October 8, 1938 (age 74)
Phyllis Hockin (October 14, 1960 â€“ December 19, 2005)
Wayne, Kim, Keith, Glen, Brent
Born in the fall of 1938, Walter Gretzky grew up on a farm near Brantford, Ontario in the village of Canning. Walter Gretzky, like many Canadians, became an avid hockey fan growing up in the days of the original six. Walter Gretzky became a fairly decent hockey player himself and was not the only Gretzky to capture headlines with his hockey skills.
Walter spent his working years as an employee of Bell Canada. He retired in the early nineties at a relatively young age. Shortly after Walterâ€™s retirement tragedy struck in the form of a brain aneurysm (ruptured blood vessel). Very few people survive this affliction and the doctors had no reason to believe that Walter would be the exception. The family was gathered together for what was believed to be Walterâ€™s last night on earth. Ultimately, Walterâ€™s survival left him to deal with a long recovery which lasted about four years. The aneurysm also resulted in a permanent 20 year lapse in memory of the early 1970â€²s to the 1990â€²s.
Hockeyâ€™s most famous father, after years of intense physiotherapy, not only recovered, he has risen to become one of the most sought after individuals on the banquet lecture series. Being Wayneâ€™s father certainly made Walter Gretzky known, however, it is Walterâ€™s zest for life, love of sports, and appreciation of Gretzky fans that made him popular. When not traveling around North America helping charities and speaking, Walter Gretzky loves to golf in the summer, coach hockey in the winter, and spend time with his grandchildren.
On 28 December 2007 Walter was named to the Order of Canada, â€œfor his contributions to minor hockey in Canada, and for his dedication to helping a myriad of local, provincial, and national charitiesâ€
On February 12, 2010, Walter had the chance to carry the Olympic Torch during the Olympic Relay on the last day of the relay, hours before the Opening Ceremonies in Vancouver, British Columbia.
On April 12, 2012, in his home town of Brantford, Ontario, the Grand Erie District School Board school opened Walter Gretzky Elementary School. It is part of a dual-track Catholic-Public Green School with the Brant Haldimand-Norfolk Catholic District School Boardâ€™s St. Basilâ€™s School.