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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

In the meantime and in between time . . .
By IAN WILSON -- Calgary Sun

Ed Whalen

Ed Whalen Photo Gallery
  Broadcasting legend, tireless charity worker, community booster, devoted family man and a "ring-a-ding dong dandy" of a good guy -- Ed Whalen was recognized as all of these things yesterday as tributes to the icon poured in from across Alberta and the continent.

 * * *

 "Ed was truly a local legend. For so many memorable years he's symbolized the character and spirit of Calgary through his sportscasts, his involvement with Stampede Wrestling, and as the voice of the Flames," said Premier Ralph Klein.

 "On behalf of my colleagues in government and my wife, Colleen, I join with all Calgarians and all Albertans in extending my deepest sympathy and support to Ed's wife, Nomi, and his family and friends in their time of sorrow. Ed will be missed, but he will not be forgotten."

 Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier said Whalen's record in aiding charities would be difficult to surpass.

 "The (charitable) list goes on and on ... Ed Whalen really was Mr. Calgary," said Bronconnier.

 Flags were at half-staff at city hall yesterday, and Bronconnier said plans are in the works to name a local facility after the well-known Calgarian.

 Whalen died early yesterday morning in a Florida hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest Saturday while on vacation with his wife.

 His family, who were at his bedside, decided to take him off life support on Monday -- around 1 a.m. yesterday, the 74-year-old passed away.

 Word of his passing sparked a flood of faxes, e-mails and phone calls from the many people whose lives were touched by Whalen.

 One fan recalled meeting the former Stampede Wrestling announcer at a spelling bee when he was a child.

 "He was so friendly and treated each of us like an adult, something novel when you are eight years old," he said.

 Another admirer credited the media giant with making him a hockey fan.

 "When I first moved here from the Middle East I didn't know what hockey was, yet after watching a few Flames' telecasts I got hooked. Ed Whalen was one of the best play-by-play men and sports broadcasters out there," said Alan Razoky.

 Whalen was also praised for the countless hours he devoted to charity work.

 "Ed was instrumental ... in establishing the Variety Club of Southern Alberta 20 years ago," said Peter Gurr, the club's chief barker.

 "Ed Whalen typified not only why Variety Club is known around the world, he walked 'the talk.' He unselfishly gave of his time to those in need."

 The club plans to honour Whalen with Variety's Gold Heart Award Feb. 14 and a special "Ed Whalen Trust" has been created for donations to children's hospital programs and projects dear to Ed's heart.

 People can donate at any Alberta Treasury Branch or by visiting the Calgary Variety Club office, located at 115, 1935 32 Ave. N.E.

 Some of the most glowing tributes came from those who worked closely with Whalen during his 50 years in journalism.

 "I will never forget bagging groceries for charity with Ed, and joining him on the air the day Wayne Gretzky retired -- Ed was such a total pro and I feel humbled thinking about all he accomplished in his great career," wrote Chris Gailus, who worked with Whalen at Global in Calgary before moving onto the ABC News affiliate in Dallas with his wife Jane.

 Andy Lee recalled Whalen's early days in broadcasting when he worked alongside him at a Lethbridge radio station.

 "He always had a sense of humour in all the years I knew him, he had compassion for everyone and he was always someone you could turn to," said Lee, a freelance broadcaster from Spruce Grove who first met Whalen in 1950.

 Though known more for his on-air antics, Whalen also gained popularity as a columnist for the Calgary Sun.

 "Ed was one of Calgary's great personalities, but more importantly he was a great human being," said the Sun's Editor-in-Chief Chris Nelson.

 Whalen's family was thankful to everyone who took the time to share kind words about the man they loved so much.

 "The outpouring of prayers, sympathy and well wishes has been absolutely tremendous. He would've been overwhelmed," said Ed's son Tony Whalen.

More on Ed Whalen
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