Softball-Fastpitch-Ann & Dick Raymond

Ann-Dick Raymond



Ann & Dick Raymond


Dick and Ann Raymond have devoted a considerable amount of their lives to fulfilling a single desire, to make their beloved Grafton a better place and as a result of their tireless work and organizational skill they have forever changed, and enhanced, their community.


Dick Raymond’s lifetime of volunteerism can be traced back to 1962, when as a 19-year-old, and still not old enough to drive, he started coaching a team in the Cobourg Church Hockey League (CCHL). As a coach, Dick would lead three teams to provincial hockey championships, in addition to a Provincial Women’s Softball Association (PWSA) Bronze Medal with the Cobourg Bantam Angels in 1989. But it is as an organizer and administrator that Dick has had the largest impact.

In addition, to a five-decade long tenure with Grafton Minor Hockey, which saw him at various times serve as the organization’s President, Vice-President, past President, coach, equipment manager, bingo organizer, fundraiser, etc. Dick also served on the Grafton Arena recreation committee for forty years, thirty-five of which saw him operate the Grafton canteen.


Dick and Ann along with Jack and Pat Kernaghan were the founders and lead organizers for the Grafton Fastball Tournament. Grafton officials did not jump to the idea of hosting the Tournament when the opportunity presented itself so Ann and Dick Raymond took on the financial responsibility for the first tournament.  It was the first of a four-decade long existence.

And then there was all the hours put in to construct the Grafton facility itself, 5 ball diamonds, all the backstops, the scoreboard, fencing the diamonds, the playground, score keepers’ benches, etc. all bear the handprint of Dick Raymond.

Dick was never alone in his efforts, in fact he represented one-half of a formidable team.


Every step of the way, at every event, every fundraiser, was Dick’s wife Ann. A true team, Dick and Ann would not only work together, but complement each other, so while Dick was organizing, it was Ann placing the calls, answering the phone, arranging for volunteers and volunteering herself, running the errands, arranging advertising, awards and tournament merchandise.

Despite both holding full-time jobs, and raising a family, and despite being tired most nights, both Dick and Ann Raymond always found the energy and the time to give of themselves for the greater good of their community and the people of Grafton.



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Submitted byDonnie and Mar… (not verified) on Thu, 06/16/2022 - 18:29

A good job well done! Thank you for all those hours spent volunteering!

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Sports-Layton Dodge Impact

Layton Dodge Caricature






In general, most longstanding members of the Cobourg and area sports community are aware of Layton’s prodigious production of sports news, his widespread volunteer contributions and his personal generosity to those he knew.


There is no need to recount all of Layton’s accomplishments that led to his most deserved induction into The Cobourg and District Sports Hall of Fame. The record is clear and eloquently preserved in the articles, testimonials and accolades Layton Dodge has received since his passing.  


When I was young and living in the centre of Cobourg, I came to know Layton quite well. He had an easy rapport with young people that became regularly evident in his sports news articles that grew from once a week publications to a 2 page spread that was produced 5 days a week.


His respect for the accomplishments of even ordinary athletes was clearly evident in the topics he chose to write about and the manner in which he elevated so many young people’s sense of accomplishment.


I hope that Layton appreciated how his contributions had a ripple effect in his community. Each article provided an athlete, coach, manager, local business sponsor, umpire, referee or service club with an elevated and positive profile in the community. The bonds that Layton strengthened through his writing, embraced the wide spectrum of individuals that lived in the area.


Farmer, doctor, factory worker, nurse, business owner, high school teacher or student all knew about and respected the contributions and achievements of those who were part of the broader sports community. Whether we met at the rink, soccer pitch, lawn bowling club or ball diamond, we gathered in larger numbers because we saw the games as community events.


On a warm summer evening, Layton’s voice, projected by a loudspeaker from Victoria Park, would echo through the old part of Cobourg summarizing a half inning scoring summary for the Angels or Town League. Perhaps, more than anything I can remember about Layton, the sound of his voice provided me with a comforting sense that we lived in the best of places, and during the best of times.


Something that always amazed me was how Layton was able to craft an enjoyable article from the simplest information garnered from a score sheet or summary. Despite the fact that it seemed like he was everywhere at the same time, he surely was not. His capacity to enlist his imagination, employ his expressive language and express his deep affection for sports and apply those skills so often and so well, were remarkable talents.


His skill was equal to or perhaps exceeded some of the best national and international sports writers in the print media of his time. It is not beyond the scope of possibility to imagine that Layton Dodge could have sought and obtained a national profile in the print media.


How lucky we were that Layton loved his community  so much that he stayed and gave us such a precious and remarkable gift.


By: John Hayden



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Sports-Neil Cane

Sports-Neil Cane



Neil Cane was born in Cobourg on January 12, 1934. He lived most of his life in Baltimore, with his wife Shirley and five children, John, Laurie (Dynes), Peter, Cathy, and David.

As an athlete, Neil excelled at baseball, track and field, and hockey.

The earliest recollection of Cane's athletic ability started in 1948-49 when his Junior softball teams were crowned the Cobourg Rotary League Champs and also the Cobourg Labour Day Tournament Juvenile champs. In 1950, he was a member of the OASA Juvenile B Softball Champs.

He also won the Field Day Cup as the Junior Champion in Track and Field at CCI in 1948. Neil's track and field prowess was again evident at the Ontario Police Games One Mile relay. He was part of the winning relay team along with Art Round, Harry Sirrett, and J. Campbell.

Starting in 1959 Neil racked up hockey championships and personal awards. He was the Mercantile Hockey League MVP, and the teams he played with were league champs in the Hamilton Township Men's League. Twice he played on championship teams while playing in the Mercantile Hockey League.

Neil's actual job was manager of the Baltimore Recreation Centre for 22 years. When he started, there was only one baseball diamond. When he finished there were three additional fenced in diamonds, plus Neil got the old lights from Victoria Park for night games at Diamond #1.

He also added a playground, canteen and washroom facilities, a basketball court, and two volleyball courts. It became a first-class facility.

As many people have mentioned over the years, that although Neil worked for the Baltimore Recreation Centre, he practically lived there and did an incredible amount of work as a volunteer at the facility.

Not only did he do that, he was involved in many other aspects of the community. I always said jokingly, “If you added up the number of hours Neil actually worked at the park, he probably made a dollar an hour”.

I remember telling him that as part of a Millennium Celebration I wanted to build a conservation/educational area on the unused portion of land behind Baltimore Public School. It was a dream of mine that Neil turned into reality!

My first order of business was getting solid benches for the students that would last the test of time. Neil ordered six sturdy benches and I assisted (I watched) in cementing them into the ground. I made a cedar pathway around the entire area and we were pretty well done… or so I thought.

I asked Neil if he could build a semi-circular bench that could comfortably seat thirty children. That's all I needed to say. He drew up a plan and built the bench single-handedly. Later on he asked me if the area was being used. I mentioned that some teachers weren't able to manage the pathway and it was difficult for them to take their class to the top of the steep hill. Neil and I chatted and he said “You know what, we need to build steps with a rail.”

A week later I was looking out of the back window of my class and I saw two by fours and planks being tossed over the fence. I went back to investigate. There was Neil, alone, throwing the wood over the fence. He then proceeded to climb over the fence and commence working on the stairs.

In no time at all, the beautiful staircase was constructed and there were no excuses for the garden area not being utilized. I dedicated an area as Cane's Corner of the Millennium Garden to Neil and Shirley Cane and had a plaque attached to one of the benches recognizing Neil for his volunteer efforts.

No job was too big or small for Neil. His philosophy was, “Let's just get it done!” He didn't want the fanfare, he just wanted to see jobs completed. Another huge project he undertook was the construction of Jacob's Ladder.

Let's move along, there's so much more to tell.

According to Denine Page, Head Instructor at The Baltimore Figure Skating Club, “Neil was much more than the arena manager at Baltimore. He willingly involved himself with the coaches, skaters, and parents. I often consulted him with new ideas about programming for the skaters and appreciated his input as to how we could make things happen successfully.”

At the end of each season, the club would have their annual skating show. Once again, there was Neil volunteering to help with scaffolding, lights, decorations, and the sound system. He didn't stop there! He also volunteered to be the MC for the show and do all the announcing for the dress rehearsals and both the afternoon and evening shows!

Anne Quigley, President of Baltimore Minor Hockey, mentioned Neil's role in taking charge of lining up 1000 kids at the Cross Border Annual tournament opening ceremonies and offering assistance throughout the tournament.

