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1999

Paul Roderick Bethune 1941 – 1987

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

Orlay Bligh 1915 - 1940

“He played the game for all it was worth.”

“He played the game for all it was worth.”

In that brief peaceful period between the Depression and the start of World War II, no other athlete thrilled and fascinated sports fans in the Annapolis Valley and throughout Nova Scotia more than the dashing and flamboyant Orlay Bligh. Major Fred Kelly, his coach at Acadia University, called him one of Acadia’s greatest athletes. It was said that no one could play baseball, football, and hockey like Orlay Bligh and no one could fight like Orlay Bligh. But it was in hockey that he made his greatest impact.

Bligh’s hockey playing was often described as reckless and absolutely fearless characterized by wild headlong rink-length rushes often resulting in either a goal or Bligh crashing into the goalie or boards. Even though he was strong, tough, rough and fiercely competitive, Orlay Bligh was always described as a thorough sportsman – a clean player who never held a grudge.

Orlay Bligh was first noticed by Nova Scotians outside the Annapolis Valley in 1933 when he suited up for the local Berwick Junior and then, starting in 1935, he starred for three years with the Acadia University Axemen. In 1936 – 37, Bligh was a standout player on the Berwick Bruins Senior hockey team which captured the Nova Scotia Senior championship as well as the Nova Scotia Eastern League championship in 1938. In 1939, Bligh had one exciting and well-publicized season with the Halifax Wolves – one of the strongest senior hockey teams in the Maritimes. In March of 1939, in the final game of the season, the Halifax team lost the Nova Scotia championship to the Sydney Millionaires in the Halifax Forum before a capacity crowd of over 5,000 fans. The game was described as rather rough with Bligh, as usual, in the thick of things, but most sportswriters concluded that it was Orlay Bligh’s finest game of the season.

Following the hockey season, in April of 1939, Orlay Bligh sailed to England to join the Royal Air Force. In February of 1940, just 34 hours after his parents in Berwick received word that Orlay would be coming home to train in Canada, they received another message – Pilot Officer Orlay Bligh was killed when his bomber crashed in Abingdon, England while returning from a mission. He was one of the first to serve and one of the first to die in the Second World War.

Since that fateful year, 1940, the Orlay Bligh Memorial Trophy, established by the late Dr. R.A. Moreash and William B. Wilson, and other members of the executive of the 1937 Berwick Bruins, is awarded to the Acadia University Axemen hockey player who exemplifies the character, determination and sportsmanship of Orlay Bligh.

It is a fitting memorial to an athlete of whom, Ace Foley, chief sports reporter of the Chronicle Herald once wrote. “I have never seen a hockey player with more dash, more enthusiasm, and more downright recklessness. It was a thrill to watch him play.”

Inducted June 1999

Jon Howard Margeson 1937 – 1997

Dedicated family man, star athlete, educator, coach and leader – Jon Margeson carried on a life long interest in and commitment to athletics in his community and in the schools where he served as teacher and administrator.

After an outstanding high school athletic career at Berwick High, Jon continued to display his talents as both player and team captain on several highly successful softball teams in Berwick in the 1960’s. However it is his tremendous abilities as an initiator, organizer, and promoter of community and school sports for which Berwick is most indebted.

From its inception in the early 1960’s to his untimely death in 1997, Jon was a very active member and chief supporter of the Berwick Tennis Club. In fact, Jon served as president of the club for 18 years. The club enjoyed the support of many hardworking individuals but no one did more for the development of its facilities and programs than Jon Margeson. During the early years of the club, Jon spearheaded the move to rebuild the single poorly maintained clay court into eventually three well-fenced plexipave courts complete with a clubhouse and lights for night play. Regardless of his official position in the club each year, he was the one person who made certain grants were applied for, instructors were hired and that programs and tournaments were arranged. He was particularly concerned with the development of junior players and in the early years, it was often Jon who did much of the instruction and coaching. Later, it was always Jon who ensured that there were summer instruction programs and tournaments and competitions in which the youth could participate. Among his most noteworthy accomplishments were the staging of a provincial invitational junior tournament for many years – a task which he often did single-handedly – and the organization of a Nova Scotia Class B tennis tournament during Berwick Gala Days. In 1988, Jon received the Evangeline Trophy for his tremendous contributions to tennis at both the local and provincial levels.

