in a power struggle with head coach Curly Lambeau. Even though they succeeded in maintaining the ownership structure and preventing the Packers from moving to a different city, both men resigned from the board of directors. Webber left in 1949 and Clifford resigned all his positions in 1950. Clifford was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1991 in recognition for his contributions as an executive for the team during its early years.
Clifford was married to Mae Heneyand had two daughters. His hobbies included hunting, fishing, and gardening. He died from influenza, which was made worse by a heart condition, on February 24, 1952, at the age of 62.
Earl Louis "Curly" Lambeau was a professional American football player and coach in the National Football League (NFL). Lambeau, along with his friend and fellow Green Bay, Wisconsin native George Whitney Calhoun, founded the Green Bay Packers in 1919. From 1919 to 1929, Lambeau served as a player-coach and maintained de facto control on the day-to-day operations of the team. As a player, Lambeau lined up as a halfback, which in the early years of the NFL was the premier position. He was the team's primary runner and passer, accounting for 35 touchdowns in 77 games. He won his only NFL championship as a player in 1929.
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George Whitney Calhoun was an American newspaper editor and co-founder of the Green Bay Packers, a professional American football team based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. After establishing the Packers in 1919 with Curly Lambeau, Calhoun served the team in various capacities for 44 years until his death in 1963. Utilizing his editorial job at the Green Bay Press-Gazette, he became the team's first publicity director, helping to establish local support and interest. He also served as the first team manager and was a member of the board of directors of the non-profit corporation that owns the team. Although often overshadowed by the more famous Curly Lambeau, Calhoun was instrumental to the early success of the Packers. In recognition of his contributions, Calhoun was elected to the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1978.
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Rockwood Lodge was the training facility of the Green Bay Packers from 1946 to 1950. Originally built in 1937 as a retreat for a local Norbertine Order, the Lodge was purchased by Packers coach and general manager Curly Lambeau in 1946 and then heavily renovated, making it the first self-contained training facility in professional football history. Although the facility was state-of-the-art at the time, many members of the Packers franchise and local fans complained of its high cost, distance from Green Bay, Wisconsin, and its poor practice field. The Lodge burned down in 1950, with the likely cause being faulty electrical wiring or lightning. The Packers received $75,000 in insurance from the fire, which would be used to help reestablish the Packers' long-term financial security. Lambeau resigned from the Packers just a week after the fire, citing a lack of unity in the team's direction between him and the Packers' board of directors. The Rockwood Lodge site would lay vacant for a number of years before being purchased by Brown County, Wisconsin, and developed into a public park.
The Hungry Five are the five Green Bay, Wisconsin area businessmen who were instrumental in keeping the Green Bay Packers franchise in operation during its early years. They raised funds, incorporated the team as a non-profit corporation, sold stock, established the Green Bay Packers Board of Directors and otherwise promoted the franchise.
Robert Mann was an American football end who played in the National Football League (NFL). A native of New Bern, North Carolina, Mann played college football at Hampton Institute in 1942 and 1943 and at the University of Michigan in 1944, 1946 and 1947. He broke the Big Ten Conference record for receiving yardage in 1946 and again in 1947. Mann later played professional football in the NFL for the Detroit Lions (1948–1949) and Green Bay Packers (1950–1954). He was the first African American player for both teams.
Earl Francis "Jug" Girard was an American football player. He played ten seasons in the National Football League (NFL) as an end, halfback, quarterback, punter, kickoff returner, defensive back, and punt returner. He played for the Green Bay Packers (1948-1951), Detroit Lions (1952-1956), and Pittsburgh Steelers (1957). He won two NFL Championships with the Lions in 1952 and 1953. He played college football at the University of Wisconsin in 1944 and 1947 and was selected as a first-team All-American halfback at age 17 in 1944.
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Eli Parsons Royce was a surveyor, businessman, postmaster, and an attorney. He was the founder of the city of Escanaba, Michigan.
Andrew Blair Turnbull, was a businessman and American football executive. Turnbull founded and owned the Green Bay Press-Gazette and was the first president of the Green Bay Football Corporation, the non-profit organization that owns the Green Bay Packers. He served as publisher, general manager, and business manager of the Press-Gazette for 45 years. During the early years of the Green Bay Packers, Turnbull helped convert the team from a privately held franchise to a publicly owned, non-profit corporation. He also helped the team through multiple financially challenging periods, which saw him identified as part of The Hungry Five, a group of early Packers supporters. Between 1923 and 1928, he served as the first president of the Green Bay Football Corporation and remained on the corporation's board of directors and executive committee until 1949. Turnbull died in 1960 and was elected to the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1977.