Even after his retirement, he stayed involved by sitting on the Board with Anne. She noted that “Neil selflessly spent countless hours helping at fund raising events, often behind the scenes in the setup or tear down stage, never seeking the “limelight”. “The saying he was best known for was, “You kids just go home and get some rest before the big event, and I will take care of everything here.” And he never failed us!!”

His volunteering efforts were evident in Grafton, too! He was everywhere! Neil was a player in the inaugural Grafton Fastball Tournament run by Dick and Ann Raymond. “Over the years he would be a coach, an umpire, a groundskeeper, scorekeeper, announcer, and any other person we needed him to be,” according to Raymond.

No matter who you talked to in the Baltimore community and surrounding area, people admired him and respected him for what he did and what he meant to Baltimore. He was a tremendous role model to many individuals, including myself. The legendary Neil Cane was an iconic figure that we'll never forget.

Layton Dodge, Cobourg's sports writer summed it up best, “Neil Cane – Mr. Baltimore.”

Although Neil did not seek recognition, over the years he gathered a lot of hardware for his efforts as a player, as a coach, as an umpire, and as a volunteer.



1973 Certificate of Outstanding Service from the Cobourg Church Hockey League

Legion Baseball Awards: 1976 Certificate Of Merit

1980 Peewee Coach Of The Year

1982 Baltimore Minor Hockey Vice President

1989 Baltimore Arena Committee for “Devotion Of Duty”

1995 OASA Outstanding Service Award

1998 OASA Outstanding Service Award

2004 Cobourg Men's Softball League “Thanks For The Memories”

2007 Hamilton Township Senior of the Year

Paul Harris Fellow Award from The Cobourg Rotary Club

Baltimore Sports Complex Diamond #1 renamed signage “Neil Cane Diamond #1”



1948 Cobourg Rotary League Champs Jr. Softball

1948-9 CCI Junior Champion (Track and Field Trophy)

1949 Cobourg Labour Day Tournament Juvenile Champs

1950 OASA Juvenile B Champs

1952 Ontario Police Games 1 Mile Relay Winners

1959 Mercantile Hockey MVP Trophy

1965-6 Mercantile Hockey Champs

1966-7 Mercantile Hockey Champs

1972 Hamilton Township Men's League Champs

By Bryan Marjoram



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Sports-Ken Petrie

Ken Petrie



Kenneth Wayne James Petrie was born July 11, 1946 in Stratford, Ontario. In 1957 when he was 11, he and his family moved to Cobourg. In 1972 they moved to Furnace Street across from Memorial Arena where he eventually worked for many years.

During a month-long visit from his grandfather one summer, Ken learned to play ball which sparked a life-long love of sports. He was an avid bowler as well early in his life.

Unselfishly, Ken devoted most of his adult life to minor sports in Cobourg—namely: the Cobourg Community Hockey League (CCHL); Cobourg Legion Minor Softball Association (CLMSA) and Cobourg Baseball Association (CBA).

It was about 1965 when Ken was 19 that Layton Dodge recruited him to volunteer with the Cobourg Church Hockey League. He helped Gord Burdick Senior coach the St. Andrew’s Church League team. Thus began a life-long tenure with the CCHL until the organization moved from Memorial Arena to the CCC in 2011.

In hockey, Ken was a tireless workhorse helping out wherever he could whether it be as a coach, manager, trainer, fundraiser, Bingo volunteer, executive member, committee member, or just plain taking on responsibilities when necessary—when no one else would, he did if he could.

He was president of the CCHL a record 11 times (1979-82, 1985, 1993, 1999-2003) and was a long-time life member. He was OMHA contact person many, many times (a time consuming, huge responsibility), ice chairman, governor, tournament convenor, timekeeper/scorekeeper, budget committee member and astoundingly, many of these in a single hockey season. Those who worked with Ken didn’t mind helping him though—as he never asked anyone to do anything he wouldn’t do himself. It is on record that Layton Dodge called Ken “the driving force behind the CCHL”. Also, Past President, Jim Nairn is quoted as saying “Ken Petrie’s sense of community and love for the game is what kept him coming back.”

A source of great pride for Ken throughout his time in the CCHL was seeing all of Cobourg’s championship hockey banners hanging from the rafters in Memorial Arena. Also, he was extremely proud of the fact that the CCHL housed both boys and girls hockey (OMHA and OWHA) under the CCHL umbrella.

Ken’s happy cheerful demeanor along with his willingness to help, gave credence to the CCHL motto “Dedicated to Our Youth”. That was Ken Petrie through and through.

Besides the enormous amount of time spent volunteering with hockey during fall and winter, Ken loved spending the summer months coaching boys or girls teams in either softball or baseball. For many years he donated the trophies for the ‘golden glove’ competitions during Cobourg Baseball tournaments. And, little known to the general public, Ken Petrie throughout his time in sports often made sure that a kid on his team who needed a ball glove, hockey stick or whatever in order to play—and whose parents couldn’t afford it, was given what they needed from Sommerville’s.... he’d go into the store and square up with Clarke or Dave later.

Since the mid 1960s, Ken has compiled the most amazing record when it comes to provincial championship wins and claims 10 provincial titles with minor sports—hockey, softball and baseball combined: perhaps the most ever in Cobourg. They are listed below plus an EOBA championship.

The certificates commemorating Ken’s provincial championship wins are not very detailed as to the individual winning team names. However, in an article by Cobourg Star writer Darryl Thompson in 2005, Ken clearly states he had an All-Ontario hockey championship, one Ontario Girls’ softball championship, four Ontario Amateur Softball Association (OASA) championships and four Ontario Baseball Association (OBA) titles. The Ontario Championships are listed below. He coached baseball in Port Hope as well.

A provincial championship title captured by the Legion Squirt Red Wings Softball team coached by Ken and the late Tom Savage in 1967 was Cobourg Legion Minor Softball’s first ever provincial title. 

Ken's many certificates, citations, plaques and awards for service to community were at one time proudly displayed in his home. Some of them are listed below. Many are being added to the 'Collection' at the Cobourg and District Sports Hall of Fame website.

There were many hockey/ball teams Ken coached, some won awards. The many team photos, also being added to the 'Collection', are small proof of Ken's extensive coaching involvement.

In July 2013, Ken suffered an abdominal aortic aneurysm and moved to a nursing home in Port Hope where he resides today.

Ontario Championships

1967 - Cobourg Legion Squirt “A” Red Wings OASA Softball Team (with Tom Savage)

1970 - PWSA Martin’s Sunoco Girls Softball Team (with Audrey Warner). Ken’s sister Mary Checkley played on this team

1976 - Cobourg Legion Squirt “B” OASA Softball Team (with John Hayden)

1979 - EOBA Tyke  ‘A’ Champs with Sommerville Leprechauns Baseball Team (with Pete  Sweet)

1983 - Cobourg Legion Pirates Peewee ‘D’ Baseball Team (with Al Guernsey & Gord Latourneau)

1984 - Cobourg Bantam Baseball Team

1988-89 - Harnden & King ‘BB’ PeeWee OMHA Hockey Team (with John Donegan)

1990 - Legion PeeWee ‘B’ Pirates Baseball Team (with Ron Jay and Dave Clarke)

1998 - Cobourg Legion Midget “B” OASA Softball Team (with Bob Bateman)


1972 - Thompson Plumbing & Heating Saints Midget Girls PWSA (with Ross Burgess and Les Stevenson)

1982 - Cobourg Legion Pirates PeeWee ‘C’ Baseball (with Dave Bemma & Bob Barkhouse)

Honours & Awards

1972-73 - Cobourg Church Hockey League “Coach of the Year Award” St. Andrew’s PeeWee North Stars

1976 - Certificate of Merit from the Cobourg Legion Minor Softball Association in appreciation of outstanding service to the youth of our community

1978/79 - OMHA Coach of the Year (with Dennis Whelan) in the CCHL

1980 - The Spooner Sport Award for outstanding contributions to minor sport

1981 - Cobourg Baseball Association’s “Jim Munro Memorial Trophy” for Coach of the Year

1983 - Cobourg Baseball Association’s “Jim Munro Memorial Trophy” for Coach of the Year

1984 - Cobourg Baseball Association’s "Jim Munro Memorial Trophy" for Coach of the Year to Ken Petrie and Wayne Wiggins

1987 - Sesquicentennial Celebration Award - Town of Cobourg - Angus Read

1987 - Canada Celebration 88 (Olympic Partner) - Certificate of Merit from the Government of Canada in grateful recognition of your contribution to your community

