“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
2 Timothy 4:7-8
Calgary lost a bit of its moral strength Sunday evening with the death of Edward (Ted) John Cuthbert Valentine. Ted was born February 24, 1930 at the Holy Cross Hospital in Calgary to Evelyn (LaMarche) and Cuthbert John Valentine (Bert). After attending Holy Angels and St. Mary’s Boys School, he received a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of British Columbia where he was a member of the Delta Upsilon Fraternity. After graduation, Ted returned to Calgary to join the family business, Halford & Valentine. Under his leadership, it became the largest and most successful Volvo dealership in Canada; Valentine Volvo. His business motto, attributable to his long tenure as a Rotarian, was to ensure every deal was “fair to all concerned”. Ted forgot to retire, going into the office regularly to type notes, mentor his son Paul, manage his philanthropy and volunteerism, and quip with staff and customers.
Ted had many great passions, including faith, family, the Calgary Flames, the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and the Calgary Stampeders (a season ticket holder for 67 years). His one true love was his wife Shirley. Ted met Shirley at a church youth group meeting in Calgary where he beat his brother in a coin toss, thereby earning the right to ask her out. Ted and Shirley married in 1958 and built a beautiful life for their 6 children, loving in-laws and 18 grandchildren. Their family home was large and welcoming. Ted and Shirley shared the belief that they should show hospitality to strangers, …”for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2 This led the couple to open their doors to dozens of house guests over the years – athletic billets, exchange students, lonely travellers, and the occasional Calgary Stampeder.
Ted spent his life in service to others: as President of the Calgary Tourist and Convention Bureau, the Canadian Automotive Dealers Association, the Motor Dealers’ Association of Alberta, the Calgary Motor Dealers’ Association; and as District Governor of Rotary. He served on several boards, including St. Mary’s University and the Calgary Catholic Education Fund. His volunteerism touched many: he delivered meals to the infirmed; overnighted at shelters; served meals to the hungry; travelled to India to immunize against Polio; and received recognition awards for blood donation. The years brought many accolades, including awards for work (Alberta’s Time Quality Dealer of the Year), giving (Rotary’s Paul Harris Fellow), and community contribution (the City of Calgary, Grant MacEwan Lifetime Achievement Award).
Ted was the ultimate ambassador for our city, a Calgarian through and through. He never missed a Stampede and loved donning his vintage western wear to host family and friends at the Rangeland Derby and Grandstand Show. During the ’88 Olympics Ted was posted at the airport as a volunteer to welcome guests to the city. After his first shift he arrived home with travellers who could not find accommodation – generously offering shelter, food, and premium tickets to some of the events. Shirley was a runner and she eventually convinced Ted to join her in fitness. Here, as in all aspects of his life, Ted set his sights high, eventually completing the prestigious Boston Marathon at the age of 66. In addition to running, Ted filled his time supporting kids and grandkids in their many, varied pursuits, working for social justice through Rotary International, volunteering, and travelling the world with Shirley – together they visited 84 countries.
A devout Catholic, Ted often attended daily mass, volunteering as a reader, a Sacristan, and a member of the St. James Parish Council. He also was a long-time attendee of the Mount St. Francis Retreat Centre in Cochrane where he enjoyed a brief respite from his commitments each January, to pause and renew his faith. Ted loved sports. He played hockey for the first Calgary Buffaloes team, then football while attending St. Mary’s High School and the University of British Columbia. Though he had suites at McMahon Stadium and the Saddledome, he preferred to watch the games from the stands with Shirley, the loudest fan in Section S / 227. Ted often combined his love of travel with his love of sport, taking family members along to watch Summer and Winter Olympic events, the Commonwealth Games, Notre Dame football and the Grey Cup (Go Stamps!).
Ted was predeceased by his parents Evelyn and Bert; his sister Nora and her husband, Terry Kehoe of Edmonton; as well as his namesake, grandson Teddy von Muehldorfer. Ted is survived by his adoring wife Shirley; children Tom (Samantha), Stephen (Sue Anne), John (Sabina), Paul (Andrea), Anne (Thom) and Kathryn (Karen); and grandchildren Cleo, Jake, Elu, Brynn; Tegan (Conner Edwards), Bronwyn, Eliza; Sarah, Kate, Zac; Maggie, Ross, Hugh; Ben, Max, Val; and Cohen. He is also survived by his brother Douglas Valentine (Beverly) of Toronto, and his sister Anne French (Basil) of Calgary.
The Valentine Family would like to thank Dr. Geoghegan and the exceptional care team at the Manor Village at Garrison Woods for their compassion and commitment during this difficult time, as well as Ted and Shirley’s essential supports, Carla, Carol, and Ella.
The family will hold a private Funeral Mass. A public tribute will be planned at a later date when COVID restrictions allow. A true gentleman, Ted will be remembered for his eloquence and grace, his legacy of giving, his profound kindness, and his resolute sense of humour which remained intact until the very end.
In lieu of flowers please consider donating time to a worthy organization in your community.