Walter Gretzky passed away late last night at the age of 82 after a nine-year battle with Parkinson’s disease.
And while he raised and coached who many believe to be the greatest hockey player of all time, he will also be remembered for his dedication to minor hockey and charities and his friendly demeanour.
Born in 1938, hockey became an early passion for the elder Gretzky. He was a prolific scorer with the Junior B Woodstock Warriors. But at five-foot-nine and 140 pounds, his size kept him from pursuing a professional career.
He began coaching Wayne, at the age of three, on their backyard rink. He also coached minor league teams in Brantford.
His charity work earned him the Order of Canada in 2007.
Gretzky suffered a near-fatal brain aneurysm in 1991 that stole his short-term memory. Then, in 2012 he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. It did not hold him back. He continued to make public appearances.
Gretzky is survived by his wife children and several grandchildren.
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