Ivan Koloff
1942 - 2017
BORN
August 25, 1942
DIED
February 18, 2017
WINTERVILLE – Ivan Koloff, 74, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, with his wife Renae by his side. A private graveside service will be conducted.
Ivan was born in Chrysler, Ontario, Canada and was a professional wrestler in the WWWF, NWA and various other promotions from 1961-1989. In 1971, he won the WWWF Championship, defeating Bruno Sammartino in Madison Square Garden. In his retirement, he participated in many fundraisers and golf tournaments, including the Children's Miracle Network. His greatest accomplishment came in 1995 when he became a born again Christian and enjoyed traveling and giving his testimony. In 2007, he became an ordained minister, conducting weddings in NC and SC. He loved his family and being a papa.
He is survived by his wife Renae Koloff, who were together over 36 years; children, Rachel Marley and husband Phillip of Greenville, Elizabeth Phillips of Nashville, Tenn., Donald Perras and companion Heather of Canada, and Doreal Perras of England; and numerous grandchildren and siblings.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Ivan's Gofundme account to assist with medical expenses.
Arrangements by Smith Funeral Service & Crematory. Online condolences may be expressed at www.smithfcs.com
To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by The Daily Reflector on Feb. 19, 2017.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
No memorial events are currently scheduled.
To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Funeral services provided by:
Smith Funeral Service & Crematory
GUEST BOOK
Add a Message
89 Entries
I'm very much sorry to heard that my friend Mr. Ivan Koloff as passed away, I've let hime while he was wrestling in the AWA wrestling ciruit in the Twin Cities.

I'm going to missed you sir, very much.
Mr.Mike Rose
March 21, 2017
remember watching him wrestle on tv.rip
March 15, 2017
To the family of Mr Koloff, Sending my condolences to you for the loss of a legend. He touch the lives of many in one way are another keep the memories of him close to your hearts when times are sad put a smile on your face remembering the time you spent creating many happy memories with him. May the God of tender mercies grant peace and comfort to you all now and in the days to come.
March 8, 2017
As a member of the production staff at the old WRET-TV/WPCQ-TV stations in Charlotte, I met Ivan back in the late 70s when the stations hosted and taped Crockett Promotions weekly wrestling shows. Even then, while a fierce competitor in the ring, Ivan was very pleasant and personable. Years later when I saw him in a local mall and then in a Wal-Mart store, we spent some time chatting about the old days. I know Ivan had dedicated his life to Christ. So if there's a "squared circle" in Heaven, he'll be a champion! Rest in Peace, Ivan. Good thoughts to the family.
Ken Smith
March 1, 2017
I watched ivan koloff when he was in wcw and then wwf .I met ivan at a wrestling fan fest about 12 years ago and I had a great time getting to talk to him and then i got married Almost 9 years ago and ivan koloff did the seramony at our wedding. We had a great time having you and your wife there to be a part of it . thanks again ,ivan will be missed
Roy Skidmore
Friend
February 28, 2017
My heart goes out to you at this time and in the days ahead.
February 28, 2017
My Childhood was watching Ivan Koloff
Prayers to his family
R.I.P. Mr. Koloff
Susan Alford
February 26, 2017
My Childhood was watching Ivan Koloff
Prayers to his family
R.I.P. Ivan Koloff
Susan Alford
February 26, 2017
So long Ivan Koloff. I watch you many time on WWF. May your family and friends received peace and comfort from God.
R D
February 26, 2017
A big part of my childhood goes with Ivan Koloff. Wrestling brought me and my daddy together and the Russian Bear was a favorite of ours. He will be missed. May he rest in peace.
Linda Rhiner
February 26, 2017
We were so sorry to hear of your loss. The thoughts of many are with you at this time of sorrow.