In addition to his untiring efforts in tennis, Jon was a very active supporter of school athletics in the three schools where he served as principal. He coached a number of different sports but his greatest love was badminton and he routinely turned out individual and team champions for many years. He continued to be an active player in both tennis and badminton and developed and organized adult badminton clubs at both the competitive and recreational levels. For this he received several letters of recognition and gratitude from the Nova Scotia Badminton Association and the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation.

Jon’s many other achievements and accomplishments are too numerous to mention in this brief citation. These include President of the Berwick and District Athletic Association for several years, a charter member of the Berwick Curling Club, President of the Berwick Gala Days for two years, coaching certification and an avid supporter of the Berwick summer swimming program. As one of Berwick’s more famous sons and as one of the most enthusiastic promoters of community athletics, Jon Margeson clearly deserves recognition in to the Berwick Sports Hall of Fame as an outstanding builder.

Inducted June 1999

Gary Whittier

A Halifax sportswriter once penned these lines. “In the 1960’s and 70’s, softball was the Annapolis Valley’s number 1 sport, and Berwick’s Gary Whittier was the king who ruled the empire”. In the same article, Gary was described as “a crafty southpaw with pinpoint control and a wicked changeup”. During the heyday of fast pitch softball in Nova Scotia and the Maritimes during the 1960’s and 70’s, Gary Whittier was one of the top pitchers in the sport and perhaps the best left-handed pitcher in the country.

Gary was an outstanding school athlete and his promise as pitcher showed early. As a youthful 15-year old, he helped to pitch the 1960 Berwick Junior Legionnaires to the Nova Scotia and Maritime Championships. In the very next, this team won the Nova Scotia and Maritime Intermediate C Championships. During his illustrious career, Gary was a key contributor to five different combined Nova Scotia and Maritime championship teams from the Junior to Senior levels and as well he participated in the final championship series with five other teams. His athletic prowess was not limited to pitching – often he played in the outfield and drove in key runs with his hitting. At the peak of his career, Gary was the “stopper” on the pitching staff of two of the highest profile teams in the Atlantic region – the Brookfield Elks and the Dartmouth Dairy Queen. In fact the 1974 Dartmouth Dairy Queen on which Gary was the ace pitcher has been described as “the best team ever assembled in the Maritimes”.

Perhaps the finest period of Gary’s playing days extended from 1967 to 1970. During this time, in one of the most competitive Senior A softball leagues in Canada, Gary twice led the league in ERA, won over 50 games in a regular play-off play, pitched two no-hitters – including one during a pressure-packed play-off game, and batted an impressive .300 during the 1968 season. In 1969, Gary was a vital performer on the Nova Scotia Canada Games Softball team which finished 4th in the first summer Canada Games held in Halifax.

Numerous other honours testify to Gary’s outstanding softball career. He once struck out 17 batters in 8 innings of play and set the Nova Scotia Mainland Senior Softball league record with 16 strikeouts during a 1965 game. Of this game, Jack Gray, long-time president of Softball Nova Scotia, remarked that it was “the best pitched game he ever saw”. In 1967, Gary received the Jack Gray President’s Award to commemorate his play-off no-hitter and in 1974, Gary pitched two victories for the Dartmouth Dairy Queen at the Canadian Championships at which the Nova Scotia team won the bronze medal. In 1982, Gary was inducted into the Kings County Sports Hall of Fame and as such deserves automatic induction into the inaugural Berwick Sports Hall of Fame.

Championship Teams on which Gary Pitched:
1960 Nova Scotia and Maritime Junior Champions (Berwick)
1961 Nova Scotia and Maritime Intermediate C Champions (Berwick)
1963 Nova Scotia and Maritime Senior B Champions (Berwick)
1967 Nova Scotia and Maritime Senior A Champions (Halifax)
1974 Nova Scotia and Maritime Senior A Champions (Dartmouth)

Inducted June 1999

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Earle Eugene Kinsman

“I fought them all, big and small.”


“I fought them all, big and small.”

In the late 1930’s prior to the Second World War, boxing enjoyed great popularity in Nova Scotia. One of the fighters that sports fans crammed tiny arenas to watch was the battling farm boy from Welsford, Earle Kinsman.

