Farewell to a friend

Very sad to have received an email today informing me that L.A. poker scene stalwart Joe Whalen has passed away in a Whittier hospital. I always looked for Joe, both at Santa Anita and the Commerce/ Bike.Joe also included Hollywood Park in his regular haunts and knew everyone everywhere he went.

Joe grew up on the East coast a mix of Irish/Italian. He probably moved out West for the weather or to be closer to Vegas.

Despite the time consuming nature of using public transport to go to the casinos or racetrack,Joe somehow found time to take his grandchild for a walk in the park every morning.

I guess I will never hear the stories that will make my hair curl as Joe promised.

I missed Joe during the LAPC and after some good detective work by another concerned friend we learned he was in hospital. Only this morning I thought of Joe as I made my way to Santa Anita.

RIP my friend.Joe is on the right in the photo.Dirty Wally + Joe

7 Comments to “Farewell to a friend”

  1. Melody Morton says:

    I just learned, from Rick Nakamura, that you had posted something about Joe on your site. Thanks for getting the word out to his many friends regarding his passing. It is much appreciated. Thank you from his partner of 30+ years.

  2. Phil Morton says:

    I knew joe for many years. he was a very interseting man and I always enjoyed hearing stories of things he did thru out his life.
    I remember going to the track with him one time when I was young and the horse I picked won, and he helped me with my jump shot when I played basketball.

    Rest in Peace my friend.


  3. Steve says:

    I knew he would never have missed the LAPC unless he was really sick. I have asked about him everyday. So sorry I couldn’t show him my photos of Zenyatta or tell him “Live from the Bike” is returning. My favourite person .I will really miss him.
    God bless you,Melody.

  4. I have been asking about him since the New Year began. This is just horrible we assumed he was ill just wish we could have found out sooner so I could of talked to him one last time.

    Any services??

  5. Melody Morton says:

    Steve thanks for the additional posting.

    Scott thanks for asking about services. Joe wasn’t big on that kind of thing. But he would be glad to hear that a Joe Whalen Memorial Poker Tournament is being planned for this Saturday April 3rd 3:00 p.m. at Hollywood Park. Would appreciate it if you could get the word out.

  6. Steve says:

    Pity it cannot be at Santa Anita on Derby Day! I was actually going to ask if I could hold a tournament in his honour.
    I will be at the Bike this week so will be sure to tell all his friends.

  7. Melody Morton says:

    Steve – Thanks for getting the word out. When I said the tournament was to be a Hollywood Park I meant Hollywood Park Casino, but you probably already figured that out. Robert Turner & Phylis Caro are planning the event. They will have further details.

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