1990 - YMCA Service to Youth Award

1990 - Cobourg Baseball Association’s “Jim Munro Memorial Trophy” Coach of the Year Award presented by Frank Waghorn

1993 - OBA’s “Bantam Coach of the Year Award” from AAA to E levels (a province-wide citation)

1997 - Ontario Municipal Recreation Association Certificate from the Town of Cobourg given at the CCHL’s annual awards banquet with Layton Dodge

1997 - Life Member of the Cobourg Community Hockey League - inscripted on the CCHL Life Member Plaque

1997 - Life Member of Cobourg Legion Minor Softball Association

2001 - Ontario Minor Hockey Association - Letter of Commendation from OMHA President Pat Parlette 

2007 - Nomination for the National “RBC Hockey Heroes Award” 

2019 - Members of the Northumberland Baseball Association assume that Ken was a life member of the former CBA though no documentation 

By Rosey Bateman



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Sports-Cobourg Sesquicentennial 1987

Cobourg Sesquicentennial 1987

Cobourg Celebrates 1987 Sesquicentennial

In 1987, Cobourg celebrated its 150th birthday (Sesquicentennial). A committee was formed in July of 1985 charged with the mandate of delivering a high quality and interesting 150th birthday celebration. Chairman of the Committee, Ralph Zarboni, describes in the book, Cobourg 1837- Sesquicentennial -1987…. “Thirty very talented people came together to create a program designed to remind Cobourg citizens of their heritage and history, and to make them aware of excellent future prospects. The celebration has, for the most part, achieved its goals. The nucleus committee of 30 expanded into some 250 representing all segments of the community, including many of our neighbouring municipalities.” 

Members of the Committee were: Ralph Zarboni, Chair, William Gadd Publicity, Bruce Margles Treasurer, Ruth Woods, Secretary, George Borthwick, Bill Daly, Norm Duncan, Lew Griffith, Marion Hagen, Helen Hawke, Ed Haynes, George Jeanneret, Bob Jenkins, Dr James Johnston, L. Col. Robert Lucas, Bob MacCoubrey, Don Macklin, Wayne Milroy, Dean Pepper, Eleanor Pifher, Ross Quigley, Most Rev. R. Seaborn, David Sheffield, Bonnie Sheridan, Ron Templer, Ross Tressider, Peter Tulumello, Roger Williams, Bob Wilson, Col. Ced Haynes, Linda Jacobson, Mark Finnan and Mike Korol. 

78 events comprised the Sesquicentennial program including: 
 * Cobourg Waterfront festival
 * Old Fort Henry Guard visit
 * Royal Canadian Horse Artillery Military Parade, show and exhibit
 * Art in the Park
 * Royal Visit: The Duke and Duchess of York
 * Cobourg Boy Scout Reunion
 * Hot Air Balloon Race (sponsored by General Foods).
 * Fiddler on the Roof, (a performance by Northumberland Players)
 * F18 Airshow
 * Sesqui Parade
 * Downtown window decorating and sidewalk painting 

As part of the celebrations a Sesquicentennial book was published (Ed Haynes Chair, John Spilsbury Editor, Cecil Davies Art Director, and committee members, Dr. James Johnston, Barbara Cameron, Col. Cedric Haynes, Col. Gordon King, Percy Climo, Roger Williams, Jean Haynes). A sesquicentennial resource book to preserve the history of Cobourg for future generations was placed in all public and separate schools in the Northumberland and Newcastle Board of Education (Helen Hawke Sesquicentennial Education Committee Chair, Barbara Garrick Chair, Ron Cameron, Yvonne Green and Wayne McCurdy committee members). 

The Cobourg Commemorative Dollar produced 25,000 mined silver dollar coins approved as legal tender within the town limits for the entire year as well as gold coins valued at $10, not legal tender (General Chair Georges Jeanneret, minted in Alberta, Royal Canadian Sea Cadets Skeena). The Sesqui Calendar, as a promotional fundraiser sold for $5 and produced by the Cobourg and District Historical Society provided 365 historical entries pertaining to Cobourg’s past. Pictures were provided by the Cobourg Colour Camera Club (Charles A Hagen was Calendar Compiler while Thomas W. Hawke was Project Chair, Lois Ann Verney, Photography, Peter Delanty and Bill Gadd committee members). 

The sports community played a part in the celebrations as well. Ross Quigley served as Chair of Cobourg’s Sesquicentennial’s Sporting Events Committee which included:  
 * January 6, 1987 - International Boat Show Sesqui Exhibit – Cobourg Chamber of Commerce, CYC
 * June 21, 1987 - 44 cyclists (19 from Cobourg) participated in a 150 kilometre bicycle tour. Cyclists came from as far away as Penetanguishene, Oshawa and Belleville. It was sponsored by the Cobourg Cycling Club Tour – Dave Singfield, Chair, Pamela and Henry Joachim, sponsored by Complax Corporation.
 * The sesquicentennial Fishing Derby under the chair of George Cortesis extended over a prolonged period commencing June 22 and ending July 5, 1987. John McIvor of Cobourg emerged triumphant, landing the 30.6 pound chinook salmon after a battle that lasted three quarters of an hour. He caught the fish near Shelter Valley Creek and won an electric trolling motor as the winner of the Derby. The official weigh-in took place at the Cobourg Marina. 

 * June 26-28,1987 – C.L. Dingy Regatta – Barbara Johns, John Turner, Nick Weyman, Chair, Committee: Ralph Curtis, Dan Goldring, Ed Billing, Jarl Northwood, Marilyn Macklin, Steve Swift, Ben Veenhoff, Alan Hallworth, Don Macklin, Peter Stirling, Donna Curtis. 
 * June 27, 1987 - Galloping Ghosts Football Reunion which consisted of over 230 participants coming to Cobourg to participate in the Sesqui Parade, dinner and dance. Former players came from as far away as Vancouver, the Caribbean, Montreal and the United States to join in the fun. Committee members were: Bus Edwards, Chair, Ken Cooper, Paul Currelly, Jack Newton, Ed Haynes, Bernie Flesch, Audrey Burdick, Ireland Quigley, Jim Redmond, Homer Seale, Chub Downey, Ken Medhurst. This was one of the most popular sesqui events. Many of Cobourg’s older citizens will remember Cobourg’s most famous sports team that won 3 Canadian or Dominion Championships, 8 Ontario Titles and operated in Cobourg from the 1930’s to the 1950’s and led by President/Manager Fred Dufton. 

 * July 3 -5. 1987 -Can-Am Keel Boat Regatta- Barbara Johns, Chair, John Turner, Jarl Northwood, Steve Swift, Alan Hallworh, Henry Meinster. 
 * July 4, 1987 – Highland Games held at Donegan Park and included 20 pipe bands and numerous heavy events and highland dancing. 21 athletes registered in the heavy events which included the caber toss (56 and 28 pound), stone throw and hammer throw in both the amateur and professional class. Another event was the road races. As part of the Timex-Toronto Star Road Race Series ’87, 182 men and women participated in the 3K and 8K races. Runners travelled from Sudbury, Ottawa, New Jersey and Sault Ste. Marie to compete against local participants. Jim McIlwham from Cobourg won the 8K race in the 50-59 age category. The committee members included Harry Gardner – President, Mary Gardner, Secretary, Ron Cameron. Race Director, Gord Hunter, Heavy Event Coordinator, Dr. Paul Caldwell. 

