Viewing entries tagged

John Ralph "Jack" Spindler (1953-2001)

What do we want our children to learn from their participation in sports? Surely it is to value and recognize the importance of sportsmanship, team spirit, fair play, playing with courage, winning with modesty and losing with dignity. Jack Spindler consistently emphasized all these values with the students he encountered. A tireless worker, a quality individual, a dedicated and understanding coach, a trustworthy friend - all of these phrases have been used to described Jack. But most of all, Jack was a passionate teacher who instilled a love of sports, a respect for the game, and keen sense of fair play in the hundreds of young athletes he introduced to sports at Berwick School.

Jack was born in Lower Rose Bay, Lunenburg County and received his elementary and secondary education there. He attended St. Mary's University and the Nova Scotia Teachers College when he graduated in 1975. Jack was an outstanding athlete in high school and while at university once winning Male Athlete of the Year at Teachers College. Upon graduation, he moved to the Annapolis Valley to teach, first at Cornwallis District High School, and then for the last 24 years at Berwick School when he became the friendly and familiar face in the gym for hundreds of Berwick students. Tragically, this wonderful educator lost his life at sea on October 20, 2001.

Jack had a life-long commitment to the balance between a well-rounded physical education program and the complete development of all young people. During his years at Berwick, he coached in excess of 80 teams and organized and arranged coaching and logistics for countless other teams and activities. Jack always saw to it that all students, not just the gifted athletes, had a chance to play and experience the benefits of sports. In addition to this very significant role in his school, Jack volunteered extensively for many other community sports and recreation programs - the East Kings Minor Hockey Association, minor soccer, hockey and basketball, the Apple Blossom Road Race, and Horton Subway Basketball tournament to name but a few. He was the chief organizer and lead official for the Kings County and Western Region Track and Field meets for over 20 years. Jack raked and lined the track, secured and moved equipment, started the races, coached the athletes, organized the other officials - no job was too small or too large for Jack. Jack, however, never sought personal glory in volunteering. He did it for the students and because it needed doing.

The community of Berwick owes Jack Spindler a great debt for the countless hours he spent in molding the youth of Berwick School, for instilling the values that all athletes should have, and for emphasizing the positive aspects in all the children he encountered. Like a good house, a community sports program is only as strong as its foundation. Day after day, student by student, Jack Spindler laid that strong foundation.

John Elwood Hiltz

When one uses the phrase "true gentleman" to describe a man, a certain type of individual comes to mind. John Hiltz is such a man. John has been a familiar face around the Berwick sports scene for over seventy years and his enthusiasm for and commitment to community sports and recreation is well known. John deserves recognition for several facets of his sporting life: his own athletic accomplishments; his constant support for and encouragement of a high level of sportsmanship and integrity in all sporting endeavors; his life-long commitment to personal physical fitness; and most noteworthy, his outstanding record of volunteerism in the interest of sport and recreation in his community. This wonderful record of community service has remained almost unbroken for all the years John has lived in Berwick except for the years he served overseas in World War II as a member of the RCAF.

John's own athletic achievements include baseball and hockey at the high school, Junior and Intermediate levels during the 1930's. He was a member of the Berwick Three Stars - a hockey team already inducted into the Berwick Hall of Fame. In fact, John continued to play shinny hockey until his late 60's. John is likely one of the few people who has played hockey in both the old and present Berwick arenas. Many Berwick residents remember John for his high quality and refined tennis game - a sport he actively played until his 71st birthday and which has earned him lifetime membership in the Berwick tennis club. John's life-long dedication and commitment to his own physical fitness is enviable. In 1988, he was an official torch carrier in the Olympic torch run. We still see him today taking his daily walk around town.

It is John's tremendous record of community volunteerism that sets him apart. He began his record nearly seventy years ago when he served as President of the Berwick Tennis Club in 1934 and continued this association with the club for the next sixty-plus years. He held numerous positions and roles with the club and, as well, frequently instructed and coached at tennis camps and clinics. He is a veteran member of the Berwick Fire Department and his contributions to the Berwick Gala Days, through coordinating and scheduling the volunteers for the admission booth, has extended for over fifty years. Many Berwick residents will fondly remember John for his tireless hours of work as groundskeeper for the many exemplary softball teams of the 1960's - a job that John has often described as a "labour of love" because he so enjoyed making a contribution to these excellent teams. To honour John's life-long dedication to making his community a better place for all, he was awarded the Nova Scotia Volunteer of the Year Award for Berwick in 1998. This exemplary record of commitment to Berwick sports and recreation clearly deserves recognition in the Berwick Sports Hall of Fame.

William ("Bill") Easson

All too frequently, many people forget that successful athletes and sports teams achieve their success because they have good facilities in which to play and have the financial resources to allow them to play. Those persons who ensure that these facilities and resources are available are as integral to any community sports program as the most gifted athlete. William ("Bill") Easson is one of those persons.

Bill deserves recognition in the Berwick Sports Hall of Fame for two major contributions: his long and continuous contributions to the Berwick Arena and his sponsorship of a number of successful Berwick softball teams. Bill has served on the Board of Directors for the Berwick and District Arena for over thirty years beginning when the present arena was built in 1954. During this time, he has served in many roles and assumed different responsibilities often working the canteen for virtually every event and doing whatever it took to support the arena and its fund-raising. Many will remember Bill for his diligent work in running the canteen for Saturday night wrestling - a major fundraiser for the arena. For several years, Bill co-chaired the Berwick Gala Days Committee and has worked in many other capacities throughout the years to support this important community event.

