REAL NAME: O.J. Timmins
BORN: Halifax, Nova Scotia
DIED: March 12, 2001 in Halifax, Nova Scotia
AKA: The Red Secret
O.J. ‘Ossie’ Timmins, who passed away on March 12, 2001, was one of those throwback wrestlers who spent his entire career in one place in order to keep his real job.
In Timmins’s case, it was Halifax, Nova Scotia where he was born, raised and died.
Timmins joined the Halifax Police Department of the National Harbours Board in 1959, then joined the water services and retired in 1984 as the Chief Fire and Safety Officer. He was also a former member of the Maritime Fire Chiefs and the Canadian and International Fire Chiefs Association.
As a hobby he took up amateur wrestling under the late Fred Hayter and after the war he turned pro.
Ossie wrestled until the 1960s. He was pretty well always a heel during his career, especially during his stint as The Red Secret.
“He really, really loved wrestling,” recalled The Beast Vvon Cormier. “That’s all he ever talked about.”
Longtime Atlantic Grand Prix promoter Emile Dupre agreed that Timmins loved wrestling and that he “always kept in touch with the people he met.” Dupre even wrestled Timmins very early in his own career once or twice.
After he stopped wrestling, he took up refereeing off and on, and did that until the early 1980s.
“He was strict, and moved around. He did his job alright,” said Cormier.
When he got out of wrestling, he did a two-year stint as commissioner of boxing and wrestling for the Halifax Athletic Commission, and was a commissioner for a New Brunswick promotion in the early ’90s.
Both Cormier and Dupre used the word “gentleman” to describe Timmins, and with his distinguished good looks even at his large size.
Timmins also loved to write, and wrote for wrestling magazines. Over the last number of years, he wrote columns for Scott Teal’s What Ever Happened To … ? publication. You can read a few of his columns online at the newsletter’s web site.
Timmins passed away peacefully March 12, 2001 following a long bout with cancer, in the New Halifax Infirmary, QEII at the age of 81.
Always a gentleman and a fixture at local wrestling cards and a commissioner at Halifax WWF shows in the late 1980’s, my favorite memory of Ozzie is from 1971, when refereeing a bout between local babyface Rudy Kay and the late Freddie Sweetan, Ozzie “hooked” Rudy with a questionable decision, as Sweetan blatantly cheated and Ozzie let it go, giving Sweetan the win. An infuriated Kay then challenged Timmins to a boxing match the following week, which Ozzie foolishly accepted. Not quite Roddy Piper vs. Mr. T, but Rudy totally dominated the match, scoring an early and decisive knockout over Timmins, which taught Ozzie to call it right down the middle from then on. Everyone associated with local wrestling will greatly miss this fine man.
John Greeley, Halifax, Nova Scotia