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A Wisconsin Czech with a Green Bay Packer Casket?

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  • Janecek
    http://www.greenbaynewschron.com/page.html?article=126891 Smetana - Die-hard Packer fanfan WENDY SMETANA shows a bit of the memorabilia she has in her den at
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1, 2005
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      Smetana - Die-hard Packer fanfan

      WENDY SMETANA shows a bit of the memorabilia she has in her den at
      home, a room totally dedicated to the Green Bay Packers (photo by Lee

      Bus driver Wendy Smetana even has green and gold casket waiting for her

      By Lee Lawrenz
      For The News-Chronicle
      Her car's license plate has a Green Bay Packers' "G," followed by LYLFAN.
      According to a street sign on her garage, her address is Packer Backer Blvd.

      She has a den decorated with only Packer memorabilia and keeps a Packer
      Christmas tree up all year long in her living room.

      But perhaps the most telltale sign that Wendy Smetana, 60, a City of Green
      Bay bus driver, is a devout Packer fan is that she has a green and gold
      casket all paid for and waiting for her when she dies.

      "I call myself a die-hard Packer fan and I have the casket to prove it,"
      Smetana smiled. "It's a green and gold casket, although not officially a
      Packer casket. I bought it the year we won Super Bowl XXXI. I heard they had
      a limited edition of a green and gold casket at a Janesville company. I
      called them and said, "If I can cancel the one at the mausoleum, you have a

      The casket is still in Janesville at this time. Wendy proudly shows a
      photograph of it.

      Wendy moved back to her native hometown Green Bay from Algoma a few years
      after getting her job with the Green Bay Transit Authority. Her mother died
      in 1988, and her father had health problems, so she moved in with him. What
      struck her as sad is her dad stayed mostly in the den, where he kept
      everything the way her mom had left it, "keeping it as kind of a shrine to
      her. It seemed to keep him depressed."

      After her dad moved to a nursing home, Wendy repainted the den, put in
      Packer borders and stenciling, and brought together all the Packer
      memorabilia she had collected over the years. She brought him pictures of
      the changes and he got enthused, even bringing four nurses and the nursing
      home administrator with him once when he made a visit home.

      Wendy started collecting Packer memorabilia since she got her first season
      ticket when City Stadium (renamed Lambeau Field) opened in 1957. She had
      strong ties to the Packers since her uncle, Norbert "Mac" McHugh, served as
      head of the field and crew on game days for every coach from Curly Lambeau
      through Ray Rhoades. Some of his duties were putting all the markers out,
      making sure all the gate counters were reset at zero and he also made a lot
      of repairs in the pressbox, Smetana said.

      Smetana's collection includes everything from an old Packer cape when the
      colors were still blue and gold to a Gilbert Brown jersey, a Johnny Holland
      pair of shoes, an autographed Mark Lee pair of shorts and autographed
      pictures of a lot of Packer coaches and players.

      At a Packer auction, she even picked up the pants Lindy Infante wore as a
      coach in the Pro Bowl, when he was an assistant with the Browns, before he
      became head coach of the Packers. He autographed them for her.

      She also has a Waterford crystal helmet from the Super Bowl XXXI year, many,
      many game programs, and almost all the Packer yearbooks, which started
      coming out in 1964.

      As a fan sitting in Section 122, row 55, seat 21 at Lambeau Field, Wendy
      says, "I like my seat up there because I can see the plays materialize. I
      get a little excited when I see holding and it isn't called. I yell, I get
      into it. You don't want to be around me."

      Her favorite game of all was the Ice Bowl. "I was there, so were 500,000
      other people," she laughed. "I wasn't cold. I'm up and down too much for

      Smetana also has strong personal memories of two games at Lambeau after the
      Sept. 11 terrorist acts. At a Monday nighter against the Redskins, Wendy was
      one of three bus drivers who brought firemen and paramedics from around the
      state (from Green Bay Notre Dame High School) to Lambeau Field. She was able
      to go down on the field with the group and help hold the large American
      flag. A similar occurrence was at the NFC championship game later that
      season against the 49ers, when she was one of four bus drivers invited to

      Wendy plans to keep attending games as long as she can and plans to be a
      Packer fan until the end.

      "I have it planned that when I die, if it's not in the winter, that my
      family and friends go to a park after the funeral and have a tailgate
      party," Smetana said. "Everything will be catered in, but there will be no
      alcohol. I'm not a drinker."
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