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A pass that started as Bart Starr to Harry Purinton landed in the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, with a few additional tosses and catches — and 55 years —  in between.

The Purinton family, including siblings Dick, Helen, Jim and Martha, on Friday donated to the Hall an NFL football signed by almost every member of the 1961 World Champion Packers.

"The truth is, it really just sat on a shelf. This is a much better way to be cared for in the future," said Dick Purinton, who owns and operates the Washington Island Ferry in northern Door County.

The ball came into the family's possession when father Harry Purinton was named Barbershopper of the Year on May 4, 1962, for the Land O'Lakes District, which covered all of Wisconsin, Michigan's Upper Peninsula and parts of Minnesota and Northern Illinois. Harry was newsletter editor, district judge, historian and president of the Green Bay Chapter's Baylanders Chorus.

The football was part of the award, delivered by the Packers quarterback, who tossed it to Harry at the head table in the Hotel Northland. There seems to be some doubt about whether Harry caught it — he always said he did, as does Jim, who was 10 at the time — but it unquestionably touched down in the family living room.

"One thing we did agree on, the football should be seen by more people and cared for in a better way," Dick Purinton said. "Over the years, it did get thrown a time or two by family members. A ball made of leather, signed with ballpoint pen, only keeps its integrity so long."

Hall of Fame archivist Don Sipes said it is a very complete artifact, missing only one signature they are aware of. (On the other hand, one player signed twice and one signature is not identified). He said the Hall has signed balls from different teams, but none from 1961.

"You don't see those in such good shape, so complete," Sipes said.

The ball is in a display case on the second floor of the Packers Hall of Fame at Lambeau Field, near the replica Vince Lombardi office. It has 44 signatures; 12 of the signers are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and 28 in the Packers Hall of Fame.

Family members came from as far as Shanghai, China, and New Jersey for Friday's presentation.

Contact rryman@greenbaypressgazette.com and follow him on Twitter @RichRymanPG, onInstagram at rrymanpgor on Facebook at Richard Ryman-Press-Gazette. Or call him at (920) 431-8342.

Harry F. Purinton 1961 Packers football signatures

Red Cochran, coach, Packers Hall of Fame

Phil Bengtson, coach, Packers Hall of Fame

Norb Hecker, coach

Vince Lombardi, head coach, Packers and  Pro Football Hall of Fame

Bill Austin, coach

Ken Iman

Em Tunnell, Pro Football Hall of Fame

Jim Ringo, Packers and Pro Football Halls of Fame

Bart Starr, Packers and Pro Football Halls of Fame

Norm Masters

Forrest Gregg, Packers and Pro Football Halls of Fame

Tom Moore, Packers Hall of Fame

Herb Adderley, Packers and Pro Football Halls of Fame

Dan Currie, Packers Hall of Fame

Ed Sutton

Willie Davis, Packers and Pro Football Halls of Fame

Max McGee, Packers Hall of Fame

Boyd Dowler, Packers Hall of Fame

Ben Davidson

Fuzzy Thurston, Packers Hall of Fame

Jesse Whittenton, Packers Hall of Fame

Bill Forester, Packers Hall of Fame

Elijah Pitts, Packers Hall of Fame

Nelson Toburen

Bill Quinlan

Henry Jordan, Packers and Pro Football Halls of Fame

Dave Hanner, Packers Hall of Fame

Ron Kostelnik, Packers Hall of Fame

Bob Skoronski, Packers Hall of Fame

Gary Knafelc, Packers Hall of Fame

Lew Carpenter

Willie Wood, Packers and Pro Football Halls of Fame

John Roach (signed twice)

Jerry Kramer, Packers Hall of Fame

Bud Jorgenson, trainer

Hank Gremminger, Packers Hall of Fame

John Symank

Paul Hornung, Packers and Pro Football Halls of Fame

Tom Bettis

Jim Taylor, Packers and Pro Football Halls of Fame

Ron Kramer, Packers Hall of Fame

Ray Nitschke, Packers and Pro Football Halls of Fame

Lee Folkins

One signature has not been identified, but looks something like Ron Ellarwele.

Another player listed in Pro-Football-Reference.com did not sign the ball: kicker Ben Agajanian, who played only three games with the Packers.

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