Tributes paid to much-loved Wigan ex-pat, son of rugby league legend

Glowing tributes have been paid in memory of a Wigan ex-pat whose family name has had an indelible mark on the town’s sporting legacy.
The late Joe Egan is survived by his wife LindaThe late Joe Egan is survived by his wife Linda
The late Joe Egan is survived by his wife Linda

Joe Egan was 76 when he died on Saturday, May 9. He had been a Standish resident before moving to Wirral in 1979 and later retired to Spain with wife Linda in 2002, where they enjoyed 18 happy years in the sun of Mazarron, in the province of Murcia.

He remained very close to his brothers Barry and Christopher as well as his sister Pat, who he occasionally even visited in the Bahamas.

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Joe and Linda first met in 1965 and the couple married in 1969. They celebrated their Golden anniversary in Granada last year.

Joe in his element on the golf courseJoe in his element on the golf course
Joe in his element on the golf course

Following his death, family and friends from across the world have been contacting Linda with their moving condolences.

“We will all miss him terribly, the tributes we’ve had from near and far are amazing,” said Linda, 72.

“He had a lot of great friends. It’s so unfortunate that with the lockdown here (in Spain), he is being cremated but without a funeral. We had a few friends in my garden raising a glass, but he would’ve had the church overflowing otherwise!”

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Joe’s father, Joe Egan Snr, was one of Wigan’s greatest rugby league players. The former hooker made 362 appearances for his hometown club – many as captain – between 1938 and 1949, and later coached the club for five years.

Joe Egan meets King George V1 at Wembley before the 1948 final between Wigan and Bradford NorthernJoe Egan meets King George V1 at Wembley before the 1948 final between Wigan and Bradford Northern
Joe Egan meets King George V1 at Wembley before the 1948 final between Wigan and Bradford Northern

He won 13 trophies during his 12 year playing career and earned 14 caps for his country. He died aged 93 in 2012.

In his younger years, Joe Jnr had followed in his father’s footsteps, and played for the likes of St Helens, Blackpool and Salford before embarking on a long and successful career in insurance.

One of his former clubs, Anselmians RUFC, said: “Joe was a great asset to the team and the club, great to play alongside and always good company after the game, he was a genuinely nice man he will be greatly missed.

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“I know you will all join me in sending our heartfelt condolences to Linda and the family.”

Nephew Howard Leighton said his uncle was “a very special man, the world is a poorer place without him in it.”

Linda went on: “He enjoyed life. We moved to Spain 18 years ago and bought a derelict house. Joe had never done DIY in his life and yet he virtually rebuilt it with me!

“At 58, he said ‘that’s it, I’m retiring’. We sold our house, he said ‘we’re packing the car with a suitcase each and some golf clubs’, and that was that!”

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Despite being a former rugby man, in his later life Joe developed a passion for golf.

He would spend many hours on his local golf course and proudly boasted five hole-in-ones in his lifetime.

He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

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