Thread: Stu Hart has passed away
10-17-2003, 08:55 AM #1
Stu Hart has passed away
Hart laid foundation for wrestling dynasty
Calgary mourns wrestling patriarch
Friday, October 17, 2003
The head of Calgary's world-famous wrestling dynasty has died. After nearly two weeks in hospital, Stu Hart died in his sleep shortly after 2:30 p.m. Thursday.
Hart, 88, succumbed to pneumonia and a stroke, say family members.
Hart's grieving children gathered at the family's red brick mansion on Prominence Point to honour him. They raised cups of Red Rose tea sweetened with honey, the brew their health-conscious father chose over alcohol.
Hart, who was admitted to Rockyview General Hospital Oct. 3 with an elbow infection, pneumonia, and minor ailments associated with diabetes, slipped into a coma Wednesday night.
"His body totally shut down and he ouldn't swallow anymore," said Hart's son Bruce.
Hart lost his wife Helen in 2001 and son Owen in a wrestling ring accident in 1999. He was the father of 12, grandfather of 34 and a great-grandfather to even more.
News of the world-famous Stampede Wrestling creator's death spread like wildfire.
Premier Ralph Klein, who learned of Hart's death while in Houston on a trade mission, said the Harts were one of Alberta's best-known families of the last half-century.
"His passing marks the end of an era in the life of the city of Calgary," Klein said.
"As a sportsman, as a community man, as a friend, and above all as a family man, Stu personified the qualities that distinguish Calgary and all Alberta. I'm talking about qualities such as friendliness, good humour, a strong sense of fairness and compassion, energy, ambition, and just being a down-to-earth fellow with no pretensions," he said.
Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier says the city is richer for the Hart legacy.
"He'll be sadly missed by the Calgary community because he was a character, an icon and truly a unique individual."
10-17-2003, 09:14 AM #2
Stewart Edward Hart, better known to Canadians and wrestling fans around the world as Stu Hart, passed away at at Rockyview General Hospital on Thursday from complications due to diabetes and pneumonia. He was 88 years old.
Hart had been admitted to the hospital on Oct. 3 for Staph Infection, which had developed on his elbow after falling.
Hart was a legend in Canada and the wrestling world, beginning his career as an amateur champion, and launching Stampede Wrestling, a Canadian institution for the sport in Western Canada. Hart was best known by a generation of wrestling fans as the patriarch of the legendary Hart family.
Together with his late wife Helen - who passed away in two years ago - the Harts had 12 children, almost all of who were involved in some way with the wrestling business.
Hart was born May 3, 1915 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He was an outstanding amateur wrestler and a standout center for the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. With experience and skill in both sports, Stu eventually chose to pursue wrestling, and enjoyed a celebrated career as a pro wrestler for more than 40 years.
Hart enlisted in the Navy in World War II and entertained the troops by wrestling in exhibitions against the likes of Sandor Kovacs and Al Korman. After the war, Hart made his way to New York where he began his pro career, and met his future bride Helen.
Since he wasn't a top contender in the New York area, he started making his way out West, learning the behind-the-scenes business of promotion. In 1948, Hart founded Big Time Wrestling in Edmonton, which was renamed Wildcat Wrestling.
The Harts then moved to Calgary, where Stu managed to make additional money in real estate. In 1951, he bought into the local Stampede Promotion.
Stampede Wrestling, a longtime member of the National Wrestling Alliance, became a Canadian Broadcasting Tradition, with the late great Ed Whalen providing play-by-play and commentary for each show.
The league was often seen as a combination of traditional North American show style of wrestling, and the more realistic Japanese style.
The promotion was built around Stu's sons Bruce, Keith, and Bret, combined with stars such as The Dynamite Kid, Davey Boy Smith, Bad News Allen, "Lightning" Leo Burke, Herculese Ayala, Mr. Hito, Duke Meyers, The Great Gama Singh, and the Kiwis.
As well known as he was as a promoter, Stu was renowned for his legendary "Dungeon," where he would train promising wrestlers. Hart would bring in strongmen and football players to his own basement where he would stretch them, abuse them, and even make them cry. Those who managed to survive the rigors of "The Dungeon" would earn a badge of respect that no other form of training could give them. Performers who were taught in the Dungeon were branded as quality wrestlers.
It wasn’t long before promoters began sending their raw talents to Hart for training. He molded Montreal stars Rick Martel and Jacques Rougeau Jr., who were both in the Dungeon before they were 18. Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation came calling in 1984, and with it went many of the promotion's biggest stars. Dynamite, Davey, Jim Neidhart, and Bret all headed for the bright lights of the WWF, where they would find new stardom. Greg Valentine and Jake Roberts were also sent North by their fathers for seasoning, along with future stars such as Edge, Christian and Kurt Angle.