 * July 26, 1987 - Cobourg Sesqui Lawn Bowling Tournament – Bob Fulton, Chair. Headed up by Gord King and Wally Reid. The event took place at the Cobourg Lawn Bowling Club in Victoria Park. The club ran two major tournaments in 1987 – The sesqui tournament and a tournament to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the club’s beginning. 54 bowlers, some in colourful period dress were led in a parade around the Greens by Don Diminie with his bag pipes. A Spider then followed and was won by Art Jones. Teams of Trebles then played a 12 end game and stopped for refreshments of tea, punch and cake donated by Ladies’ President Alma McKendrick and Mens’ President Wally Reid and cut by Mayor Angus Read. A second 12 end game followed and at the finish most of the costumed participants agreed that long skirts, waist coats, collars and ties were not nearly as comfortable, especially in such hot weather, as our present day dress code. The ladies winner was Alma McKendrick, the gentlemen winner was Ron Wicks, the high score with 2 losses – 19 points went to Gordon King, Doris Stephens and Agnas Haas, the treble winners were Bob Fulton, Doug Coyle and Bruce Screaton. (info taken from a report written by Al Hoskin, Jetney Chair)

 * August 7, 1987- Sesqui Celebrity Pro-Am Golf Tournament – Dick Garrison, Jim Bovaird, Chair. This event took place at Dalewood Golf and Country Club. 600 volunteers and committee members coordinated 28 celebrities, 26 pros and more than 100 local amateur golfers to celebrate Cobourg’s Sesquicentennial and raise money for the Cobourg Youth Activity Fund and the Children’s Wish Foundation. The event raised approximately $30,000 in money and prizes. Many NHL hockey players, referees and linesmen attended along with other significant personalities. Spectators were encouraged to attend both the tournament on the 7th and the silent auction on the 6th (which generated $4,000 for Children’s Wish Foundation). Shuttle buses were available to transport guests to view Jacques Villeneuve’s Formula 1 car, a Carling 1928 Mercedes Antique Truck on Display at an antique car show and to meet the Toronto Sun Sunshine Girls.  
 * August 8, 1987 – Muskoka Water Ski Show – Don Macklin, Chair, Linda Jacobson, Dean McCaughey, Carl Vaida, Steve Mancusco

 * The 8th annual Quench Run sponsored by General Foods occurred on August 15, 1987. Racers ran distances of 4.7 and 10 kilometres in men, women and open categories. The 10K run attracted 200 runners and the 5K “fun run” had 90 that included five categories within each race. Cobourg’s Jim McIlwham captured the Senior’s category in the 10K run. Proceeds from the event went to the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Race Director Bill Hart.
 * August 15, 1987 - Sesqui  Regional Swim Meet – Bob Jenkins, Chair, Layton Dodge, Cobourg Family Y. The event took place at the Cobourg Family “Y” Centennial Pool and brought recognition to many of Cobourg’s fine young swimmers. The Cobourg Y Waves swim team consisted of 48 swimmers and 3 coaches, Glen Bryan, Janet Bran and Sean Andrus. This was the Waves’ first time to host a swim meet which consisted of 76 races for children 8 and under to 17 years of age. Teams who attended the meet were from Port Hope, Napanee, Ajax and Bowmanville. All participants received sesqui ribbons. Three Cobourg swimmers, Todd Simpson, Kyle Elder and Ann Marie McCormick received medals for high pointgetters in their respective age groups. Donations from the Sesqui Committee provided awards for the event. (excerpt taken from Deborah M. Elder Cobourg Y Waves Parents Committee.)

 * August 15, 16, 1987 – Sesqui Soccer- Cobourg Soccer Club’s 10th Annual Pepsi Tournament took place on the various pitches at Donegan Park, CDCI East field and the Industrial Park fields. 49 teams including 6 from New York state competed in 71 games over the two-day event in the squirt, atom, mosquito, peewee, bantam and junior divisions. Cobourg Junior Selects were undefeated in the tournament but due to a tie did not accumulate enough points to advance to the final in their division. Cobourg Spoolon Bantams were the most successful local team, losing in the finals to Newmarket. Kingston won the Peewee division, Peterborough the Mosquito and Oakville the Atom division. Roy and Pauline Cashin, Chair.

 * August 22-23, 1987 – Legion Sesqui Softball Tournament – O.A.S.A. Provincial Peewee “B” Division – This event occurred as part of the sesquicentennial celebrations and consisted of 8 zone winning teams from Napanee, Kemptville, Aurora, Unionville, Nanticoke, Port Perry, Smithville and host Cobourg. Napanee won their 2nd straight Ontario title versus Unionville. Norm MacDonald, Chair, Lionel Gutteridge, Linda Bevan, Sports Officer Bob Robison, Gary Smith, Dick Turpin, Steve Sleeper. **Background info** The legion has been sponsoring minor softball in Cobourg since 1958 when people like Lionel Gutteridge, Tom Savage, Jack Bevan, Cedric Smith, Layton Dodge and many others got together and formed a softball league for children of ages from 6 to 15, it has been going ever since. (taken from excerpt in Sesqui binder) 

 * August 22-23, 1987 – Countess of Dufferin 100 mile Yacht Race – Gord Atkinson, Chair, Mike O’Grady, Dan Goldring, Don Macklin. 
 * The Arabian and Western Horse Shows held at Donegan Park on Saturday and Sunday September 26 and 27th was sponsored by the Arabian Horse Association of Eastern Canada and the Northumberland County Riders. A wide variety and exotic costumes attracted a large turnout of spectators who witnessed a high degree of horsemanship competing in 32 events. Bob Jenkins Chair, Esther Johnson, J. Barton, Doug Routh, Pam VanZelzen.
 * November 7, 8, 1987 – The Cobourg Figure Skating Club presented their 5th annual skating competition and sesquicentennial ice show called “Skate Cobourg ’87” – David Cook Chair. The skating event featured skating stars such as Gary Beacom for local audiences to enjoy. 144 registered skaters including 60 local skaters participated in the 28 category sesquicentennial themed show/competition. Local skaters exceeded in the competition and included Jennifer Harper placing first in the Novice Ladies Competition, Melissa Knight, first Juvenile B Competitive Ladies, Sara Haukioja first in Beginner girls and Geoffery Mercer first in Beginner Boys. **Background History **….  (The first Cobourg Figure Skating Club began in 1949 with Mr. Ed Bovay as its President. The first of many Skating Carnivals was held two years later, in 1951. In the early 1950’s, summer skating schools were held in the Cobourg Memorial Arena. Two notable skaters attended at that time; they were Don Jackson and Toller Cranston. The Cobourg Figure Skating Club moved to Pad II after its completion in 1977. All club skating and test days are held in Pad II. (unknown author))***

 * Cobourg Community Hockey League: On November 21-22 the CCHL staged a successful bantam rep team hockey tournament with 24 teams participating. Niagara-on-the Lake captured the A series title with a win over Bowmanville. Cobourg Wholesalers reached the playoffs of the tournament winning 3 straight games but were eliminated by the Championship team, Niagara-on-the Lake. Gord Stevenson, Chair, Layton Dodge, Peter Campbell, Ken Petrie, Wayne Wiggins, Brian Keighley, Bill Elliott. **Background History**( The first meeting for the Cobourg Church Hockey League was called on December 3, 1934 and the idea of minor hockey was conceived by Rev. Father Wolf, a priest at St. Michaels Parish. The 1st President was Bob Jackson. The first year saw 125 boys sign up for minor hockey. There were four churches involved: St. Peters, St. Michaels, St. Andrews and Trinity United. Cobourg Minor Hockey was played on natural ice up until the season of 1949-50 when a new artificial ice Arena was built, now the kids of Cobourg and surrounding area could even play hockey in the Summer. On August 17, 1953, the Cobourg Arena burned down four years to the day it was built. Colonel Gordon King and his Arena Board along with volunteering citizens cleaned up the damaged building. Because the ice plant was undamaged, a new building was put up in the same site, with a better more comfortable and safer building. In 1960/61, season 388 boys signed up to play minor hockey; as the numbers continued to grow, the CCHL began sending teams to play in Colborne and Grafton. In 1974/75, the youngest President of the CCHL, Jack Greer came up with the idea for a 2nd ice Pad. A building fund committee headed by Jeff Rolph was formed and on April 1, 1977, Pad II Arena was officially opened, this was due to many people donating many hours to help Minor Hockey. The Cobourg Church Hockey League became the Cobourg Community Hockey League that same year (author unknown).) **

 * December 20, 1987 Olympic Torch Relay -sponsored by Town Council. 6,214 Canadians carried the torch from St. John’s Newfoundland across the country to Calgary for the 1988 Winter Olympic Games, a total of 18,000 km. 88 local citizens carried the torch for 1 km each and were selected at random from 2.5 million Ontario applicants. Three separate events occurred in Cobourg to celebrate their sesquicentennial and the arrival of the torch. Five Cobourg residents and the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 133 received Celebration ’88 medals at a ceremony outside of Victoria Hall for their contribution to sports prior to the torch arriving. Two athletes, a coach, a sports volunteer and an official were recognized. Runner Jim McIlwham and figure skater Jennifer Harper were honoured as Cobourg’s athletes of the year. McIlwham, holder of 8 Canadian running records for his age group was the outstanding male athlete and 13 year old Harper who earned a bronze medal at the 1986 Canada Winter Games, the outstanding female athlete.  
Others recognized were volunteer Marjorie Vandershaaf for her involvement in the Parents’ Athletic Association program at CDCI West high school and the Special Olympics; Paul Currelly for his contribution to amateur sports and in particular his involvement in girl’s softball for over 30 years; and Bruce (Red) Alexander who received his medal for officiating and his involvement in Church League sports including hockey, baseball and football for more than 30 years. A two hour production entitled “The Games of Winter” was staged at CDCI West and in the evening, the Concert Band of Cobourg presented a sesqui Christmas pops concert at Victoria Hall. These events celebrated the Olympic Torch arrival as well as rounding out the Sesquicentennial celebrations.  

