August 10, 2012
The wrestling world says good-bye to Goldie
By JEFF GARD - Northumberland Today
COBOURG - His name was Dave Sherwin, but the wrestling community knew him as Goldie Rogers.
Sherwin passed away July 20 as the result of a stroke at the age of 61. The Cobourg resident would have celebrated his 62nd birthday on Sunday, Aug. 5.
“Goldie Rogers was really colourful,” Greg Oliver, the producer of SLAM! Wrestling on canoe.ca, remembers of Sherwin. “He was never a big star, in the sense that he worked a lot of opening matches or may have lost a lot, but in many ways that’s what many fans identify with. He’s the guy that was close to their side, that got out there and strutted and really seemed to be having the time of his life. I think that’s what I always enjoyed about watching him. A lot of guys would just go out, but he was yapping to the fans and to opponents, that kind of stuff.”
A memorial service will be held on Friday, Aug. 10, 2 p.m., at the Salvation Army Church.
Oliver said Sherwin had the opportunity to perform in front of a national audience when Stampede Wrestling began airing on television.
“He had worked everywhere right across Canada, but wrestling was a regional game back then and then when the expansion of television started happening in the 80s, he became a national figure through Stampede Wrestling,” Oliver remarked. “These guys may have been big stars on TV, but they didn’t necessarily make the big bucks you or I think they did.”
In the fall of 2009, Oliver was passing by Cobourg with friend Shuhei Aoki when they decided to pull into town to see if they could find Goldie Rogers. They asked around — stopping at a gas station, the mall, a grocery store — and all leads pointed to the Salvation Army.
They were able to set up a meeting by his apartment in downtown Cobourg and eventually went to a local Tim Hortons as well.
It was Oliver’s first time meeting Sherwin.
“When I met Goldie, he certainly appeared to be a very happy, content guy,” Oliver said. “He spoke quite honestly about the challenges he had health wise and how he felt finding God had turned his life around, which is why he worked at the Salvation Army.”
Sherwin retired from wrestling in 1992 and returned to Cobourg. He operated his own taxi company for numerous years. He found his way to the Salvation Army around 2004 and within a couple of years began volunteering there doing custodial work for the church and family service’s building.
“He also volunteered as an usher and greeter for the church,” said Dave Alexander, of the Salvation Army, “and for the Good Food Box program.”
Alexander said there was no doubt Sherwin had battled his share of losses, including his taxi company, but “the change that took place in Dave’s life” during his time at the Salvation Army was significant. “He got to a place where he had such a connection with his God. That satisfied him and all those losses, it was almost like it didn’t matter because of his connection with God. No one can question the change that took place in his life. You can’t question the love he had for his Lord. He was glad to do anything. It was an honour for him to do anything.”
Brighton’s Dennis Baldock, whose ring name was ‘No Class’ Bobby Bass, wrestled with and against Sherwin. They met at Sully’s Gym in Toronto.
“In walked Dave Sherwin, cowboy boots, jeans, white belt, white shirt with flowers on it, brown hair,” Baldock recalled.
At one point, they did go their separate ways for a few years.
“He went his way and I went mine, but in this business you never say goodbye, it’s ‘I’ll catch ya down the road.’
They reunited at an event four or five years later in Vancouver. Baldock was told someone wanted to see him and he heard ‘Hey Jack! How ya doin? I don’t know where he got the name Jack, but everybody was ‘Jack’ to Goldie.
“I worked with him, as a tag team partner, I worked against him,” Baldock added. “We travelled together. Just a lot of fun to be around. We went from one end of Canada to the other.”
They worked often times as jobbers — which was an important role — against superstars like Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper and Randy Savage and the Hart family. In fact, Sherwin was the first ‘Macho Man’ before Savage got a big push, Baldock said.
Baldock said a highlight for he and Sherwin was tagging a hundred times against the British Bulldogs, including once a Maple Leaf Gardens. Sherwin later said that was one of his favourite matches, Baldock noted.
“There was an old saying in this business, especially if you’re Canadian, that if you walked down the ramp at Maple Leafs Gardens you’ve got it made,” Baldock said. “Don’t think you’ll make a lot of money, but you’ve got it made.”
In 2006, there was another big event for Sherwin. Goldie Rogers was inducted into the Canadian Wrestling Hall of Fame during a special show and ceremony at the Cobourg Memorial Arena.
Baldock remembers seeing how proud Sherwin was.
“I looked up and the spotlight hit Goldie with the blond hair, the big shades and sparkling jacket, and he was doing the strut,” he said. “He’s going to be missed by a lot of guys. The town of Cobourg should be very damn proud of Dave. How many guys have a dream, does what he wants to do and is happy and gets inducted into the Hall of Fame?”
For past interviews with, and stories about, Goldie Rogers, check out slam.canoe.ca under wrestling.
Sherwin is survived by his wife Faith Forget, children Ryan, Angelica, Frank, Paul and Jason and grandchildren Johnny and Ryleigh.
Memorial donations, if desired, may be made to the Salvation Army through the MacCoubrey Funeral Home.