On Thursday afternoon, family and friends of Wally Stanowski gathered together to say one final goodbye to "The Whirling Dervish"as a Memorial was held in the west end of Toronto. The event was organized by Wally's four children - Adair, Adrian, Skip and Craig.
Earlier in the week, Wally's life and hockey career was celebrated at the Oldtimers luncheon in Markham, Ontario. On Thursday, a number of the regulars who attend the monthly lunch, turned out to join the Stanowski family to remember Wally.
Upon entering the room where the Memorial was held, one could not avoid seeing a number of wonderful photographs, which showed Wally at various stages of his life. Below, are several examples of the pictures along with a couple taken at the Memorial.
Wally out and about. The bag he is carrying would indicate that he is about to go on a road trip.
Wally with some teammates. Pictured from left to right: Wally, Bucko McDonald, Pete Langelle and Bob Goldham.
These marvellous shots were taken in front of Maple Leaf Gardens. Pictured from left to right: Howie Meeker, Gus Bodnar, Bill Barilko and Jimmy Thomson.
Skip Stanowski, behind the microphone, introducing Paul Patskou, who made a wonderful video presentation covering Wally early in his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Wally's daughter, Adrian, spoke about her dad.
The St. Boniface Seals team photo, which was taken after they captured the 1938 Memorial Cup at Maple Leaf Gardens.
Wally's oldest daughter, Adair told a very touching story about her dad. When Adair was a young girl, her mother and father gave her a doll ornament, which later broke into pieces. At that point, Wally went into action and painstakingly glued the ornament back together. This ornament was one of only a few personal items that Wally took with him when he moved from his house to a retirement home. Clearly, this item was very sentimental to Wally and meant a lot to him.
A very young Wally Stanowski.
Skip Stanowski and former Toronto Maple Leaf, Ron Hurst, sharing a moment. Ron spoke on behalf of the Oldtimers. He said a few words about Wally and told several jokes to the delight of those in attendance. I could picture Wally looking down from above and laughing then, leading the applause following Ron's last joke. Adrain pointed out in her talk that Wally had two families - his wife Joyce and their four children and his second family, being his hockey family. Over the past week, there have been countless stories about how much the monthly Oldtimers lunch meant to Wally.
Representing the Oldtimers lunch from left to right: Pete Conacher, Bob Tindall, and Lorraine & Al Shaw.
Bob Beckett and Bob Nevin.
Left to Right: Gord Sammon, Jim Morrison and Ivan Irwin.
Left to Right: Betty & Gary Collins with Jerry Junkin.
Standing left to right: Bob Beckett, Jim Anderson and Gary Collins, with Jerry Junkin (sitting).
This final photo shows Wally and teammate Garth Boesch reading The Boston Daily Globe.
With his passing, Wally Stanowski has now joined the ultimate Oldtimers hockey team. I can imagine him pairing-up with his former partner on the Leafs defence, Bingo Kampman, and rushing the puck up ice to score a picture-perfect goal against Charlie Rayner. On his next shift, Wally finds a wide-open Sid Smith and dishes the puck off to the left winger, who beats Rayner for Toronto's second goal.
Upstairs, the game just goes on and on. And Joyce is in the stands watching Wally work his magic.