Bart Starr at 85: Son gives update on Packer legend's health

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- Green Bay Packers legend Bart Starr is celebrating his 85th birthday.

Starr was born Jan. 9, 1934, in Montgomery, Alabama.

On this milestone day for No. 15, Action 2 News talked with Starr's son, Bart Starr Jr.

The Hall of Fame quarterback is making tremendous strides after some serious health issues.

"Given all he's been through, the fact that we're here talking about him having that milestone makes us full of gratitude," says Bart Starr Jr. "And we had an early celebration at his favorite Mexican restaurant on Saturday, and then we're going to have a little follow up one with some cake and a few things later today, so we're going to celebrate long and hard."

Starr has had some health set backs in recent years. In 2014, he suffered two strokes and a heart attack. His recovery has included stem cell treatment and working with a trainer.

"He's begun to recall some things that might seem mundane to most individuals but he was not able to remember up until maybe three or six months ago," Starr says. "That just fills our hearts with joy to know that he was able to have the kind of year that we hoped he would but were not sure that he would."

Three times a week -- including Wednesday on his birthday -- Starr is in the gym working on his balance and motor skills.

Bart Jr. says simple daily tasks the strokes had taken away he's doing again.

And he's reading more.

"You can tell that he feels a sense of achievement, and we all need, we need to have a purpose in life and we need to be seeking to move forward," Bart Jr says, "and he's doing it to the best he can, he's moving forward, which is just thrilling to watch."

Bart Jr. says in some ways, the last four-and-a-half years have been his dad's finest hours, because in his darkest days he maintained his character and dignity.

If all goes well, he's hoping to return to Green Bay next fall for a Packers game.

"Dad loves that sort of talk because Green Bay has always been his favorite place to live and to visit," Bart Jr says. "And when we bring up that possibility, you talk about lighting someone up with enthusiasm, that does it."

THE LEGEND OF BART STARR

Bart Starr earned legend status by leading the Packers to wins in Super Bowl I and II. He was the MVP of both games.

His quarterback sneak in the Ice Bowl is often named one of the greatest plays in NFL history.

Starr played 16 seasons in the NFL and tossed for 24,718 passing yards. He coached the Packers from 1975-1983.

Believe it or not, the all-time great was a 17th round draft choice for the Packers in 1956. He found his greatness under the leadership of Vince Lombardi.

Starr entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

His No. 15 jersey was retired by the Packers.

In Oct. 2017, Starr and his wife, Cherry, made a trip to Green Bay to donate items to the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.

Starr was looking healthy and happy in December when he met with two stars from his Alma mater Alabama.

Starr's work off the field has impacted the lives of thousands of people. Bart and Cherry helped found Rawhide Boys Ranch for at-risk youth.