February 25, 2017
My most sincerest and heartfelt condolences go out to the immediate and extended family of Mr. Ivan Koloff. I watched him wrestle time and time again and he was a tough guy to pin.He relied on the Russian Sicle move. I also watched Nikita Koloff. I grew up watching pro wrestling and the Koloffs usually won their matches. Now that Mr. Ivan Koloff has crossed the bar (something all of us must do at life's end), we can loose him and let him go. There is a brighter side somewhere and surely Mr. Ivan Koloff can join the many great wrestlers that have left us. There has to be a "squared circle" in Heaven and Mr. Koloff has entered that ring. "Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way" (Booker T. Washington).
Respectfully submitted by: Artemus Flagg, Ph.D., LPC of Charlotte, NC.
February 24, 2017
RIP Russian Bear. You were one of the best the sport ever was lucky enough to have had. You were one the greatest pioneers that has paved the way to what wrestling is today.
Joe Kalinowski
February 23, 2017
Norman Smith
February 23, 2017
I meet Ivan and his family at church event back 2013 at Webb chapter then last year I saw him again at Farmville dogwood festival 2016 he sit be me where I work at it was nice talking to him in person hope we meet again I got who have cerebral play take care
Bobby dunn
February 22, 2017
Jeff Chambers
February 22, 2017
I enjoyed your wrestling career but most of all you became a Christian.
heleana lovelace
February 22, 2017
May you draw close to God through prayer during this time of sadness "Before him pour out your heart" God is a refuge for us. [Psalms 62:8]
L. Walters
February 22, 2017
My condolences to the friends and family of Ivan for your loss. May you continue to be blessed with his memory and legacy and may your hearts be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times you shared together as you celebrate a life well lived and loved by many (Daniel 12:13) ~ Linda, Queens, NY
February 22, 2017
He was one of my favorite wrestlers. I met him at Wal-Mart years back. Nice man.
Randy e Faircloth
February 22, 2017
He was a nice man when go to piggy wiggy sometime i will see him an i will stop to talk to him prays out to his family
Tammy Wilson
February 21, 2017
The First Time I Seen Ivan Wrestle , I Was A Child It Was 1971 In N.D. Ivan And Chief Wahoo McDaniel . I Use To See Him Wrestle At WRAL TV Studio In Raleigh For Mid-Atlantic . In My Adult Live Got To Know The Real Ivan Koloff A Christian , A Loving Father And Husband And Gave His Self To Children Charities . I Will Miss You My Friend Till We Meet Again .
James Lewis
February 21, 2017
Matthew McGuire
February 21, 2017
I've watched Ivan wrestle when I was little boy growing up; I saw him in person after a wrestling match one time & I asked him for an autograph he said " you'll have to wait till I get to Charlotte"; of course I never made it to Charlotte; there has been three different occasions that I have met at Wal-Mart in Asheboro one time where I was holding my son in my arms and had a picture taken with Ivan & he was at the Walmart in Randleman for 2 evenings; when I went the one evening I did not know he was even there and he was just putting everything up & he introduced me to his daughter not sure which one and I told him I would wait and come back the next day to get an autograph and he said that would be fine; I went back the next evening and ask him where his daughter was and he told me she was shopping for baby clothes; the first time we met he told me he was from Canada and told me a little bit about the wrestling industry back when he was wrestling compared to today's wrestling; he was a real nice Christian man that I will truly miss seeing but will never be forgotten.
Robert Smith
February 21, 2017
May the family be comforted by fellow family members and friends. Always look forward to the time when you will see your loved one in perfect mind, body, and spirit when life will last forever as it was meant to be originally.
Mrs. K. Jackson
February 21, 2017
I meet your father when my son was younger and such a gentleman still have the picture meet him again a few months ago at northwest high school in concord n.c still the same gentelmen man even though he was in pain and suffering. He was the same and took time to talk. He was a great and dedicated servant for God and his testimony for God. And all the lives he touched that came to know the Lord and changed thete lives you fought a good fought you keep the faith and now you're race is over inter in my good and faithful servant.
