A Calumet High School classmate of Mike Lind in the late 1950s recalls that the former football star "was our answer to the kind of back and person that Walter Payton would later become.
"Mike had the strong work ethic," said Fred Reutter. "He drank milk and lifted weights. He played fullback, linebacker and placekicked. He was our hero. Yet, he was self-effacing and modest. Fame didn't mean anything to him."
Lind, 62, a former Notre Dame football captain, died Friday of cancer.
Chicago sports figures paid their respects to Lind at his wake Monday. Among them were Bulls broadcaster Johnny Kerr, ex-Bear Ronnie Bull, Angelo Dabiero, Lind's teammate at Notre Dame, Irish Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Lattner and longtime coach and referee Ben Riley.
Lind played during one of the low periods in Notre Dame football history. The Irish, under coach Joe Kuharich, had records of 2-8, 5-5 and 5-5 for a composite 12-18 during Lind's three years on the varsity.
Lind was the first-team Irish fullback his first two seasons, 1960-61, but after he was elected captain as a senior in 1962, he played only 21 minutes in all because of injuries.
"Mike was one of the top athletes to come out of Chicago," said Ed Hoerster, a former St. Rita star who was an Irish teammate of Lind's.
"Unfortunately, he had so many injuries. He was well-respected, a strong leader, great guy, had a good sense of humor. He'd do anything to help a friend."
Drafted by the 49ers, Lind signed and played two seasons with San Francisco and two with Pittsburgh.
As the star fullback on Calumet High's Public League championship teams, Lind played before huge crowds in Soldier Field before he enrolled at Notre Dame.
A crowd of 66,282 saw Leo beat Calumet 12-0 in the 1956 Prep Bowl between the Public and Catholic League champions. In the 1957 Prep Bowl, Mendel scored on the last play of the game to beat Calumet 6-0 before 72,157 fans.
Despite playing on the losing team, Lind was named most valuable player in that game.
Lind worked in several businesses, including operating his own building trades companies, in his post-football years.
His funeral mass will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Catherine of Alexandria Church at 4100 W. 107th St. in Oak Lawn. Internment is private.