Summary

Birth:
25 Dec 1937 1
Death:
07 Mar 2011 1
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Full Name:
Bronko Kane Nagurski 1
Birth:
25 Dec 1937 1
Death:
07 Mar 2011 1
Residence:
Last Residence: International Falls, MN 1
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Social Security:
Card Issued: Minnesota 1

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Bronko Nagurski Jr., football player and son of NFL legend, dies in International Falls

Bronko Nagurski Jr., son of legendary football star Bronko Nagurski and a noted football player in his own right, has died in International Falls at the age of 73.

 

The younger Nagurski died Monday, according to an obituary on the International Falls Journal website. His death also was reported by his former Canadian Football League team, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He had battled cancer in recent years.

 

Nagurski was born Christmas Day 1937; his father was a standout football player at the University of Minnesota who went on to a Hall-of-Fame NFL career with the Chicago Bears.

 

The younger Nagurski graduated from International Falls High School and played college football at Notre Dame. He then played eight seasons as an offensive tackle for the Tiger-Cats, according to the team, earning All-Star honors three times and helping win two league titles.

 

"As a player, Bronko was one of the hardest workers in the league and a big part of our Grey Cup championship teams. He was always a pleasure to be around – a great teammate and an even better friend,” former teammate Angelo Mosca said in a story on the Tiger-Cats website.

 

After his playing days ended, Nagurski had a 30-year career in the paper industry, according to his obituary. He also was a member of the International Falls Fire Department for 14 years.

 

Nagurski is survived by his wife, Bev, three daughters and five grandchildren.

 

Visitation is Friday from 5-7 p.m. at Green-Larsen Mortuary in International Falls. A funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Thomas Catholic Church in International Falls

Obit

If only his old pal could have hung on another couple of weeks, Angelo Mosca would have seen him one last time.

But Bronko Nagurski Jr. died of cancer at the age of 73 Monday night in International Falls, Minn., leaving Big Ang to mourn a man he’d called a close friend for 55 years.

“I knew he wasn’t feeling well and, when I got back from a trip with my grandkids next week, I was going to fly out and see him,” Mosca said of the man who was his comrade in three different places, at three different levels of football, including a long stretch with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats dynasty of the late ’50s and early ’60s.

“I called him a country bumpkin, and I was a city slicker,” Mosca said Tuesday. “But we were good friends anyway. I’ll never forget the time we first met.”

Which was in a Chicago airport in 1955 when both were 18 and heading for the High School All-American Game in Memphis, Tenn. They each thought the other looked like a football player and struck up a friendship that neither could have guessed would last a lifetime.

Eventually, Nagurski, primarily an offensive tackle, ended up at Notre Dame with Mosca, primarily a defensive tackle. They played together for the Irish for two seasons before Mosca left the school after his junior year. After Mosca’s rookie season with Hamilton in 1958, the Ticats sent him to travel to South Bend to convince Nagurski to come to Canada.

Nagurski arrived in time for the 1959 season and played eight seasons for the Cats, including the ’63 and ’65 Grey Cup winners, before returning to International Falls to work in the paper industry. He was a CFL all-star in ’62 and ’65.

“He wasn’t a real rugged player,” Mosca recalled of Nagurski, who was the son of one of the toughest men to ever don pads. “But he had excellent technique, which made him very effective. We had tremendous offensive lines: Bronko was the right tackle and Ellison Kelly was the left tackle. They were great.”

Nagurski’s father, Bronko Sr., was a gridiron legend. Born in Rainy River, Ont. — which gave his son “non-import” status in the CFL — the senior Nagurski starred for the Minnesota Golden Gophers as a fullback and defensive tackle and made some all-American teams at both positions. A hall of famer, he later starred for the iconic NFL Chicago Bears and, in a poll this decade, he was named the 35th best player in league history. When the Golden Gophers opened a new stadium two years ago, he was posthumously named an honorary team captain and was represented by Bronko Jr.

Although Mosca was in Ottawa and Montreal, for two of Bronko Jr.’s Ticat seasons, they were very close. Nagurski is the godfather to Mosca’s son Angelo Jr., and he and Mosca talked two or three times a month since Nagurski returned to International Falls.

The last time they talked, and would ever talk, was just two weeks ago.

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