William Pressley
February 21, 2017
Add your message here.To the family of the man known as Ivan Koloff its with heavy hearts we say good by. he was a mans mans. and one of a kind. May God ease the pane and show you the light to make it through this heard time. God bless you all.
Bobby Harker
February 21, 2017
RIP
February 21, 2017
My deepest sympathy on your loss and may God comfort you during this difficult time ( John 11 : 25 ).
February 20, 2017
I am so sorry for your loss...I really had the pleasure of meeting Ivan in college in Wilson, NC. It was an honor to listen to him talk and to see the gentleman before me. His candor with the public was amazing as many people with his celebrity status are not as humble.

I ran into Ivan years later at a concert at East Carolina University...he remembered me and recalled my name...and years later, I saw him at Walmart only to have him recall my name again...I remarked to my wife how nice he was and how amazing he was in the ring but more so outside the ring.
It truly was an honor to have met him and I will always have fond memories of our conversations albeit only a few.

May God grant you peace as I'm sure Ivan is walking with his Savior happy, and singing praises of His glory.
Charles Conway
February 20, 2017
Deepest condolences. May God strengthens his loved ones in this difficult time.
Ypsilanti, Michigan
February 20, 2017


Rachel & Family,
I met your Dad in person just last year at your church with my daughter, and I was so excited. I watched him growing up on TV wrestling with my family; we were all fans. A scary wrestler, but a gentle giant of a man. May precious memories of the love you shared bring you peace and comfort always. RIP Mr. Koloff; it was a real pleasure meeting you.
,Lynn Wagner's mom Benson
February 20, 2017
I had the great fortune to meet Mr. Koloff a few years ago. He could not be any nicer and even then in frail health, I was in awe. Just a nice person and very humble. I am truly sorry for your loss. Just know how many of us respected the work he did and how he raised the bar of pro wrestling, he will always be remembered as a great wrestler and an even better human being. God Speed Sir.
Brian A fan from Albany
February 20, 2017
May God comfort the family of Ivan Koloff he was well know by many in his time and will be miss by many.
Yvonne
February 20, 2017
RIP
michelle plakas-kaiser
February 20, 2017
I am so very sorry for your great loss. May you have peace and comfort .
Kris Moore
February 20, 2017
Two Legends dead in the same week!!!
RIP Ivan and George.
James Kiss
February 20, 2017
I'm so sorry for your big loss it's the world's loss and heavens gain I grew up watching lvan wrestle your family are in our prayers signed Daniel Godwin
Daniel Godwin
February 20, 2017
May it comfort you to know that God as well as others care about your loss at this time.

Sincerely
February 20, 2017
To the Koloff family,friends,colleagues,and fans: May the God of comfort,comfort all who knew him.Keep your fond memories of him.Our heartfelt condolences and prayers.
Wright's
February 20, 2017
So sorry for you loss!
Sarah Jolly
February 20, 2017
I'm so sorry for your loss. Know that the God of all comfort is near to all who call on him in truth. (Psalms145:18,19) Pllease call on him for needed comfort and strength.
L W
February 20, 2017
I remember Ivan - the Russian Bear on wrestling when I was very young and still living at home. He was very tough and scary. My dog would bark when he was talking and we always got a kick out of that. I met him once at a WalMart store and he was such a nice gentleman!! I am so sorry to hear of his passing. My sincere condolences to the family. RIP Brother Ivan.
KATHLEEN RANDOLPH
February 20, 2017
Grief can be so hard, but our special memories help us cope. Remembering you and your loved one today and always.
February 20, 2017
Dearest Renae...Deepest sympathy to you and "Uncle" Ivan's family...He married my wife and I 2yrs ago in Kinston...We had a wonderful time with you both...GOD'S speed at this time...GOD BLESS....RIP Brother...
