Published on October 17th, 2015 | by Pro Wrestling Stories0
OWEN HART’s Final Moments with His Family
“Our Last Night Together”
Seventeen years since his untimely death, the loss of Owen Hart shakes the professional wrestling world to this day. Stories of pranks and humility, Owen remains one of the most likable personalities in sports entertainment history. In this week’s installment of Pro Wrestling Stories, Owen’s widow, Martha, opens up about her final moments with her husband. In this passage, it’s a pleasure to see a side of Owen not often seen – Owen, the family man.
If you enjoy what you have read, be sure to check out Martha Hart’s moving book, Broken Harts: The Life and Death of Owen Hart.”
“I feel I’ve done everything in life. I’ve reached all my goals, I’ve traveled all over the world, ridden a camel in the desert, I’ve been to Africa, India, Japan, Mexico, all over Europe. I’m married to the woman I love, we have two great kids … I feel I’ve lived the most incredible life and all I want to do is keep living it.”
– Owen Hart
“Whether Owen was home or not, Friday night was always pizza night. After a swim at the Killarney Pool our two kids, Oje and Athena, always looked forward to dropping by Spiros Pizza to pick up a Hawaiian Special on the way home. Friday, May 21, 1999, was no different in this respect, but what made the evening so special was Owen’s rare presence.
As was usually the case when Owen was home, it had been a busy day.
Owen joined me as we went to Christopher Robin Junior School to pick up Athena for an afternoon at the Science Centre. Our first and only house of ten years was up for sale and we were asked to vacate it for the day so the realtor could show it.
Acting goofy as always, Owen flipped up his collar to look like some sort of nerdy Dracula and thoroughly enjoyed watching our precious, pony-tailed daughter, then three years old, discover the wonders of science. A big kid himself at 229 pounds, with a neck practically as big as my waist, Owen seemed equally as enthralled with the various hands-on exhibits and challenges aimed at children twenty years his junior. He and Athena were adorable to watch together.
Soon thereafter we made a quick trip south of the city to the house we had been building for the better part of the last two years.
As part of his final touches to the place, Owen had just painted a bench swing for our wraparound porch. Here we planned on spending evenings snuggling up together with mugs of hot tea while the kids would play in the big backyard.
Owen was scheduled to fly out the next day for a typical ten-day stretch of wrestling shows and a pay-per-view event as part of the World Wrestling Federation’s traveling soap opera/freak show. The next time he was scheduled to be back in town the new house would be our home. Although I was in charge of the entire move, he wanted to help as much as he could before he left, to ensure it would be a smooth transition without him.
As one of the WWF’s highly touted international stars, Owen was on the road up to 250 nights a year. I had long become accustomed to “running the show” in Calgary while he put on shows all over the world.
Later that night at the pool, I watched as Owen ran into one of his favorite people, Bill Breen. He was our next-door neighbor who always seemed to enjoy a laugh with Owen. With imminent plans on moving his family as well, Bill found plenty to talk about with Owen as I watched the kids.
Owen was a baby-faced giant whose twenty-one-inch neck and ability to bench over 350 pounds were a strange fit for his boyish grin and playful personality. Everyone seemed to like him-not just because he was recognized around the city and the world as a high-profile wrestler, but because he loved to laugh. He was a good listener with a heart of gold and an infectious grin. He made me proud everywhere we went. Yes, there were times he’d frustrate me to no end with his incessant pranks and pratfalls, but that was also part of his charm.
Wrapping up his conversation with Bill, Owen told him he was “just like a brother to him.”
The words meant plenty considering Owen was the youngest of twelve children born into Canada’s undisputed first family of wrestling.
Growing up in a red-brick Victorian mansion perched on Calgary’s west side overlooking the city’s ever-growing skyline, Owen was taught early on about the importance of family. You look after your family members and you stick together.
Yet his home was managed more like a decrepit, broken-down hotel for freeloading wrestlers, sideshow freaks and animals used in his father’s Stampede Wrestling circuit.
Owen’s lifelong goal was to simply be normal. While his life on the road or in the WWF was anything but, I like to think our little family of four gave him the love, attention and nurturing he missed out on in a childhood house that had its share of misfits.
Coincidentally, I too grew up the youngest in a large family that had a number of drifters roving in and out of the house.
The Hart house was even more crowded with outsiders, including various mechanics who worked on any number of the broken down Cadillacs Owen’s father, Stu, kept strewn across his acreage.
In both our houses, the intrusion of strangers did well to disrupt what little family unity we had, as nameless, faceless strangers would routinely sit down at the dinner table with us. They were generally harmless folk who were down on their luck and needed help getting back on their feet. However, as children, Owen and I similarly resented their presence. Although we appreciated our respective parents’ kind intentions, we could think of plenty of other ways to help those in need without disrupting family life.”