Joseph Leland Heath Joannes, known as Lee Joannes or Leland Joannes, was a businessman and American football executive. Joannes owned a wholesale grocery store and was the fourth president of the Green Bay Football Corporation, which became Green Bay Packers, Inc. during his tenure. He was part of The Hungry Five, a group of businessmen who are credited with keeping the Green Bay Packers in operation during numerous financially difficult times. He served on the Packers board of directors for over 58 years in various roles, including chairman, president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and director emeritus. During his 17 years as president from 1930 to 1947, the Packers won six NFL Championships while enduring the Great Depression and World War II. In recognition of his contributions, he was elected to the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1981. Joannes died in 1982 at the age of 89.
Raymond E. Evrard was an attorney and the second president of the Green Bay Football Corporation, the non-profit organization that owns the Green Bay Packers. In addition to his role as Packers president for one year, Evrard also served on the Packers board of directors and was the team's lawyer until 1929. Evrard was also elected for three terms as district attorney of Brown County, Wisconsin, serving from 1922 to 1929. He continued practicing law until the 1970s. Evrard played an important, yet often overlooked role in helping to organize the Packers during the team's early years through his various leadership roles. Evrard died on March 21, 1974.
W. Webber Kelly, born William Webber Kelly, was a prominent medical doctor in the state of Wisconsin known for being the third president of the Green Bay Football Corporation, the non-profit organization that owns the Green Bay Packers. Kelly was a practicing physician in the Green Bay, Wisconsin area for almost 50 years and a respected civic leader. During his one year as president of the Packers for the 1929 season, the team went 12–0–1 and won its first NFL Championship. Kelly was identified as part of The Hungry Five, a group of Green Bay businessmen who were instrumental in guiding the Packers through multiple financially challenging periods. In addition to his presidency, Kelly served as the team physician from 1921 to 1943 and as a member of the Packers' board of directors from 1923 to 1949. After a falling out with Packers co-founder, head coach, and general manager Curly Lambeau, Kelly resigned from the Board in 1949. Two years later he died of a heart attack at the age of 75. In recognition of his contributions, Kelly was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1994.
Emil Richard Fischer was a businessman and an American football executive for the Green Bay Packers. Fischer was well known in the Green Bay cheese industry, a nationally recognized businessman, and a local civic leader. From 1948 to 1952, he served as the fifth president of Green Bay Packers, Inc., the non-profit organization that owns the Green Bay Packers. He is credited with leading the Packers through one of the most difficult periods in the team's history. During his tenure, the team's co-founder and longtime coach Curly Lambeau resigned, the Packers issued their third stock sale, and the National Football League (NFL) merged with the All-America Football Conference (AAFC). He also sat on the organization's board of directors and executive committee from 1935 to 1958. After his presidency ended, he served as chairman of the board until his death in 1958. In recognition of his contributions to the team, Fischer was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 2013.
Russell W. Bogda was an American automotive executive and president of the Green Bay Packers. From 1953 to 1957, he served as the sixth president of Green Bay Packers, Inc., the non-profit organization that owns the Packers. During his presidency, the Packers secured funding and built New City Stadium, which would be renamed in 1965 to Lambeau Field. Although the Packers during Bogda's tenure saw little on-field success, he helped the organization stay financially successful and the construction of a new stadium during his tenure kept the Packers in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Bogda died at the age of 46 on February 22, 1958 of lung cancer.
Willard J. Ryan was the first head coach of the Green Bay Packers. Historically, Curly Lambeau has been given credit for being the Packers' first head coach, although this is primarily due to the different rules of early American football. In Ryan's era, the head coach was not allowed to communicate with the players while they were playing a game. Lambeau, as team captain, would call the plays during a game and also organized practices, tasks that are now allocated to the head coaching position. Ryan, who also coached the Green Bay West High School football team, only coached the Packers in their inaugural season in 1919, leading the team to a record of 10–1. Before his coaching career, Ryan served in World War I in 1918. In 1920, he moved to Minnesota to work as a school teacher and a superintendent of schools. He retired in 1955 and moved to Phoenix, Arizona, in 1961. He died of unknown causes on February 7, 1962, at the age of 71.