The Sesquicentennial celebrations were a huge success in bringing the community of Cobourg and surrounding areas together. The sporting community played a large part in this celebration. As quoted from the book, Cobourg 1837-Sesquicentennial-1987, Chairman of the Sesqui Committee, Ralph Zarboni states the following:   
Mayor Read, Town Council, service clubs, business and others have been most supportive; giving unreservedly of their time and talents. This in itself, is a measure of the type of town Cobourg is!!! I take pleasure and pride in thanking all those contributing to the some 78 events that have comprised our Sesquicentennial program. I would like also to extend congratulations to the thousands of citizens and visitors who participated with enthusiasm.
We should all be most happy!!!

Ralph Zarboni

Sources:  Cobourg 1837-Sesquicentennial-1987;  The Cobourg Daily Star 1987 edition; Minutes, Sesquicentennial Committee


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Sports-Layton Dodge Obituary

Sports-Layton Dodge Obituary

Layton Dodge Loved His Home Town, Sports

By Cecilia Nasmith Dec 10, 2013 Northumberland Today

Layton Dodge's chair at Sommerville's is empty.
Dave Sommerville, owner of the downtown Cobourg sporting goods store, has been reflecting on what to do with it since hearing of Dodge's passing on Sunday.

Since his retirement as Cobourg's premier sports reporter, Dodge has been a regular in the store, taking the chair Sommerville's father Clarke used to occupy. It started out as a chance to enlist the Sommervilles' help in identifying the rafts of old sports photos he was giving away, and evolved into one of his favourite places just to hang out and visit with people.

Sommerville was one of those legions of Cobourg kids who grew up looking forward to the Wednesday paper because of Dodge.

"We ran home, grabbed the paper and opened it to the sports page to see if our name was there," he recalled.
Born March 14, 1937 to parents William and Kathleen, Layton Dodge grew up in Cobourg and attended Cobourg District Collegiate Institute (currently CDCI West) when it was the only high school in town. He went directly from high school to working for the Cobourg Sentinel Star, a precursor of Northumberland Today, his friend Rosie Bateman said.

By virtue of his life-long attachment to his home town, Bateman added, he always had a story to share — such as the fact that Col. Gordon King, after whom the library is named, was his Latin teacher.

Retired councilor Bob Spooner first encountered Dodge as a reader. He had been involved in sports reporting himself before he and his wife began looking to move to Cobourg in 1970. They picked up a copy of what was then the weekly Cobourg paper and, turning to the sports page, Spooner recalled, thinking, "Whoever is writing this is really doing the community a service."

Little kids hitting a home run, young goalies making a save, minor athletes who might never rate a mention in a bigger paper had their names there in print, Spooner said. "I thought, 'I have to meet this guy, because he writes so honestly and his information is really accurate.'"

That winter, Spooner got his chance when he began coaching minor hockey. They became instant friends, he reported.
Doing play-by-play hockey coverage for the local radio station in 1972, Spooner often met up with Dodge. Together, they broke down the barrier between print and electronic media when Dodge began doing occasional guest commentary.

"The public liked his analysis, his accuracy, his honesty. He never had a bias if he liked a coach or a player from the other team," Spooner said.

Longtime close friend Rod Baker remembers Dodge's support of the Cobourg Cougars Junior A hockey group, as well as for the young people in town. He remembers how much Dodge contributed to his own three children's lives when they were growing up in Cobourg through his work at the home-town newspaper.

"I think he was one of the best sports writers in this area and could have gone further. But he was very happy in Cobourg," Baker said.

"Layton was probably the biggest promoter of a lot of good athletes in Cobourg, but he would always find a way to get the average athlete — the kid who would never get noticed — to get his name in the paper if they had a good hockey game or made a good catch playing ball. He made the average athlete important. He had an uncanny way of doing that," Sommerville said.

He was also impressed with the range of sports his friend covered.
"If it was out there, he covered it," Sommerville stated.

Dodge would even hold off on his summer holidays so as not to miss covering the giant annual ball tournament in Grafton, where he would help with the announcing or do whatever else they needed.
"The only way you knew Layton was on vacation is, there was no sports in the paper. He would still be at all the games, but no sports in the paper.

"Cobourg has been so fortunate to have someone who cared so passionately about the town, so passionately about the youth of the town, and he showed it in many different forms," Sommerville said.

A modest individual, Dodge made substantial donations to organizations but also made the quieter substantial donations — paying for the high school wrestling tournament, for example, or even making significant contributions to the university and college educations of young people in need.

"He did so many things for so many people behind the scenes, the stories could be endless," Sommerville said.
A few years before Dodge was forced to retire earlier than he perhaps would have liked for health reasons, the editor combed old newspapers for a compilation of his best work for a book that was titled Spotlight On Sports.

A later publisher, Darren Murphy, found that Dodge remained deeply involved in the newspaper regardless.
“He would stop by regularly with some kind of a news tip or just to say hello to everyone," said Murphy, who is now publisher and regional advertising director of Eastern Ontario for Sun Media.

"He had a way of brightening up the entire building when he entered, and his contributions to the Cobourg sports community will never be forgotten.”

Cobourg Mayor Gil Brocanier said Dodge was an icon in the town.
"For so many years, he gave so much to so many people," Brocanier said.
"It's incredible, the work he did and the way he made so many young people growing up in Cobourg playing all sports feel important. He made it his mission to give almost every athlete — regardless of the level they were playing in — he made every effort to give them their 15 minutes of fame by mentioning them or something they had done in a particular game.

"It's a terrible loss to the sports community, and the community as a whole," the mayor stated.
"What really makes me happy is that he lived long enough to see the new sports complex," Spooner said.

As council's parks and recreation head during the project, he recalls how thrilled Dodge was with news of the facility and how he supported it with a donation that paid for the press box.

The Layton Dodge Press Box is the second town amenity that bears his name. Spooner recalls sitting down with the parks and recreation advisory committee prior to the opening of Legion Fields in July 1996 to name the three diamonds.

"The first name that cropped up for one of the diamonds was Layton Dodge," Spooner said.

In the end, the vote was unanimous to name the diamonds after Dodge, Clarke Sommerville and Jack Bevan.
Dodge will be missed very much, Bateman said. "I know how devoted he was to the youth of the town, and sport and the community. I think his legacy is that he inspired the youth of our town to be the best they could be in sports, and in life in general," she stated.

From seeing his friend spend so many pleasant days in that special chair in his store, Sommerville would characterize Dodge as the voice of reason.

"He could always find some middle ground and come up with a logical and reasonable solution. It's something I saw a lot of times that I found fascinating. He would sit back and watch it all and, in a heartbeat, come up with the right answer," he said.

Fairness extended to his sports coverage, which would occasionally single out a visiting player from a big city like Toronto. If a friend or relative sent a clipping to the young player, Sommerville said he would get a call to ask for 15 more copies, because that player would never get that kind of recognition in a bigger community.

And when a local player deserved a wake-up call or a slap on the wrist for any reason, Sommerville added, Dodge could deliver it in such a way that the player would remain on friendly terms with him afterwards.

"I think that gift was born out of his love for the community," he said.
In the end, he said, Dodge earned a singular honour — being known by a single name.

"In Cobourg, everybody knows Layton. It doesn't matter if you're 12 or 100, everybody knows Layton as Layton — or, in our case, Scoop. Nobody asks about Layton Dodge. It's Layton or Scoop. I think, over the course of time, with everything he's done for this community, he has gained that kind of recognition," Sommerville said.

"He deeply loved his mother and his family. He deeply loved Cobourg — the sports community and Cobourg in general.
"His legacy will live on and on and on, not only as a sports writer and member of the community, but also as a human being. There are not many people like Layton."

At Dodge's request, there will be a private graveside service at Cobourg Union Cemetery. A funeral service will be held in Trinity United Church Thursday at 1 p.m., and a celebration of his life will be held at the Cobourg Community Centre at a later date.

