A very special memorial honouring ‘Handsome’ Johnny Valentine will be held next week in his hometown, giving family and friends one final chance to say goodbye.
The memorial will be held on Tuesday, May 1 at Castleberry Baptist Church, 820 West Silver Creek Road in Fort Worth, Texas. Services will begin at 3 p.m.
Johnny’s wife Sharon, currently battling a viral infection, has been inundated with phone calls and visitors to her home ever since her husband passed away.
“She’s just worn out. She’s been getting to bed at about 2 or 3 a.m. each night and people have been coming here a the house at around 9:30 every morning,” Sharon’s sister Brenda Starns told SLAM! Wrestling. “Her spirits are a little better. She’s just gritting her teeth and hanging on. She’s a tough lady. She’s a wonderful person. She’s touched a lot of lives.”
And so did Johnny Valentine, as evidenced by the outpouring of emotion the past two days from those within the wrestling industry.
“Antonio Inoki sent Sharon the most beautiful floral arrangement this morning. Just gorgeous,” said Starns. “She’s heard from a lot of people. I can’t even begin to tell you how many people have called and sent messages to Sharon through other people. A lot of his wrestling students have come by the house. (Johnny’s son) Greg and his wife are flying in this Saturday.”
Sharon also heard from a nurse at the hospital who was with her husband during his final moments.
“She told Sharon that John died peacefully. She said that right before his heart stopped beating, he took a deep breath and closed his eyes and that was it. He wasn’t suffering at the end.”
Several friends and family members will be speaking at the memorial service, including former wrestler Killer Karl Kox.
“We’re going to have a celebration of his life rather than a sad type of funeral atmosphere,” confirmed Starns. “Sharon’s going to be a collage of pictures of John through the years. In the entryway to the church, they’re going to have a video set up. We spent the day yesterday with Killer Karl Kox and his wife. I know that Thunderbolt Patterson is coming to the memorial service.”
Starns thought the world of her brother-in-law.
“He was such a neat guy. He had so many interests. He was an opera-buff. An avid chess player. He was a gourmet cook. He was a big prankster in his early years. He was like a father to my son, and my son is just devastated. It’s a great loss in many areas of life.”
Fans can send cards or letters of condolences to Sharon Valentine at 5016 White Oak Lane, River Oaks, TX, 76114 or at P.O. Box 10792, River Oaks, TX, 76114. The Johnny Valentine Memorial Fund has been set up by the Bank of America and the family respectfully requests that anybody who is interested should make a donation that will go towards expenses in lieu of sending flowers.