Handsome Harley Race’s Wife B.J. Passes Away; Services in K.C. Tomo

The “best wrestler on God’s green earth’s” wife has died…

Eight time World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race’s wife B.J. Race passed away Friday in Osage beach, Missouri at the Lake regional Health System where she was being treated for pneumonia and other complications. The jury is still out on the exact cause of his wife’s death, Race says.

“She was the most wonderful woman in the world,” Race says. “It’s almost impossible to believe that she’s gone.”

When it came to Harley’s World League Wrestling league and the Race Wrestling Academy for up and coming pro wrestlers in Eldon, Mo., “She ran everything,” Race says of his wife.

The B.J. I knew was a totally organized, amazingly fun to hang out with go-getter of a woman with a sense of humor that would not quit. Hey, she married Harley and took on everything that comes with that. If that doesn’t qualify someone for modern day sainthood, what does?

Services here Tuesday go down at 2 p.m at Mt. Moriah Terrace Park, 801 NW 108th Street in Kansas City with a visitation between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. at the funeral home.

This entry was posted in Hearne_Christopher and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Handsome Harley Race’s Wife B.J. Passes Away; Services in K.C. Tomo

  1. Anonymous says:

    craig glazer
    How soon we forget…I remember watching Harley and Bob Brown and Giggle…and my favorite the STomper….those were the days, I knew wrestling was set up, but still liked watching the action, I was about 9 or l0 years old…he was the best..Mister Race…God’s speed and may you find some peace…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Craig we have something in common. I was/am a HUGE Stomper fan. Great guy and still living. Down in the south. I however wasn’t as bright as you. It was late teens before I knew for sure wrestling was more theater then sport.

    I was at BJ’s funeral and you would of saw some of the few old time legends left. Bill Kersten, Tom Andrews, Roger nature boy Kirby and yes Bob Giegel was there.

    Harley seems to be hanging in there but he was using a walker on occasion. And yes Harley is a legend in wrestling. His wife was beloved and will be missed.

  3. Anonymous says:

    B.J. Race was a broad and I say that with the utmost respect and admiration. She was funny, kind, and told it like it is. She was a modern day Miss Kitty.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Uncle Dick
    I was at KCI several years ago to catch a 7:00am flight. As I was getting my coffee, I heard a familiar voice behind me, ordering two hot dogs and a large beer. I thought I recognized the voice, and thought who could be ordering two dogs and a beer this damned early? I looked around, and sure enough, it was 8 time World Champion Harley Race. Although I had seen him wrestle at Memorial Hall numerous times, I had never met Harley. I introduced myself and we sat and talked fo about a half hour about the good old days and our mutual friend, Bill Kersten. I’m like you guys, as a kid, loved those rasslin matches. Geigel, Bob Brown, Roger”Nature Boy”Kirby, Cowboy Bobby Ellis, The Stomper, Rufus R. Jones, Danny Little Bear, Baron Von Rasche, Andre The Giant, Ernie Ladd, Omar Atlas,Sonny Meyers,Bob Orton, The Masked Medics, The Funks, all the stars from the NWA. Nice man.
    Sorry for your loss, Harley.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Great memories Uncle Dick. So since you are friends with Kersten maybe you can solve one of the greatest mysteries of all time. Just why was he let go from All Star Wrestling. Seemed to go down hill once he left. Also did you see the recent documentary about central states wrestling? I guess Danny Little Bear was not well liked. Harley has been known to hold his liquor. Have you read his book? Your post made me wish for those by gone days. Rick

  6. Anonymous says:

    Uncle Dick
    I’ll have to check with Bill, but I believe after Gust Karras, the original promoter out of St. Joe died, they wanted to go with a younger guy, and they were trying to compete with the WWWF. Karras had the whole market back then, not only the taped televised shows from Memorial Hall, and the live matches on Saturday nights at 10:30 from the basement of the studios of Ch. 2 in St.Joe( brought to you by Bender’s Prescrition Shop), but live matches on Thursday nights at Memorial, Friday nights from St.Joe, and travelling shows most every night of the week in almost every small town in the region, from Trenton to Lamoni, many times at the local high school gym. Used to get pissed when I’d buy a wrestling mag and they only featured the WWWF guys, Bruno Sammartin-the Italian Strongman, Bobo Brazil, and some dude that was called The Missouri Stomper, who was not Craig,yours and my favorite guy, the real Stomper.

