Calgary icon's curtain call
By IAN WILSON -- Calgary Sun
Calgary icon and beloved broadcaster Ed Whalen, remembered fondly for his generous charity work and colourful catch-phrases, died peacefully in hospital yesterday.
Surrounded by his devoted wife, Nomi, and stepson Geoff Ghitter, the famed journalist succumbed to the effects of a cardiac arrest he'd suffered on the weekend.
The 74-year-old retired broadcaster and Sun columnist was having lunch with Nomi on a friend's Florida-home patio when he suffered a major cardiac arrest. He was taken off life support Monday, but remained in a coma at Bon Secours Hospital in Venice, Fla., until he died.
Ed's stepson Geoff, who lives in Kentucky, flew to his father's side -- as did his other stepson Monty -- where Nomi had been keeping an almost constant vigil since Saturday.
The couple, who had been married for more than 30 years, had recently wrapped up a 10-day cruise -- the last leg of a three-week Florida vacation -- when tragedy struck.
"I had the most extraordinary marriage that any woman could dream of," Nomi said in an interview yesterday.
The youngest of Ed's children, Tony, 32, said the family is in the process of making funeral plans, including a private service and a public memorial.
"I'm not sure when everyone will be coming back from Florida," said Tony, who learned of his father's passing around 2 a.m. after getting a call from Geoff.
The city is already looking at naming a building in honour of Ed.
"We are looking at a number of different options to honour Ed's memory and his contribution to the city," said spokesman Marc Henry.
Apart from Tony and his stepsons, Ed left behind two daughters, June Read and Shaughn Whalen.
"A lot of people ask me what it's like to be Ed Whalen's son. He was a very, very, very devoted family man," said Tony. "He was warm and loving and there was nothing he wouldn't do."
Ed was also a caring and thoughtful husband, said Tony, adding Nomi is a "marvellously strong lady" who is coping with Ed's death as best as can be expected.
In lieu of flowers and cards, the family is asking donations be sent to any of the charities Ed supported, including the Alberta Adolescent Recovery Centre, the Salvation Army, Alberta Children's Hospital and the Variety Club of Southern Alberta.
-- with files from Rick Bell