A wrestling ring of honour and an assortment of political heavyweights are expected to bid grappling guru Stu Hart goodbye today. More than a thousand mourners in a crowd that will include World Wrestling Entertainment chief Vince McMahon and possibly Hulk Hogan will descend on First Alliance Church, 1201 Glenmore Tr. S.W. at 11 a.m.
Hart family members yesterday were busy making last-minute preparations for the funeral and a reception at the Patterson Heights home of Stu, who died a week ago from pneumonia and a stroke at the age of 88.
Daughter Ellie Neidhart said the feeling was one more of celebration than grief.
"We're doing this as if mom and dad are upstairs getting ready for a Christmas party," said Neidhart, 48.
Many ring personalities from Stu Hart's Stampede Wrestling and the glitzier World Wrestling Entertainment have pledged to attend, said son Smith Hart.
Former wrestling stars such as Archie (The Stomper) Goldie, Gene Kinisky and Walter "Killer" Kowalski should show up along with WWE superstar Chris Jericho, said the family.
Pallbearers are expected to include old-time wrestling stars Harley Race and Dan Kroffat and current WWE star Chris Benoit.
Premier Ralph Klein, Mayor Dave Bronconnier and members of the Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos organizations will also pay their respects, said Neidhart.
Hart played for the Eskimos in the late 1930s.
Not to be forgotten are some of the common folk whom Stu lent a hand in the past.
"Some of the Victoria Park people offered their catering service, which is quite touching, really," said Neidhart.
on Stu Hart
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You are invited to sign Stu Hart's Book of Condolence at www.ObituariesToday.com