Earle started boxing in 1931 at the young age of 17 and in only eight years had compiled an impressive record. Unlike the modern era when boxers commonly only fight every several months, fighters in Earle’s time fought much more frequently and by the end of his career, Earle had fought in over seventy professional fights winning more than his fair share of these bouts, often in dramatic fashion. In 1939, at the still young age of 25, he had 14 victories with 13 coming by way of knockouts. Earle Kinsman was almost universally described as a fearless battler with great heart and a devastating right hand. Many of his fights ended early when a crashing blow from his lethal right sent his opponent to the canvas. He once knocked out an opponent in just 13 seconds which must be one of the fastest KO’s ever recorded.

Earle, at a scrappy 144 points, fought widely throughout Nova Scotia often against heavier fighters. His home bouts were staged in both Berwick and Kentville and were great crowd pleasers. Two contests are particularly memorable and have been well described in the press of the time. In December 1938, Earle fought to a 10 round draw against the then reigning Maritime welterweight champion, Bobby Orr, before a capacity crowd at the old Kentville Arena. Only a month later, Kinsman had another great ring battle with Johnny Nemis, the eastern Canada middleweight champion. Nemis had beaten Earle in an earlier fight on a TKO when Earle was forced to throw in the towel due to a fractured thumb and wrist. On January 2, 1939 in the champion’s hometown of New Waterford, Kinsman battled Nemis to a 10 round draw – a decision which many fans felt might have been awarded to Earle had the fight been at another site. Describing the fight, a local sportswriter described Earle as “a lanky young Nova Scotian who has all the earmarks of having enough brains and a wicked punch to some day be rated as a really great fighter”.

Shortly after this eventful bout, Earle joined the army at the outbreak of World War II. He was badly wounded while fighting in Belgium nearly losing his life. On returning to Canada, he established a dairy farm in his home community of Welsford where he continues to live assisting one of his sons in the operation of the farm. In 1984, Earle Kinsman was inducted into the Kings County Amateur Sports Hall of Fame.

It is with pride that Earle Kinsman is recognized into the Berwick Sports Hall of Fame.

Inducted June 1999

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Dr. Roy A. Moreash 1906 – 1981

Dr. Roy Moreash, an outstanding scholar at the Halifax County Academy and later Dalhousie University, graduated from medical school in 1931, receiving the Lindsay prize for highest standing in medicine. After several years of general practice in Cape Breton and Kentville, he moved to Berwick in 1934 where he served the community and area as physician and surgeon for the next forty years.

Dr. Moreash was keenly interested in athletics and participated extensively in a number of sports throughout his lifetime. As a youth in Halifax, he participated in competitive rowing and was a member of a very successful rowing team who was eventually inducted into the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame. As well, he was a keen amateur tennis player and had a great love of golf in the later years of his life.

Despite an extremely busy medical practice, Dr. Moreash was a very ardent promoter and supporter of many sports and numerous athletic teams in Berwick during his many years of resident in Berwick. Roy was very generous in offering his support to athletes of all ages and abilities and could be as excited about the exploits of the local high school girl’s basketball team as the most skilled Senior Hockey team. He was particularly adept at organization and served extremely ably as the chief executive for a number of high profile teams during nearly thirty years of Berwick’s sports history. In particular, Dr. Moreash is most remembered for his association with the Berwick Bruins Senior Hockey Club – a team which had an amazing run of success for a small town during a particularly strong period of senior hockey in Nova Scotia. He served as President of this club during the turbulent pre-war period of the late 1930’s. With astute recruiting, organization and financial management, the Berwick Bruins were Nova Scotia Senior Champions in 1936 – 37 and runners up in 1937 – 38. It was also Dr. Moreash who instituted the Orlay Bligh Memorial Trophy at Acadia University to honour one of the best known athletes in Berwick’s history and a key performer on the Bruins hockey team.

Dr. Moreash was later the President of the Berwick Intermediate “A” hockey club which won the Nova Scotia Championship three times and the Berwick Apple Kings which won the Maritime Junior “A” hockey championship in 1956 – 57. As well as his direct support and managerial roles with these and other teams, Roy was also an enthusiastic and dedicated promoter for the construction and development of a number of the excellent athletic facilities that are now evident in Berwick.

For these considerable contributions to the sports heritage of Berwick over nearly thirty years, Dr. Roy A. Moreash is inducted into the Berwick Sports Hall of Fame as a builder.

