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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane sports star Bud Roffler dies at 84

Roffler
Roffler

William “Bud” Roffler played for the love of the game, and it loved him back.

For 60 years until his death Tuesday at age 84, Roffler’s fame followed him from Spokane to Pullman to the NFL and back again.

“We heard it all the time from people we met,” his daughter, Debbie Roffler, said Wednesday: “ ‘Oh, my God, your dad was the best athlete who ever came from Spokane.’ ”

Few could argue the point. Roffler seized the athletic moment wherever he played, on every playing field he could find.

Born on Sept. 16, 1930, in Whitman County, Roffler enrolled at Lewis and Clark High School before his sophomore year. After his father died, his mother moved the family from Pine City to Spokane’s north side.

Roffler lived in the North Central neighborhood, but at that time, students had the option to attend another school. His older cousin, Bill Roffler, who played on one of Elra “Squinty” Hunter’s state championship basketball teams, told Bud that LC was the place to go.

Roffler told The Spokesman-Review in 1999 that at 14 years old and 150 pounds, he was reluctant to turn out for football “because I was scared to death.”

As the school year began in 1945, Roffler and other boys not playing football were enrolled in gym class.

Classmates asked him, “Are you one of those Pine City Rofflers? What are you doing in a gym class? I think you better turn out for football.”

“I didn’t think I had a chance,” Roffler said.

Weeks later, he scored twice against Gonzaga Prep and returned an interception for a score in an 8-7 win over Rogers.

Roffler went on to be a three-year starter in football, basketball and baseball, leading the Tigers to city titles in all three sports.

His star ascended at Washington State, where legends crossed paths. He played basketball for Jack Friel, baseball for Buck Bailey and everywhere for the football team: halfback, safety, place-kicker, punter and kick returner.

He capped his WSU career by rushing for 132 yards in a 27-25 Cougars win at Washington in 1951. The next year, he was drafted, twice – by the Green Bay Packers and the U.S. Army.

In 2011, Roffler was inducted into the Washington State Athletics Hall of Fame.

Roffler played on a national military championship game in Fort Ord, California, before joining the Packers. He played three years as a defensive back in Green Bay and Philadelphia.

Playing long before the era of free agency, Roffler “played because he loved the game, every single sport that he was in,” Debbie Roffler said.

Roffler’s playing career was shortened by a concussion suffered in an auto accident. He and wife Maggie returned to Spokane, where Roffler worked until the mid-1990s for B&B Distributors (now King Distributors).

“He always told people, ‘I’m Bud the Bud man,’ ” Debbie Roffler said.

Roffler died of pneumonia Tuesday night at Valley Hospital in Spokane Valley. He is survived by his wife Maggie and two daughters, Roffler and Cindy Lynch.

Funeral services are pending, Debbie Roffler said.

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