Reviewed August 2020

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Sports-Clarke Sommerville Obituary

Sports-Clarke Sommerville Obituary

Lauded for Contribution to Cobourg
By Mandy Martin and Jim denHollander
Cobourg Star August 20, 1997

Cobourg sports enthusiast, businessman, family man and all-around nice guy Clarke Sommerville will be greatly missed in the greater Northumberland community, friends and family said following his death Monday.

Born in Toronto, as a teenager, Mr. Sommerville was drafted as a goalie to play junior hockey. In the late 1940s he was playing in Galt, Ont. “I was a rink rat and I’d go to see him play in my home town” recalled Cobourg Deputy Reeve Bob Spooner. Mr. Spooner was friends with Hugh Whittington, the younger brother of Dorothy Whittington, who later became Mrs. Sommerville.

Mr. Sommerville went on to play semi-pro hockey in Philadelphia and Washington, earning the nick name “Eagle Eye”. “They called him ‘Eagle Eye’ or ‘Sieve’ depending if it was a good or bad game” Mrs. Sommerville recalled. Son Dave said Cobourgers affectionately called his father Sieve.

The travelling life of hockey had lost its appeal by 1951. In 1952 the Sommervilles came to Cobourg. They converted the former Galbraith’s radio shop (where Pizza Pizza is today) into a sports store. In 1961 Sommerville’s Sporting Goods moved to its current location on the north side of King Street West. Cobourg Daily Star sports editor Layton Dodge remembers Mr. Sommerville reviving his hockey career to play in the intermediate league.

During the first game of the 1957 playoffs against the Lakefield Lumber Kings, Cobourg was up 5-1 but Mr. Sommerville had been subjected to Lakefield battering all night. Finally, he raised his stick and caught a Lakefield player right across the forehead. “It touched off quite a riot” Mr. Dodge recalled. The Cobourg team was restrained to the bench except the five players on ice who bore the brunt of the Lakefield melee.

But despite the aftermath, the next day Mr. Sommerville telephoned the Lakefield player to apologize. Only his wife knew he had done so. As a boy, Town of Cobourg administrator Bryan Baxter recalls watching Mr. Sommerville as goalie of the intermediate team in the 1950s. “He was an outstanding goaltender. I looked up to him.” Mr. Baxter said.

Mr. Sommerville was also active in local baseball. He was instrumental in the success of the Cobourg Juvenile A 1958 provincial baseball championship team, coach Paul Currelly recalled. “He’s been a good friend ever since he came to Cobourg” he added. In 1965 Mr. Sommerville and John Rolph founded the Cobourg Cougars. Today, the Cougars are in their sixth year as a Junior A hockey team.

Gord Kelly was one of the original Cougars. He recalls the first-year team. “Let’s face it. It was tough going” he said. We had a limited budget, but with Clarke in the background he made sure we had everything we needed. He always wanted to stay in the background” he added.

Mr. Kelly also worked in the sports store and recalled people stopping by after work or during the day, “spending time at the hot stove lounge around the pop cooler.” Gus Bambridge of Cobourg was another original Cougar. He later became the coach with Mr. Sommerville managing the team. “I remember when they wanted to fire me and Bryan Rose and Clarke didn’t want them to fire us” Mr. Bambridge recalled.

Mr. Sommerville was president of the Cougars in 1971 when the team won the Ontario Hockey Association championship. In 1972 when his daughter Susan wanted to play hockey, Mr. Sommerville helped out by organizing a four-team girl’s league. He was also active in organizing minor league baseball, girls’ softball and played in the Cobourg softball league. “He believed in sports for anybody that wanted to play regardless of sex or age,” his wife said.

As a mother of four boys active in local sports, Bev Helps of Grafton agreed. “There are a lot of kids who would never have played if not for him” she said. “He never questioned your income. If you said something was beyond the budget, he’d find something that was. If you had several kids in sports, he’d work out the best price possible. I don’t think Cobourg could have survived without him.”

Mr. Dodge fondly recalled one quirky feature that betrayed the fact that Mr. Sommerville placed the playing of sports well ahead of his commercial involvement in it. “Here he (was selling) ball gloves and he used this old flat piece of leather himself” he said.

Mr. Sommerville was a natural athlete, Mr. Dodge recalled: the type of guy who goes golfing for the first time and scores well. Last year, the Clarke Sommerville baseball diamond was dedicated at the new Legion Fields softball complex in Cobourg. Harry Jeschke, who manages Legion Fields and the Cobourg arenas, recalled Mr. Sommerville as “a terrific gentleman.” “He was always there for the youngsters in the community. How do you put it into words? He was a true sportsman.”

Mr. Spooner remarked that he was “doubly glad” that Mr. Sommerville lived to see the dedication. Mr. Baxter said that in later years he was acquainted with Mr. Sommerville as a businessman on the main street. “I found him a warm, gentle person, with a soft spot in his heart for all young people” he said. “He always had a smile and a warm greeting for you which uplifted anybody’s day.

He was a well-respected individual in both the sports and business communities of Cobourg and Port Hope. In his business, he attracted many people to Town with his knowledge and expertise.” Mr. Currelly remarked on the “tremendous amount of work” Mr. Sommerville devoted to the Town’s youth. “He sponsored many clubs. He always helped everyone,” he noted. “The whole family have been pillars of strength in the sporting fraternity.”

Mr. Spooner recalled that Mr. Sommerville “could never say no to anyone. He donated trophies, prizes, dinners as well as sponsored teams. And I’m sure he did lots of things for other groups that most of us never know about.” Mayor Joan Chalovich who knew Mr. Sommerville since the 50s, recalled “a terrific father and husband. He’s left an awful void.” she said. He had a strong commitment to his family, his business, the Cobourg community and the larger Northumberland community. He was a great citizen of Cobourg.”

Mr. Sommerville is survived by his wife Dorothy, children David and wife Mary of Cobourg, Nancy and husband Kevin of Belleville and Susan and husband Bill of Illinois. Sister Mary McLean lives in Peterborough. There are eight grandchildren. There will be no funeral service. Instead the family plans a later private celebration of his life. Donations to the Cobourg Hospital Foundation are requested in lieu of flowers.

Reviewed August 2020

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School-CDCI West: Jerry Lawless

jerry Lawless

Gerald Alphonsus “Jerry” Lawless
Physical Education Teacher and Coach
CDCI West Viking Coaching Legend

Gerald Alphonsus “Jerry” Lawless was born on October 18, 1931 in Grafton, Ontario. He was one of nine children of Thomas Alphonsus “Phons” Lawless and Mary ”Eva” (Kernaghan). Jerry passed away in his 83rd year on November 5, 2013.

Jerry grew up doing chores on the family farm and volunteering at church. As a young adult he worked on the railway, picked tobacco, and pruned Christmas trees to pay for his university courses. As an adult he continued to go home and help cut grass and trim hedges on the family farm. He attended St. Mary’s Elementary School in Grafton and then went to high school at Cobourg Collegiate Institute (CCI).

Jerry went to St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto where he graduated in 1955 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He completed the Ontario College of Education course in the summer and began his high school teaching career in Englehart, Ontario, in September of 1955. Jerry married Audrey (O’Shea) from Hastings, Ontario, on December 26, 1955.

In 1956, Jerry and Audrey moved to Cobourg, Ontario, where Jerry accepted a job teaching English and Mathematics at CDCI West. Jerry continued his University education taking night courses and summer courses. In 1962, he graduated from McMaster University in Hamilton with a Bachelor of Physical and Health Education. In 1963, Jerry was appointed head of the Physical Education Department at CDCI West. Jerry taught and coached for 33 years, before retiring in 1988.

In his early years of teaching, Jerry coached 5 to 9 teams because there weren’t enough coaches. During his years at CDCI West Jerry focused on not only the development of his student athletes' athletic skills, but also their life skills. He attended coaching clinics over the years to improve his knowledge as a coach. Jerry coached numerous teams to championship wins. Some of these included:

1967 - Kawartha and COSSA Boys Volleyball
1968 - Kawartha and COSSA Boys Volleyball
1975 - Kawartha and COSSA Midget Boys Basketball
1978 - Kawartha and COSSA Midget Boys Basketball
1979 - Kawartha and COSSA Midget Boys Basketball

There was also a soccer championship in that mix. Many of his track and field athletes won championships over the years. On one occasion, Jerry coached soccer and volleyball teams to championship wins on the same day.

