In 1982, Martha Patterson and Owen Hart met for the first time in high school. About seven years later, both of them would tie the knot. One thing that can be intimidating when dating someone and marrying into their family, especially if they're from the Hart family, is whether or not you will be accepted by your future in-laws. After getting over the initial shock of how big and powerful Owen's family was, Dr. Martha Owens was accepted by all of them with open arms.
"I met Owen when I was so young. I was only 15 and he was 17," Martha recalled during her interview on Talk Is Jericho. "We were in high school. I also came from a big crazy family. My family was also a bit dysfunctional, so it didn't throw me off. But, it was a bit interesting. The house was beautiful, but with so many big family members and they were all giants, it was intimidating for sure. Stu was a bit scary the first time I met him. I was really nervous about meeting him. But, he smiled at me and winked, so I thought, I'm in, I think I'm ok. It was definitely interesting. It was a lot of mixed emotions. It was exciting but it was nerve-racking. There were a lot of interesting characters always at the house. There was always something interesting happening there for sure."
You cannot say the word "legendary" without adding in Owen Hart's name. In his 16-year career in the business, Owen found himself with a larger than life career, which was over too soon. Martha recounts the hardship Owen faced when he was trying to become a main event wrestler, saying that his original plan was to go to college and pursue other interests outside of pro wrestling, including becoming a firefighter.
"Owen was never going to get into the business...Owen went to the University of Calgary on a wrestling scholarship. He was a true athlete," Martha praised. "He was a four-star letterman. He was in football, rugby, track and wrestling. He got a scholarship for wrestling. We were there together. He was going to be a Physical Ed teacher...Owen was a very sensitive person and he really loved his dad. That's all it took was that you can really help your dad. You can help the business. We are struggling and bleeding money here so could you help. Owen worked under a mask. Then he worked in the summer as himself and it really helped to rejuvenate the whole territory. He had an issue at the University that he didn't take one of the classes that he was supposed to take, so then he had to wait. He had to take a semester off, not by his choice but had to wait, I think it was English. He then stayed through the summer and into the following semester.
"By the end of that semester, he was this staple in Stampede, so he thought I will keep going a little bit longer. It was never the long term goal or the plan to stay in it. As life picks you up and carries you away, it has other plans. Your original plans get left in the dust. He tried for a long time to get out of the business. He applied to the fire department every year for years. At that time, it was hard to get on the fire department. You need to have a university degree. It was one of those sought after jobs, especially in Calgary. His brother and brother-in-law were firefighters. He knew that life and liked it, and tried to pursue it. He was also a Canadian and American citizen. He also applied to be a customs agent, because he thought it would be ideal because he lived in Calgary and American so he can work for customs. He always regretted that he didn't finish his education because he was actually a very bright guy."
This past Tuesday, Martha Hart and family discussed the life of Owen Hart on the season finale of Dark Side of the Ring. They discussed Owen's tragic passing in 1999, as well as the misfortune that ensued between their family and the WWE.
You can listen to Dr. Martha Hart's full interview here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Chris Siggia contributed to this article.