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  November 10, 2001

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Family bids adieu to Hart matriarch
By MELISSA RIDGEN -- Calgary Sun

The strength, spirit and the heart of the Harts was bid farewell yesterday by Calgary's first family of wrestling and close friends of Helen Hart.

  Foster's Garden Chapel on 4 St. N.W. was filled with those whose lives were touched by the matriarch during her 77 years -- including Premier Ralph Klein, former Stampede Wrestling broadcaster Ed Whalen and former mayor Al Duerr -- who gave tributes to the woman they described as a close friend who made up a large piece of the fabric that is Calgary.


  Hart children Bret, Bruce, Ross and Georgia also gave tributes, wetting the eyes of a few of the brawny wrestling-types who paid their respects.

  The only thing that makes her death any easier, Helen's children said, is knowing she has been reunited with her sons Dean, who died of kidney failure in 1990, and Owen who died nine years later in a wrestling stunt gone wrong.

  Helen passed away at the Foothills Hospital on Nov. 4 of diabetes complications.

  Stu Hart -- her husband of 53 years, best-friend, business partner and father of her 12 children -- also said goodbye to the woman he lovingly referred to as Tiger.

  The rough and tumble Alberta boy and big city American debutante wed in the midst of a blizzard on Dec. 31, 1947 and together built a family empire that through all of its well-publicized ups and downs, remained intact because Helen wouldn't have it any other way.

  That is something some of the Hart siblings want to see continued.

  "United we stand, divided we fall, and we shouldn't forget that," Bruce said.

  "Let's not spend the second half of our lives trying to get over the first," Bret said.

  Aglow in afternoon sunlight that poured through the stained glass windows of the chapel that was filled with flower arrangements -- some lively and ornate, some gentle and subdued but all befitting Helen's personality -- those gathered bid farewell to the woman who was known for her witty remarks, caring ways and raspy New York 'Hello darlings.'


  "No offence Bret, who I love dearly, but Helen was the best there ever was, the best there is, and the best there ever will be," Bruce said.

  Other mourners included three of her four sisters, her 35 grandchildren and great-grandchild, Silver Dollar casino owner Frank Sisson, Stampeders GM Steve Edwards, former Stamps owner Sig Gutsche, hall-of-fame receiver Herm Harrison, football titan Norm Kwong and wrestlers Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith and Tokyo Joe.

More on Helen Hart's death

Our amazing Helen Hart photo gallery

More on the Hart Family

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