Stampede Wrestling faded into the sunset in the early 1990's, but it made a return with Stu's blessing a few years ago. The promotion has already brought a new generation star in Teddy Hart (who made his NWA-TNA debut a few months ago), and the future looks bright with the British Bulldog's son Harry set to make his debut in the next year or so.
Stu was named to the Order of Canada on May 31, 2001 for making an important contribution to the sport of wrestling for more than five decades. The Order of Canada officially lists Stu's accomplishments as follows:
"As patriarch of Canada's first family of professional wrestling, he has made an important contribution to the sport for more than five decades. Founder of Stampede Wrestling and an icon of the golden era of wrestling, he has been coach and mentor to countless young athletes, imparting the highest standards of athleticism and personal conduct. A generous supporter of community life in Calgary, he is a loyal benefactor to more than thirty charitable and civic organizations including the Shriners' Hospital for Crippled Children and the Alberta Firefighters Toy Fund."
In the years following Owen's tragic death in the WWF, the family had been bitterly divided, but it was always Stu and Helen who held the family together, serving as a powerful nucleus for what is arguably the most famous wrestling family in the world.
Stu Hart will be remembered for many things, a humanitarian who gave to many charities, a loving father and husband who helped sire a brood that would entertain generations of wrestling fans, a wrestler who in his day dazzled and entertained the crowds, a promoter who created in Stampede Wrestling a legendary promotion which lives on to this day, and a trainer who helped mold most of the superstars who entertain us today.
To us at TSN.ca, he will best be remembered as a Canadian legend who helped give Canada its pedigree as an amazing wrestling nation.
10-17-2003, 09:16 AM #3
God bless Stu!!! You will be missed by many.
10-17-2003, 02:32 PM #4
A true legend. His impact on the wrestling world will never be forgotten.
10-17-2003, 03:23 PM #5
Sorry my Canadian bros.......But honestly never heard of him..........Still feel for ya though
10-17-2003, 03:51 PM #6
Do you ever watch WWE (WWF)? He's Bret "The Hitman" Hart's father.
He's trained a lot of prof wrestlers. He seriously is a legend. Watch the beginning of RAW on Monday night and I will guarantee you that they will have a 10 bell salute.
10-17-2003, 04:48 PM #7Originally Posted by Da Bull
10-17-2003, 04:51 PM #8Originally Posted by Grant
10-17-2003, 04:54 PM #9
What's the matter with you??!!!!
10-17-2003, 05:04 PM #10Originally Posted by Grant
10-17-2003, 06:10 PM #11
That sucks. Poor Bret, he's losing everyone in his family.
10-18-2003, 10:02 AM #12
Stars to gather for Hart funeral
Hulk Hogan, Vince McMahon and a who's who of the world's wrestling fraternity, alongwith other celebrities, are expected to attend the funeral of Calgary's wrestling patriarch, Stu Hart.
Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, World Wrestling Entertainment head honcho McMahon, Premier Ralph Klein, Calgary Flames legend Lanny McDonald and other local sports heroes are anticipated to be among the expected 1,500 mourners at Hart's funeral next Thursday.
Since the Stampede Wrestling creator's death Thursday, flowers and friends have filled the famed Hart house, said Hart's son Bruce.
Telephone messages from around North America have also filled the answering machine, he added.
"I think he'd be really humbled and almost in awe that they have this kind of regard for him," Bruce said.
The wrestling celebrities and Canadian personalities expected to attend the Calgary service will be a boost of support for the grieving family, he added.
"I think he'll be looking down with a big smile, thinking he'd made that big an impression on people."
The Hart family is planning to pay a more permanent tribute to their father's legacy.
There's talk of turning the famed home -- with its legendary Dungeon training room -- into a permanent Stampede Wrestling monument.
The WWE's McMahon says Hart's legacy will be a long-lasting one.
"He was a great man. His influence within our industry, his community and his country was immense," he said.
Chris Jericho, a member of the younger generation of WWE wrestlers who may attend the service, considers himself lucky to have trained with Hart.
When he was a teenager, Jericho watched Stampede Wrestling and dreamed of training with the Hart family. His dream came true and he last saw the wrestling patriarch at a match last fall.
"He came to a show in a wheelchair," said the 32-year-old former Winnipegger who lives in Tampa, Fla.
"As frail as he was in his wheelchair, he was still able to shake my hand so hard, it was all I could do not to, as we say in wrestling, sell it to let everyone know that an 87-year-old man was basically kicking my ass from his wheelchair."
Hart's funeral will be held next Thursday at First Alliance Church (1201 Glenmore Tr. S.W.) starting at 11 a.m.
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