Gary Williamson
February 20, 2017
I remember you, Mr Koloff. I saw his wrestling power and glory on TV and magazines in the 1980s. His personality and heroic Russian inspiration ensure that his name is never forgotten!
Rest in Peace!
Donna James
February 20, 2017
It can be so hard to face the first year without your loved one, but the love of family and friends can carry you through.
February 20, 2017
My deepest condolences to the whole family. While i'll always wish we had reconnected somehow, he always stayed in my thoughts and prayers through out my life and will continue to do so. He was the provider of sooo many of my fondest memories as a child. Thank you Uncle Ivan, rest in peace.
Matt McKay
February 20, 2017
Please accept my condolences on the loss of your love one.
February 20, 2017
My condolences to the family and friends. May the fond memories of your loved one carry you through this difficult time as you look to our loving heavenly father for strength "For he is near to those broken at heart ". Ps 34:17,18
Linda
February 20, 2017
My condolences on the loss of a great man who never met a stranger. Heaven has gained a champion.
Jens Lutz
February 20, 2017
My son loved getting ur autograph from u when he was little and he got a picture also may u rest in peace
Marsha
February 20, 2017
I had a chance to finally meet Ivan Koloff in Walmart so many years ago, he was such a nice person. My Condolences goes out to the Koloff Family, RIP
Nanette Barrett
February 19, 2017
Nanette Barrett
February 19, 2017
Peace.
William Fearey
February 19, 2017
Your friend you always met me with a smile and a handshake My father and I watched many of your matches on tv when I was a kid. Friends and I attended matches in Kinston NC at grainier stadium.You will be missed.
Kenneth Turner
February 19, 2017
Ivan was one of the legendary figures of pro wrestling,his wrestling persona will live on!R.I.P.
Pete Cullen
February 19, 2017
to the koloff family sorry to hear about the passing of ivan koloff i had the pleasure of meeting him in person at a fund raiser they had at the walmart on university dr years ago i also saw him on tv when he was wrestling on midatlanticwrestling in the 70's and 80's he will be truly missed by his wrestling friends and family
william peacock
February 19, 2017
A Great Person And A Gentleman Worked Security For Him At Asheville Civic Center Many Times He Will Be Missed Rest In Peace God Bless You And Your Family
authur ingle
February 19, 2017
Uncle Ivan thank you for being a true champion of the Gospel. When I met you last year at a convention I could see the joy of the Lord in your smile

Thanks for all the great matches through the years. Enjoy the Lord's Kingdom I will see you there one day.
Juan Rosario III
February 19, 2017
Godspeed Ivan, and thank you for sharing a part of your life with us.
Harry Simpson
February 19, 2017
My thought's and prayers go out to Mr Koloff's family. i met Mr Koloff in Burlington NC.on June 29th 1996 he was a gentleman nice to talked to he autographed picture for me that i still have framed in my building. He will be missed.

Ron Ballard, Burlington NC
February 19, 2017
Ivan was an inspirational man of God and will be missed. We're glad we had the opportunity to listen to his message and we will be praying for his family to find comfort.
Larry and Nancy Ayscue
February 19, 2017
One of the niceest man my brother and I have ever met
In a world of fake people he was a loving kind and generous man who shared himself to others with no want of gain
He was one of the greatest and he will be missed dearly
James Turnage
February 19, 2017
I had the pleasure of seeing Ivan Koloff's title defense against Canadian Gene DuBois, headlining a matinee in the old Boston Gardens; it was a squash. The McMahon's were very short-sighted to limit the Russian Bear's title reign to 21 days - he was always in shape and gave the same effort against jobbers as he did against main eventers. Ring the bell 10 times, another of wrestling's true Greats has entered the squared circle in the sky.
Masked Spectre
February 19, 2017
PRAYERS AND BLESSINGS
Valenda Newell
February 19, 2017
May The Russian Bear rest in peace......I was there at Madison Square Garden when Mr. Koloff became the first wrestler to defeat Bruno Sammartino via a pinfall, and I had the privilege of speaking with "Ivan" some time ago in a three-way conference call arranged for me by the late Elliot Maron.....May perpetual light shine upon Mr. Koloff........
