Annis Stukus

Stories and info about those no longer involved in the industry

Annis Stukus

Postby Rich Elwood » Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:53 pm

I've read a lot in here about CFUN but have not seen anything about one of the nicest people that filled and I mean filled the hallway at 1900. Annis Stukus.

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Stuke was a great man and truly a Radio, TV, Sports legend. He played football in the CFL in the 30's and 40's and had some of the best sports stories I have ever heard. He helped found the Edmonton Eskimos and The Winnipeg Jets.

I really liked and got to know Stuke well. He liked that I was a wiseguy but never really let on that he got a chuckle out of me until one day which I will get too when he saved my smart-ass. Is that called a hook?

I remember working the morning show for Jim Hault and Stuke did sports. I always got a kick out of the way he prounounced Edmonton. It came out Ed-in-ton. Of course I had to mention it on air. After the sports cast the studio door bursts open and in walks Stuke. I said, "Hey Coach what's up?" He walks up to me and gets right in my face (with a small smile on his face) and says, "If you played the game (Football) when I did with 200 lbs guys walking on your throat with their cleats you'd pronounce Ed-in-ton like I do you little smart-ass." And he left. What a character.

Stuke's deal with CHUM/CFUN was that every few years he got a new car. It was always a blue Impala with the CFUN Logo and Annis Stukas - CFUN Sports on the side. One day, I was pulling in the back parking lot from a shift (which I hated) in the FUNSticker Van. Or as I affectionatley called it "The Truck." Stuke corners me and says, " Hey Rookie, got any crap left over?" I said, "Sure Coach" and gave him a bunch of T-Shirts, albums and other stuff we were handing out then. Stuke opens the trunk of The Stukemobile and it's full of stuff like I had just given him. I said, "Coach, what are doing...opening a store?" He looks at me and says, "Rich, there are a lot of kids out there who never get anything in life, so I like to give them things when I can." I just about cried. He was a giant with a huge, gentle heart.

I played golf many times with Stuke mostly at Gleneagles in West Van because he had comp rounds there. One day I'm in the clubhouse with him and the young guy behind the counter says, "Hey Stuke we got those golf shoes that your ordered." Stuke looks at them and says, "Jez, these are 14 triple D's...I wear a 15 triple E. Ah, don't worry about it; I just won't wear socks." I howled.

In 87 and I emceed the Curt Fraser Diabetes Golf Tourament. (I'll digress just long enought to say that Curt Fraser is a class act, a great guy and a fantastic hockey player). At the lunch banquet I was doing some material and Tiger Williams heckles me. So, I respond and verbally execute the knob. The crowd is howling. Tiger has no sense of humour about himself. It was getting a bit tense. So I push. Just then totally out of nowhere Stuke decides he's going to break the tense moment with this classic comment. He stands up and invites the late, great Football star and wonderful man Walter Payton to join him. Then Stuke says, "Hey Rch, it's great that you're having fun with these ladies (hockey players) but how about taking on a couple guys that played a MAN"S game!!"

The whole crowd breaks up including me. Tiger didn't get it. Stuke...what a classic.

Does anybody else have any great Stuke memories to share? He was a prince among men and didn't suffer fools. He also had a great insight into all sports that the so-called "sports greats" of the era including that slob at NW didn't.

Rich Elwood
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Re: Annis Stukus

Postby Tom Jeffries » Mon Mar 17, 2014 4:30 pm

Coach. One of my favourite people, and CHARACTERS, in all my years.

Nice piece, Rich.

Coach (I never called him Annis, maybe Stuke, but that was it) was always UP. He always made you feel good. He was funny and although he mangled his syntax, he was well received by the Funsters.

He would corner me in the newsroom and regale me with stories about some long forgotten game. It was great.

I have said it in other places here - CFUN from 1978-1986 were some of my best memories. I was SO BLESSED, and I appreciate the great feeelings your piece dredged up, Mr. Elwood. ;-)
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Re: Annis Stukus

Postby Rich Elwood » Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:31 pm

Thanks Tom. We were all lucky to have heard him on the air but those of us who worked with him were as you said very blessed. Nelson Millman did the best impression of Annis Stukas in the station.

In 87 and 88 I worked on the morning show at CFOX during ratings to add a bit of extra funny. I did my Bill Vander Zalm impression and I did a parody of Stuke.

I saw Stuke one day at the golf course and he asked me to play a round with him. He asked me point blank, "Is that you doing that crappy impersonation of me?"

I said "Coach, it's a parody of you. It's meant to be flattering." So Stuke bangs me over the head with this one. "Can't make any money being yourself huh?" I loved his edge.

All the athletes in town loved Stuke too. When he asked a question it was from a players p.o.v.

OK, one more Stuke story. I think in Fall 77 we had a touch football team at CFUN. Some of us could play OK and the rest of us showed up. Coach of course was the coach. We had a practise at the park on Beach Ave because we were playing a charity game against the BC Lions.

I think our best players were Bob Magee, Curtis Staples, Nelson Millman and the rest of us showed up. Poor Stuke, he tried to turn a bunch of disc jockey's into athletes and it just didn't work. But, again what a nice man. Thanks Tom for contributing. Let's get a few more Stuke stories on here!
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Re: Annis Stukus

Postby Rob Collins » Fri Mar 21, 2014 6:09 pm

What a Prince of a man Stuke was.

Monday mornings at 8:00am the entire sales department would meet in the CFUN boardroom for a Wayne Stafford 2-hour sales marathon meeting. These tended to be exhausting sessions covering every piece of business in achieving budgets along with over 20 different sales packages available to clients. And that included BC Lion Football Pkgs.

Just around 8:45am the boardroom door would open with Stuke The Coach, walking over to the boardroom table pounding his fist yelling at the top of his voice "kill,kill,kill" then leaving without saying another word.

We cracked up every time.
Wayne was not pleased with the interruption however, Stuke didn't give a toot'. He just did as he pleased knowing how much we all loved him.

My first Christmas in 1981 Stuke had drawn my name for the exchange.
He gave me 12 slightly used golf balls neatly placed in a used egg carton.

I still smile when remembering Stuke saying he went to Church twice on Sundays.
Once to drop Doris off then twice to pick her up.

He really was the CFUN Goodwill Ambassador.

They just don't come any better than Annis Stukus.

Rest in Peace, Coach.

Regards,
When it comes to horsepower, too much is just enough.
Objects in mirror were not fast enough....
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Re: Annis Stukus

Postby Rich Elwood » Fri Mar 21, 2014 8:14 pm

Hi Rob,

Thanks for the post about Stuke!

Great story about the sales meetings. I can just see Moose's face. And as you said, Coach didn't give a sh*t.

I also heard his Church joke...an oldie but a goodie. Stuke retired to Canmore, Alberta (just south of Banff) to be with his daughter and family in his last years; and it was there he passed. He was truly a family man and one of this world's good people.

Yes sir...quite a guy.

Another story Stuke loved to tell was how he played with his two brothers for the Toronto Argonauts. He told me one day, "Yea Rich, we used to drive the radio announcers crazy. They'd be calling the plays and they would say - Stuke hikes the ball to Stuke, Stuke hands off to Stuke, Stuke runs for 12 yards."

He also said he "brought the forward pass to the CFL." Who knows...it didn't matter. Any Stuke story was always a good one and worth an ear and the respect he deserved. A truly great man.
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