Ted  Whitten's Memorial

Ted Whitten
(1933 - 1995)

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General Details

Name: Ted Whitten
Nick Name: EJ, Mr Football
Gender: Male
Age: 62 years old
Lived: Thursday, 27 July 1933 - Thursday, 17 August 1995

My Story

Delivered by Bob Skilton at EJ's funeral:

This country needs heroes like Ted Whitten and "Weary" Dunlop, inspirations to us all.
It is not often that you say goodbye to a man of such caliber. Truly a momentous occasion. Mr. Football - no name could ever have been more apt.

For those who did not see him play, he was the greatest. As a player, a complete package. A fine athlete, wonderful skills, tough as nails, a fierce competitor, thriving on the thrill of the contest. The better the opposition, the more he loved it. He reveled in responsibility. "Ted was unique in that, while all this was going on,he could still inject fun and humour into the game. A laugh, a joke, even in the heat of the moment.

And, seeing the opposition relax - whack! Somebody's nose was pointing in a different direction. But the same EJ would then offer to take him to hospital and for a drink afterwards. "Ted was fiercely proud. Proud of his upbringing, proud of Braybrook, proud of Footscray, proud of Victoria. He was, and always will be, a symbol for the western suburbs.

The legend has certainly been enhanced by his tenure as Chairman of Selectors for the Big V. A born leader, on and off the field, EJ and his adversities - Neil Kerley and Mal Brown - kept State of Origin Football alive. Sure, a lot of it was theatrics, but Ted's driving force was his immense love for football. He trule wanted to see the game live up to his high expectations. He wanted to see others share some of his loves and joys at wearing the Big V. "As great a footballer as he was, he was upstaged by EJ the person. Those not fortunate to know him personally may well find it hard to believe that the seemingly brash, arrogant maniac hamming it up before a State of Origin match could within seconds become the most warm, caring, compassionate, generous person one could know.

Mere words could never do justice to EJ the man. Ted was a hero. He gave so much to us all. Ted was a people person. He had a feeling for people. He could make the common man feel like a king. A wink or a nod from the great man would work wonders. Mind you, he could just as quickly reverse those roles if he felt the situation warranted it.

Ted had a wonderful empathy for those in need. If anyone, particularly a mate, was ill or needed help in any way, EJ was first there....he never looked for thanks, just got on with things, hoping that he had left others to cope.

A Braybrook boy who never forgot his background, he never lost that common touch that made him relate to all. Ted loved life; he lived it to the fullest. Some would say he grabbed it by the throat and shook the hell out of it.

His great love was his family, Val and young Ted, who together nursed him through the final trying times. Ted's pride in his son could not have been greater than in those last few months. The bond between the two never more obvious and beautiful than State of Origin day, when the Melbourne public gave Ted a wonderful tribute and send-off. Ted's last public show of spirit and courage ensured the Vics were never going to lose that one. As exhausted as he was, being the catalyst for a Big V victory would have delighted him.

EJ Whitten left his mark on us all. From the infamous handshake, that mischievous smile, one would never forget the man's charisma, strength of character, obsession for not letting anyone down. "It was a privilege to know Ted. It was an honour to be his mate. He epitomised just what life is all about. He epitomised what sport is all about.

All of us are richer for having known him. His passing has left us the loser. Certainly there will never be another EJ. Nobody could possibly replace him. To borrow a phrase from Tina Turner and rugby league - Edward James Whitten, simply the best.

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Country of Birth: Australia
Country of Residence: Australia
City of Residence: Braybrook
Occupation: Sport


Favourite Sport: Football
Favourite Team: Footscray Football Club


Date of Passing: 17 August 1995
Cause of Passing: Prostate cancer

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