Jerry was recognized with many awards. He was presented with the Pete Beach Award, an Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association (OFSAA) Coaching Excellence Award, presented to outstanding coaches for their contributions to better their sport and athletes in Ontario. This award was designed to recognize the contribution of a coach over a period of several years.

In 1988, he was presented with the Coach’s Dedication Award which recognized his coaching contributions from 1956-1988 for his continuous effort and support of athletics at “the West”. Jerry had two Athletic Banquet Awards named after him - The Jerry Lawless Coaching Award and the Jerry Lawless Senior Male Athlete of the Year Award. Jerry Lawless was the ultimate West Viking.

The CDCI West Gymnasium was named “The Jerry Lawless Gymnasium” in his honour. When CDCI West closed, Jerry was chosen to share the Cobourg Collegiate Institute gymnasium name with Del Dillon - “The Dillon Lawless Gymnasium”.

Outside of school life, Jerry was an active volunteer within his community. He was a volunteer coach for girls softball and he helped Rick McManus coach the Rouw Construction Girls “Y” Peewee Ball team to a league championship in 1970. This was the first Donegan Park team in the league’s eight year history to capture a championship.

Jerry volunteered with the track and field events at the Cobourg Highland Games in Donegan Park and at St. Michael’s Church in various roles as a reader, an usher, and as an Instructor for Marriage Preparation courses. He and Audrey helped with the Meals on Wheels program. They were cherished volunteers with Cobourg and District Community Living, where they delivered meals and drove the sick and elderly.

Jerry’s personal hobbies and sports activities included hockey, golf, curling, skiing, tobogganing, gymnastics, lawn bowling, square dancing, bridge and gardening. As a young man he had to hitchhike to play hockey and played many games with frozen toes. He was a competitive athlete but concentrated more on coaching students, his daughters and his grandchildren.

Jerry was a dedicated family man. He taught his three daughters many school sports and other skills including swimming, fishing, skating, softball, trampoline, tobogganing, hiking, skiing and camping. Jerry spent countless nights flooding a large ice rink in the backyard for his daughters. He was rewarded for this hard work by watching his daughter Ginny play hockey for Queen’s University. Her team won a gold and two silver medals.

Jerry was a humble man who did not seek the limelight. His brother and sister helped to pay for his university. He was one of two children out of his family of nine that went to University. He learned at a young age to pay it forward and to do random acts of kindness, with nothing asked in return.

Jerry always shared whatever he had with others. He quietly helped students out by purchasing meals, athletic shoes, sports gear, tickets to sporting events, or by driving them home after a late game. Jerry’s former students continued to visit him when they were home for Christmas or summer breaks. Students mailed him pictures of their children playing sports. Some of his former students have shared that they continue to follow many of his life lessons.

Jerry had many quotes that he will be remembered for:
The KISS rule - “Keep It Simple Simon” - no one is stupid around here.
“You aren’t the first to do it and you won’t be the last” - if someone made a mistake.
“If you’re not nervous, you’re not ready”.

“White socks or no socks”.

Once Jerry retired, he filled his hours with sports, woodworking, gardening, bridge club and travelling with his wife Audrey. Jerry built a table and picture frames using wood from the floor of the small gymnasium at CDCI West. Jerry and Audrey spent many hours caring for their four grandchildren and supporting them in their activities. In retirement, Jerry continued to teach and coach his grandchildren for 27 years.

Jerry passed on his knowledge through his values by teaching leadership, life skills, perseverance, integrity, patience, honesty, kindness, and respect for others. The “torch” has been passed on to his daughters, grandchildren, great grandchildren and many students who continue to “pay forward” his legacy.

Some comments from the Gym naming and from Cobourg Yesteryears Facebook posts include:
 “He always went out of his way for those who struggled or did not fit in”.
“He was a man who defined West Athletics”.

“As I step onto the track, and settle into the starting blocks, Mr. Lawless is still with me”.
“Jerry Lawless had his own quiet way of motivating athletes to at first try, and often succeed.”
“If I can influence just one person the way Mr. Lawless influenced hundreds I would be proud”.

“Jerry Lawless touched so many people in his time at the West Collegiate, trust me, they all remember him for his time and dedication he gave everybody”.
“Mr. Lawless personified “spirit” at The West. Whether you were one of his students, a member of one of the countless teams he coached, or just another face in a school of hundreds of kids, he made an effort to get to know everyone. Pretty sure he loved his job, and we all benefited”.

“He gave of himself not just at school but at church and everyday life. I never knew him to ever put anyone down but he always tried to show them their self-worth.”
“Mr. Lawless instilled in us to always give 110%. I will never forget him. I always to this day try to give 110% in whatever I do”.

Jerry said, “You are rewarded so many times over by teaching children”.

Gerald Alphonsus "Jerry" Lawless   
Forever will his praise be sung by his students both old and young!
 Rah Rah Rah!
(Quote taken from the West school song – slightly modified).

A Special Teacher
by Layton Dodge
June 14. 1967  Cobourg Sentinel-Star

THE END OF ANOTHER SCHOOL TERM IS a rather appropriate time, I think, to pen a few kind words about a unique teacher who ranks in my book as the undisputed leader in the physical fitness field in Cobourg.

High school students of the last ten years readily will agree that the man who deserves that billing is Jerry Lawless, head of the PE department at the West Collegiate.

There is no teacher I know who is more admired and respected in our town than the same Mr. Lawless. Boys and girls alike have only good things to say about this man. In fact, in all my dealings with secondary school people, I've never heard any student utter a harsh word about him. That's a remarkable endorsement for a teacher whose job it is to instruct and discipline sometimes temperamental, often critical teenagers.

Jerry Lawless is one of a kind, in my estimation, because of the unparalleled rapport he has established with the students while still maintaining control. There are no know-it-all airs about him. He talks their language, so to speak. He sometimes needles. He often prods. He treats students as young adults rather than as puppets.

Like an older brother; he punishes when it is deserved and praises when it is their just due. In return, the boys, most of whom an looking for direction and respond to it when it is properly channeled, do for him what they wouldn't normally do for somebody else.

Ask almost any CDCI West boy which teacher he finds the friendliest, which one he can tell his troubles to and which one he knows best and chances are the overwhelming majority will single out Mr. Lawless. The collegiate gym is the hallowed grounds of basketball, wrestling, volleyball and gymnastic school teams, inter-form teams and inter-class teams. It is the arena of emotions, the informal classroom of the school.

The campus is a training ground for track, soccer, lacrosse and football. In these domains, you generally find Jerry Lawless - spurring a boy to a more concerted effort, passing along a pointer, demonstrating proper technique, organizing a game, running a practice or assisting another teacher in instructing. He freely gives up countless off, duty hours to pursue these tasks.

Teenage boys listen and pay heed to Jerry Lawless because he knows what he's talking about. He is familiar with the basics of every high school sport and extremely knowledgeable in the finer points of many. What's more, he's not a "do-what-l-say-and-not-as-I do" instructor. Usually, he can demonstrate the correct procedure himself. Moreover, Jerry is ever conscious of the athletic capabilities of his students, their whims and their idiosyncrasies.

I know him to be an excellent analyst, too, able to pick out the flaws in a performance quickly and accurately. Significantly, he judges excellence by performance, spirit and the will to achieve, not by victory alone. Enthusiasm and desire distinguish the great teacher from the ordinary one. Jerry Lawless is abundantly endowed.

He obviously wants to work with boys and doesn't mind spending extra time to do it. For instance, he's one of three coaches taking 47 athletes from the COSSA area on a 5-day expedition to New Brunswick for a schoolboy track meet in St. John on July 1.

Despite  the lack of certain facilities (such as a track and a football field), with which other area high schools are blessed, and the obvious disadvantage of a comparatively small male student population, CDCI West boys have more than held their own in athletic circles in recent years, outdoing their more numerous, more favored East Collegiate counterparts in this regard.

From this observation post, Jerry Lawless deserves a good deal of the credit for this phenomenon. Many years from now, however, CDCI West graduates will not remember Jerry Lawless for the number of winners he produced, directed, assisted or just encouraged. They'll remember him for the kind of person that he was.

And that, I suggest to you, dear reader, is undoubtedly the finest compliment they could ever hope to pay him.

Updated August 2020


Sport Played That Connects To Collection List

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School-CCI 2014-2020

Cobourg C.I.

