Warm, quiet, effective leadership – these were the attributes most commonly used to describe Paul Bethune. He was widely known and respected as a master teacher, a guiding friend to youth and for his dedication and commitment to his community.
After a notable high school athletic career, Paul continued his sports pursuits as a valuable member of several Berwick-based Nova Scotia and Maritime softball championship teams in the early 1960’s. But we need to acknowledge Paul for much more than his athletic accomplishments. It was his life-long dedication to his family, students and to his community for which he should be most remembered. His life exemplified an outstanding record of community service and citizenship.
Paul maintained a very busy schedule of coaching several sports at the high school level and was equally active as Lion’s Club member from 1967 onward. He served virtually every leadership and executive role and capacity in the Lions organization. In particular, Paul should be cited for his chairmanship of numerous youth-oriented Lions committees especially those that provided for the coordination of minor hockey and summer swim programs. Paul would be worthy of consideration for this Hall of Fame solely on the basis of his tremendous work in coordinating and organizing the annual summer swimming program in Berwick. It is no exaggeration to say that without Paul’s efforts, hundreds of Berwick’s youth would not have had the opportunity to learn swimming and water safety in a well organized and professionally taught program. We need to also mention Paul’s considerable work in investigating and researching the feasibility of constructing a public pool in Berwick. Although the proposed pool did not materialize, Paul spent countless hours on the research needed for people to make well-informed decisions about the possibility.
Paul was a founding member of the Berwick Tennis Club and along with several other key individuals built and promoted the club from a single clay court and a few members to the excellent facilities the town now enjoys. He continued to serve the club for many years on its executive and was an active player until the untimely illness that eventually claimed his life.
Paul will also be remembered for his valuable work with the Berwick Gala Days Committee – serving as Co-chair for several years. As well he was active in the Berwick Curling Club and a proud Master Bridge Player.
The sports heritage of Berwick is enriched by people like Paul Bethune whose unending commitment and dedication to expanding and promoting the sports opportunities for all its citizens is a standard for all to emulate and follow. The sincerity and enthusiasm with which Paul contributed to the greater good of his community deserves recognition as a builder into the Berwick Sports Hall of Fame.
Inducted June 1999