    That was also about the time Bill was elected Eastern Commissioner in Clay County, the start of a successful political career that also included two terms as Mayor of Liberty. Great guy that is a walking encyclopedia of the history of rasslin’ in the KC/St.Joe area. Told me he once asked Andre the Giant how much he ate for lunch and Andre replied buy me lunch and find out, which Bill did and said the guy ate enough for a family of eight.

    Danny Little Bear lived across the street from Maple Park Jr.High School up north. Most of the folks associated with the wrestling scene didn’t like him because he had a propensity for underage girls.

    I was vacationing near Leech Lake, Mn about ten years ago; the weather was crappy, fish wern’t biting, so I went to the lodge to kill some time. Picked up a local newspaper and saw an ad for a gift shop, featuring a bald man posing, reaching out with The Iron Claw. No shit, Baron Von Rasche himself. Guess he owns or owned the shop.

    BTW, don’t ever tell one of these guys wrestling was fake, or Harley will put you in a Giant Suplex and drop you like a fat girl friend.

  7. Anonymous says:

    As somewhat a wrestling historian I can fill in a few blanks. Gus had died long before Bill was let go by Bob Giegel. I’m thinking around 79. Wrestling was big enough and Kersten had been around enough that it actually made the newspaper him being fired. Bob Giegel was the one that fired him. Kersten at the time said he didn’t know why. Giegel wouldn’t comment. Though they have long since mended fences.

    As a kid I remember staying up late on Saturday night at midnight to see Big 2 Wrestling from St. Joe if I recall correctly. Both St. Joe and KC have a lot of historical significance in pro wrestling.

    I, like you, also would get mad when I see wrestling magazines and no mention of our guys from the area. Reason was the magazines were based in New York so they mostly printed New York news which was as it was called then WWWF.

    The real Stomper was and always will be Archie Gouldie. He was trained in Canada and made his debut in this area around 1961. He was originally from the South and is still living. Lots of great stories told by even current wrestlers about him.

    Lots of legends about Andre and his ability to consume beer.

    You can still catch Bill at the Liberty movie theater.

    I had heard the same stories about “Little Bear and a few others including Brusier Bob Sweetan. But this film I saw the wrestlers talked about Danny in regards to drugs which was a new one on me. Those young girls were called ring rats and their were plenty to be had.

    Do you remember Percival A Friend? He has a web site if I recall and I met him a few years back at the pro wrestling hall of fame which at the time was in Newton Iowa.

    Baron is alive and was a legit college all star wrestler from Nebraska so it was funny seeing this farm boy portray a German. Because of his character he really didn’t show his wrestling ability in the ring.

    In the old days they would get pretty uptight about it being called fake. The boys now a days don’t even care about the illusion (which is sad) and often will tell you its not real.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Uncle Dick
    We used to rig up the rabbit ears with tinfoil to bring in Ch.2; came on at 10:30. Friend has a website; looked at it just a couple of minutes ago. Bill was inducted into the Wrestling HOF last year. Stop by the B&B theater in Liberty and Bill will be happy to talk about the good old days. Percival has a picture of Bill after a match where he partnered with one of the wrestlers and got bloodied up pretty good. The Viking, Pat O’Connor,Lou Thesz, Ronny Atchison all provided some great entertainment. Myrtie and Gertie Hyte, the sisters who sat on the front row, were insitutions. Ernie Ladd may have been the biggest human being I’ve ever seen up close and Andre made him look average. My brother in law in Iowa said they used to come to the high school gym in their town and would pack ’em in every time.

  9. Anonymous says:

    A guy that really could get the crowd going was Bruiser Brody. I vaguely recall both Bill Kersten teaming with a wrestler to fight Percival and referee Richard Moody who died a few years back doing the same. The Black Angus who died about a year ago, was a park ranger in England was a good size boy. yes the twins were legends themselves and their hat pins. I met Ernie when he was sitting down signing autographs and he was as tall as I was SITTING down. Just HUGE!!! To long to get into but Ernie also had a huge impact on how blacks were treated in the NFL and broke some barriers. Whitlock has no clue about Ernie threatening to sit out and the NFL changing some policies because of his influence.

    Well on the way to tonight’s NBA game. great memories. Stay a way from the Viking’s thumb. Later Rick

  10. Anonymous says:

    Uncle Dick
    Watch the Showtime series Full Color Football. Delves into the AFL All Star Game that was to be played in New Orleans and explains why the Chiefs traded Abner Haynes to the Broncos because of the boycott.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Interesting. Never heard that part of the story.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Cheers, I read all your articles, keep them coming.

Comments are closed.