Emerging in 2014 as the newly amalgamated public high school in Cobourg, Cobourg Collegiate Institute (CCI) has brought together the rich athletic histories of the former Cobourg District Collegiate Institute East and Cobourg District Collegiate Institute West schools.  Moving from medium sized “AA” schools (between 500-900 students) to a larger AAA school (1150 students in 2020), C.C.I. offers its students an extensive selection of sports teams, with the continued pride and success that was enjoyed by the former East and West schools.  

Since its inaugural year in September of 2014, C.C.I. sports teams have won many Kawartha (local) and COSSA (regional) championships.  This has led to many trips to the Ontario Federation of Schools Athletic Association (OFSAA) provincial championships with its sports teams, including Girls Hockey, Boys Hockey, Boys Volleyball, Girls Volleyball, Boys Soccer, Girls Soccer, Wrestling, Cross Country, Badminton, Tennis, Track and Field, and Swimming.  

A trip to CCI’s Dillon-Lawless Gym (named after renowned local high school physical education teachers Del Dillon and Jerry Lawless) will also allow you to see the growing number of team and individual OFSAA honours, including medal performances for finishing in the top 4 in the province.  

As of the winter of 2020, OFSAA Honours include the Girls Hockey team with a 4th place finish, and the following individuals: Wrestlers-Amara Hill (4th place), and Jayden Sparks (3rd place), Track Athletes- Cameron Bruce (4th place, 300m Hurdles) and Kate Current (2nd place, 800m), and Swimmers- Lauren Burleigh (2x 1st place 50m Para Backstroke, and 1st place 100m Para backstroke), and Carlie Bilodeau (1st place, JR 50m Backstroke).  Some of these athletes, and many others have enjoyed success at the college and university sports level following their years of competing for Cobourg Collegiate Institute.

In addition to an impressive C.C.I. OFSAA presence to date, they also consistently have demonstrated exceptional character through sport. Two teams were awarded with the OFSAA Sportsmanship Award during their OFSAA debuts – the varsity girls’ hockey team in 2016, in Stratford, and the senior boys’ soccer team in 2018, in Thunder Bay.

Beyond the successes of sports teams to date, dedicated coaches have planned a variety of trips to enrich the students’ experiences, and to provide lasting memories.  One of the highlighted trips include rugby teams taking part in tournaments in New York City and New Brunswick (Rothesay Netherwood Private School in Rothesay, NB).  As well, basketball teams have annually made trips to prestigious American Colleges and Universities to play games, tour the facilities and watch high-level teams train and compete.  Recent trips have been to Pennsylvania, Indiana, Michigan, Washington D.C., Virginia, West Virginia and New Hampshire.

Building on the excellent athletic facilities on the C.D.C.I. East school site, one major facility upgrade enjoyed by C.C.I. students was the installation of a 6-lane rubberized track.  This has attracted athletes and visitors, including the likes of Canadian Olympic medalist Andre De Grasse, for a training session before his trip to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.  Highlights on our track to date include running our school’s annual Relay for Life event, and a Board-Wide “Inclusive Track and Field Day”.  

The Inclusive track and field day is open to all Learning and Life Skills high school students around the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board, and includes running, wheel-chair and field events, along with a barbeque lunch.  We are also happy to be able to accommodate local and regional elementary schools, housing our future C.C.I. athletes, who need a venue to run their annual track and field meets.

C.C.I has also been a support to many community members and visiting schools looking to access our gym facilities.  This has included a close relationship with the Lakeshore Minor Basketball Association, who has been a partner in helping us to invest in new glass backboards, adjustable nets and a padded score table.  The local Badminton Club, along with the Northumberland Sports Council, used our gym for the Ontario 55+ Winter Games in 2017, which was a unique opportunity to open our school to athletes from all age groups.  Our gyms are rented most nights, and weekends, throughout the year to service local sports clubs for training and competition, including volleyball, badminton, basketball, soccer, rugby, softball, baseball, lacrosse, rowing and more.

As Cobourg Collegiate Institute continues to grow its history, they are proud to be an important and vital part of the Cobourg community.

Updated August 2020


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Fitness-Cobourg Family Y

Cobourg YMCA

The YMCA was begun, in London England, in 1844, by a young draper’s assistant, George Williams, as a means to give young men an alternative to life on the streets. It has since spread around the world, inspiring people of all ethnicities, genders and religions to grow in spirit, mind and body.

On March 3, 1870, the Cobourg YMCA held its first meeting and enrolled 40 members at $1.00 each. By 1879, it acquired its first hall and the opening attracted a crowd of 200 individuals. The Cobourg YMCA hosted the annual Provincial convention for Ontario and Quebec in October, 1881. Fifty-three delegates attended representing 16 Associations. That annual report showed the Cobourg hall valued at $3,500 with a $2,300 mortgage. The President was J.W. Bickle and the Secretary George McCullagh. The population of Cobourg was 5,000 with the YMCA having 100 members. The Business, Devotional and Missionary meetings were held at Victoria University. In 1883 the Secretary was W.C. Jex. In 1887 John Butler was the Secretary.

Sidenote: James Naismith was born near Almonte, Ont. In late 1891 he was teaching physical education at the YMCA Training School at Springfield, Mass. He hung two peach baskets for boys exercising in the gym and basketball was created. Influenced by Naismith, another YMCA physical educator in 1895 invented volleyball.

Between 1881 and 1948 there are no reports so the YMCA status is unknown. An article by Mrs. Alex Bruce in the Cobourg Sentinel-Star on January 27, 1955 states an organizational meeting was held February 3, 1948. In 1948 the Cobourg YMCA was incorporated. ‘Y’ rooms in the Town Hall were established and programs arranged. In the spring of 1950 “Port Hope members were contacted regarding the YWCA there, the result being that Miss Muriel Whitely was the first executive secretary appointed on a full-time basis between the two associations.”

A nursery school was started and recreation programs developed for children and adults, including teen dances and other social gatherings. By 1952, the first Summer Day Camp in Victoria Park was established, attended by 75 children.

The amalgamation of the YWCA and the YMCA took place in 1953. Bert Messacar was appointed full-time secretary. That September the association procured its first headquarters at 181 King Street East near D’Arcy Street, the former home of Dr F.P. Lloyd.

In 1955 Mrs. Bruce further reported that during the early days, classes for women and girls included instruction in art and oil painting, leather craft, felt craft, figurine painting, metal-tooling, artificial flower making, smocking, plain sewing, photography, weaving and cooking. “Keep Fit” classes were established as well as basketball teams and bridge instruction. Summer activities of tennis and shore picnics were regular features.

That year, programs consisted of a sewing club, “Y” Brownies, Junior and Senior Y Teens, social and activity clubs. Subjects included good grooming, puppetry, folk dancing demonstrations, sewing and crafts as well as devotional periods, for girls. Stamp collecting, photography, gymnastics, tumbling and work shop was available for boys. There were also adult classes for men, women and co-ed.

In the 1960s a new Executive Director, Ken Thrush, was hired. In 1967 the King St East building was sold to raise funds to build Centennial Pool and a wading pool in Victoria Park. This became the new home of the YM-YWCA. Each year The YMCA held a fund-raising campaign to support their programs. In 1969, The Cobourg YMCA became a founding member of The United Way.

In 1976 a new director, Peter Beatteay, arrived. New programs were started. The YM-YWCA grew. They obtained space in the Victoria College building and moved their offices there.

With membership growing a capital fundraising campaign was launched under the banner of the Cobourg Family Y. Jeff Rolph led the successful campaign. General Foods donated a 6.9 acre parcel of land. The new Cobourg Fitness Center was built on Elgin Street West and officially opened in 1979. The Cobourg YMCA was named as one of the three top Canadian YMCAs in Canada for three consecutive years, 1995-1997. A large expansion began in 1997, with the YMCA continuing, annually, to upgrade and improve its programs and building. The expanded Family YMCA was formally opened April 10, 1999 and by the year 2000, its membership had grown to 4500 members.

Programs expanded to initiate, in 2002, a youth exchange between Cobourg, Montreal and Nicaragua; and, in 2003 to launch YMCA Ontario Early Years Centres across Northumberland County. The corporation itself changed its name in 2004 to YMCA Northumberland as they had opened the Brighton facility in 2003. In 2015, the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign started Operation Red Nose. This new fundraising initiative raised $22,000, providing over 220 safe rides to residents during the holiday season. In 2019, the Y’s Child Care Centres numbered 19.

Today, the YMCA, locally and internationally, is an all-inclusive institution embracing every ethnicity, creed and gender in an effort to foster community and social responsibility in its members for a better global community.

Thanks to Jane McCaig for her contribution to this story.

Updated August 2020


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