Ronnie Grau
February 19, 2017
You will be missed by those who knew you in any way. I am glad I knew you as a person. You left things in my heart and mind through God. Bless the family.Will miss you myself for now but will see you again in Heaven again one day!Fly high Ivan to God's hands!
Diana Keel
February 19, 2017
Had the privilege of seeing Ivan wrestle at an independent card in West Chester PA in 1991.One of my favorites and looking forward to seeing him one day in heaven
Rich Arner
February 19, 2017
A great performer and an ever greater man of god.

God Speed to you sir !
JR
February 19, 2017
Carleton Blunt
February 19, 2017
10 memorial chimes of the ring bell for yet another pro wrestling great.
Les Breese
February 19, 2017
I meet Uncle Ivan many many times over my life and without a doubt we have lost one of the greats as far as wrestling but GOD has gain a new ANGEL. They say it is unmanly to cry but when I heard Uncle Ivan had past I could not help myself. The last time I spoke with Uncle Ivan was in 2015 at Master of the Ring Entertainment event when he was leaving the event and carrying out his bags, I remember I took his bags from him and made sure he got to his vehicle, a way of saying THANKYOU for a man, a REAL MAN may you REST IN PEACE
max weavil
Friend
February 19, 2017
ivan was also one of my favorites. i too had the the opportunity to meet and chat with him in fredericksburg, va sometime back. he was truly a wonderful man. he will sadly be missed by all who knew him.
Troy Holcomb
February 19, 2017
Freddie Rhett
February 19, 2017
RIP IVAN KOLOFF YOU WILL BE DEEPLY MISSED
Roxanne Thompson
February 19, 2017
I grew up watching you on NWA. I had the pleasure of my son meeting you in person at a store you took a picture with him. You were the greatest villian of your time. I send my prayers & condolences to your family. GOD BLESS. Missed but never forgotten
ANGELA SLADE
February 19, 2017
I remember he was a great entertainer , he will be missed deeply.
Michael Young
February 19, 2017
Thank you for the memories
Jacob Seidel
February 19, 2017
Ivan was everyone's Uncle. He cared so much about people; whether it was a young wrestler wanting advice, someone wanting to hear his stories of the good ol' days, someone wanting to know how they could give their heart to The Lord; giving his time for charities; no matter the need or request, Uncle Ivan always came through. It's my honored privilege to call him and Renae friends and my brother & sister in Christ. I'm saddened from the loss, but he is in Heaven with his Savior, and he doesn't have ANY aches, pains, or any physical ailments at all!! He's in better shape he could've ever imagined! My love and support go to Renae, Rachel, and the entire family. May God's grace cover you all!!
Marty Lefler
Friend
February 19, 2017
Sorry to hear of Ivan passing. My family has followed him for years.
Vicki Smith
February 19, 2017
Me and my husband had the honor of having you marry us on October 16,2010..we will never forget you.
Anita Griffin
February 18, 2017
Rest in peace sorry to hear u passed,u r no longer in pain.godspeed
chris cazzato
February 18, 2017
I had the pleasure of meeting Ivan, When he was doing a fundraiser at the Ayden Food Lion a few years ago.We had a great conversation of times gone by and his mission to help others. Great man. So glad to have meet him.
Jim Shuey
February 18, 2017
Ann M Stokman
February 18, 2017
Kathy Turner
February 18, 2017
You were hated with love. Great wrestler and person, R.I.P.
Tom
February 18, 2017
He will be missed but the Lord needed a angel
February 18, 2017
I am so honored to have had you as my trainer and mentor down in Charlotte 1993. You were the best. God bless you and your family. I love you brother. You will be missed. Ted
February 18, 2017