Inducted June 1999

1973 Senior Ladies’ Curling Team

One of the most popular winter sports in Berwick since the 1950’s has been curling. It was particularly popular during the 1960’s and 70’s when Berwick had very competitive teams in a number of curling divisions. Most major curling tournaments at the time were, and continue to this day to be, dominated by rinks from large curling clubs in the major urban areas. This fact makes the achievement of the 1973 Senior Ladies’ Curling team from Berwick all the more remarkable.

Despite raising large families, this group of dedicated women found time to form a team of highly competitive curlers – combining skill, hard work and family devotion to bring a provincial championship to the small Nova Scotia town of Berwick.

In a year that offered the challenges of family commitments, a hectic curling schedule and various tournaments, the quartet of Vivian Bezanson, Helen Kervin, Mildred Stewart, and Mildred Woodworth solidified as a cohesive team at just the right time. The group was curling their best leading into the Nova Scotia Senior Ladies Curling Championship hosted that year at the Bridgetown Curling Club. Not worrying about hog line violations and time clocks, the Berwick foursome pounded their corn brooms through a field of 20 teams from Metro to rural Nova Scotia eventually finishing up on the final Monday to square off with the Liverpool team for the championship. Because of previous play, Liverpool had to beat the Berwick rink twice to win the championship. After a shaky first game, which the Liverpool team won, the Berwick group found the skill and poise that was their hallmark through the previous tournament games and won the final game to claim the ultimate prize – the 1973 Nova Scotia Senior Ladies Curling Championship!

With a fire Department escort, the championship team received a hero’s welcome back in Berwick for their tremendous accomplishment. 1973 also marked the first year for the Canadian Senior Ladies Championship and the Berwick rink went on to represent Nova Scotia with a strong showing at the national tournament.

1973 Berwick Senior Ladies Curling Team
Nova Scotia Provincial Champions

Vivian Mildred
Mildred Stewart
Helen Kervin
Mildred Woodworth

Inducted June 1999

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1967 Berwick High School Senior Girls Basketball Team

Winning a provincial championship is a tremendous achievement for any high school but when your team comes from one of the smallest high schools in Nova Scotia, it is all the more remarkable.

After reaching the finals in the previous two years, the Berwick Senior Girls basketball team reached the pinnacle of success when they clinched the Nova Scotia Headmasters Provincial “B” basketball championship in March, 1967. The same team had finished 3rd in 1965 and 2nd in 1966. In their championship season, the Berwick team posted an impressive 17 – 4 win/loss record including two victories over Cornwallis District and Central Kings. The Berwick girls next eliminated Annapolis and Lockeport to earn the right to meet St. Peter’s of Dartmouth in the provincial semi-finals. The Berwick hoopsters easily won this round by defeating St. Peter’s 63 – 26 in the two-game total point series. The provincial championship was won in convincing fashion when the Berwick team traveled to New Waterford to meet St. Agnes School and took two games on the opposition’s home court. After a Friday night victory where they topped St. Agnes 30 – 21, the Berwick squad wrapped up the championship with a 31 – 22 win on Saturday.

After a daylong trip back to Berwick, the victorious Berwick girls were met outside town by a noisy cavalcade of cars and a fire truck and were led by the police through town to the school. At the school gym site of many of the season’s victories, parents, classmates, school and town officials, a reception was arranged to welcome home the victorious champions.

The 1967 Berwick Senior Girls Basketball Team
Nova Scotia Headmasters Class “”B” Champions

Lorraine Bligh
Susan Clarke
Stephanie Dorey
Wendy Hayden
Connie Hiltz (Captain)
Fay Kervin
Susie Kervin
Ruth Kelly
Pam Lutz (Co-Captain)
Carol Patterson
Madeline Schnare

Coach: John Prall
Manager: Marjorie Pringle

Inducted June 1999

1962 Berwick Legion Curling Team

One of the more interesting stories in the sports history of Berwick involves the 1962 Berwick Legion Curling Team – a team that won a provincial championship when it didn’t have a home rink in which to play or practice. According to team members, the story of the Berwick Legion curling championship team really began in the mid 1950’s. At that time, Berwick had no curling rink of their own but through the generosity of the neighboring Middleton Curling Club; Berwick curlers were able to use their facilities several times a week. Among this group of dedicated Berwick curlers were four who decided to enter a team in the eligibility depended on being a Legion member and a member of a curling club. Thus, started the curling adventures of George Adams, Jim Barrett, Rod Bethune, and Reg Stevens.

Initially the Berwick foursome felt that if they concentrated on curling rather than indulge in the more “social” aspects of the sport, they would have an excellent chance since obviously the other teams would be there for that rather than actually trying to win the curling championship. However, the Berwick rink soon discovered that the competition was in earnest and every team was there for the same purpose – to win the championship. The level of curling skill was high. Thus, for five or six years, the Berwick quartet never reached the finals but they stayed together as a team and finally their dogged determination paid off. In 1962, they reached their goal and became provincial Legion champs earning the right to represent Nova Scotia at the Canadian (Dominion) Championships. By all accounts, a popular representative since the Berwick group had worked so hard to get there and always displayed great sportsmanship even in their losing years.

Among the most engaging and entertaining stories connected with this team are those involving the preparation of the new Nova Scotia Legion champs for the Canadian championships held that year in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Since the team didn’t have matching curling sweaters, there was a frantic around of knitting by spouses and curlers alike to ensure that the team was suitably attired. With suitcases packed with new curling sweaters, a supply of Berwick Curling Club pins, a trunk full of the Annapolis Valley’s best apples and the generous financial support of the Berwick Legion, the 1962 champions headed off to the Canadian championships. Although they were not winners at this level, they represented Nova Scotia, their home club and Legion post, and the Town of Berwick extremely well. Even on the trip home, the experiences of the team were somewhat unusual. A late winter storm forced the group to overnight in Moncton before returning home with their tales of some exciting Canadian championship curling.

Members of 1962 Berwick Legion Curling Team
Nova Scotia Legion Champions

George Adams
Rod Bethune
Jim Barret
Reg Stevens

Inducted June 1999

1961 Berwick Legionnaires Fast Pitch Softball

In the 1960’s Berwick fielded some of the most balanced and strongest softball teams in Nova Scotia, winning several Nova Scotia and Maritime titles in several different divisions. All of these teams were composed of essentially the same core of players – all homegrown talent from Berwick and surrounding areas. Perhaps the strongest of these teams was the 1961 Berwick Legionnaires.

The 1961 team, save for one player, was the same one that had captured the Nova Scotia and Maritime Junior title the previous year. In fact, with the exception of one player on the roster, all the players were still eligible for Junior play but during the ’61 season opted to compete in the Intermediate division against more experienced Senior players in the highly competitive Western Valley Softball League. The 1961 team was characterized by great athleticism, fleet-footed outfielders, a balance of good defense and offense, and a strong pitching staff led by two young hurlers – one left-handed and one right-hander. Coach Pat Hampsey, Co-managers Darrell Corbett and Wes Keddy, and team captain Jon Margeson provided strong leadership. Many of the players on this team became the mainstays of high quality softball in the Annapolis Valley for the next decade or more. Several players went on to star on Senior level teams at the provincial and national levels. It is worthy to note that of the individuals honoured in the first Berwick Sports Hall of Fame, three were key contributors to the 1961 Berwick Legionnaires.

The team posted an impressive record for the season: 34 wins, 2 ties, and only 7 losses. After winning the Western Valley League, the Berwick team then disposed of Cambridge and Kingston in local play-offs, eliminated Brooklyn and Liverpool in hard fought games, and then faced New Waterford for the Nova Scotia Championship. Despite being down early, the Berwick squad fought back with strong pitching and timely hitting to claim the Nova Scotia championship. A late season victory against Woodstock – the New Brunswick and P.E.I. champs – gave Berwick the ultimate bragging rights – 1961 Maritime Intermediate “C” Softball Champions!

1961 Berwick Legionnaires Fast Pitch Softball Team Nova Scotia and Maritime Intermediate “C” Softball Champions

Brian Bethune
Paul Bethune
Ted Chase
Alan Durno
Jim Hampsey
Pat Hampsey (Player coach)
Donnie Harris
Max Keddy
Jon Margeson
Greg Moreash
Gerry Murphy
Johnny Parker
Bert Richardson
Orlay Veno
Laurie Ward
Gary Whittier

Bat Boy: John Strong
Co-Managers: Darrell Corbett
Wes Keddy

Inducted June 1999

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