In the early 1970's, Bill and his brother Phillip, owner of Eassons' Transport, started their financial sponsorship of the major men's softball team in Berwick - teams that became to be known as the Berwick Eassons. This sponsorship has continued through to this century. Bill has always emphasized that the sponsorship of community teams should be local and that communities and local businesses should step forward and support their teams in this tangible way. Several players who played on teams sponsored by Bill have commented that the most important thing to Bill was that players should be local hometown boys. Winning wasn't the most important thing - playing was. Bill's sponsorship was not just a financial one. He and his wife Janet were the biggest fans of their teams and they rarely missed a game either at home or on the road. Many players remember this as one of the most significant characteristics that set Bill apart as a team sponsor - his genuine interest in and appreciation of the team's athletic achievements. For this support of community sport, we recognize Bill Easson with his induction into the Berwick Sports Hall of Fame.

63 Berwick Legionnaires Senior B Men's Softball Team

Building upon the success of earlier championship teams from 1960 - 62, and utilizing essentially the same group of talented players from Berwick and surrounding communities, the 1963 Berwick Legionaires Mens' Softball Team capped off an outstanding season by winning the Maritime Senior "B" championship. The team again featured the same successful combination of strong pitching and defense, timely hitting, and a "never give up" attitude that these earlier teams had exhibited.

After a very competitive regular season in the Western Valley Softball Leaque, the Berwick squad started on the road to the provincial Senior "B" playoffs. Berwick first faced Gorsebrook RCAF in the mainland finals winning the best of three series, 2 games to 1. Next came a very close series with Glace Bay for the Nova Scotia championship. A total of only 6 runs were scored for their victories, and the Nova Scotia championship, while Glace Bay managed a 2 - 1 win for their lone victory. Next came the Maritime championship with New Brunswick/PEI winner, Camp Gagetown. After losing the opening game at Gagetown, the local squad, playing back at home, fought back with two victories, 3 - 2 and 5 - 4, to claim the Maritime title. The games in Berwick generated a great deal of fan interest with large crowds watching the games. The series was even broadcast over the Evangeline Radio network by local sportscaster, Arnie Edwards.

At an end-of-season banquet honouring the team, Mayor M.S. Horsborough remarked that through their hard word and good sportsmanship, the team not only brought glory to themselves but also for the town. He emphasized that the success was all the more satisfying because all the talent was home grown and that the 1963 Berwick Legionaires were a group of young men of whom the entire town could be proud.

1963 Berwick Legionaires Mens' Softball Team - Nova Scotia and Maritime Champions:

Paul Bethune
Keith Kerr
John Parker
Ted Chase
Jon Margeson
Bert Richardson
Robert Haines
Greg Moreash
Orlay Veno
Pat Hampsey
Gerry Murphy
Donald Weir
Donald Harris
Edward Nichols
Gary Whittier
Manager: Wes Keddy
Bat Boy: Greg Spicer

Connie (Hiltz) Archer

Because Rainforth Park stared into the west windows of the Hiltz household and since she was raised in a sports-minded family, there was little doubt that Connie would have an interest in sports. At an early age, as she watched older girls playing ball, Connie developed a keen interest in competing. When her natural ability to excel became evident, she was soon invited to join the older girls where she fit in very well athletically despite her young age.

Connie's sports career began in the early 1960's through her participation in various team sports and individual school sports particularly Track and Field in which she excelled. Her outstanding performances in interscholastic Track and Field started in 1963-64 with Kings County and Nova Scotia firsts in the shot put. This strong beginning was soon followed by great performances in discus and javelin at the local and provincial levels. In 1966 at the Kings County and Nova Scotia Headmasters provincial championships, Connie gave an exemplary performance by winning all three throwing events and finishing first in the shot put, discus and javelin. Her winning tosses included 30 feet 10 3/4 inches in the shot put; 82 feet 3 inches in the discus; and 78 fee 8 inches in the javelin. Her total score of 21 points placed her among the top point getters in the entire meet.

As well as being a star in Track and Field, team sports became a large part of Connie's life. Because of her great sportsmanship - always staying within the rules of fair competition and yet displaying her strong competitive nature - success would follow in school volleyball and in particular basketball. For three years prior to 1967, Coach John Prall had worked the Berwick Senior Girls Basketball team hard to strengthen and develop a highly competitive squad. Under Connie's leadership and captaincy, the Berwick girls went on to win the 1967 Headmasters provincial school championship - the first time in the history of Berwick school. In addition to starring in sports, Connie excelled in other areas. These included being and exchange student, accumulating high point totals in school participation programs, and winning Citizenship awards and Athlete of the Year.

Connie drew upon many talents - determination, hard work, natural ability, her competitive nature, her coachability, a great love of sport, her positive attitude and willingness to learn new techniques and best of all her immense capacity for team leadership. J.P. Prall, her longtime coach summed it all up this way: "I found Connie to be one of the best athletes, I had the privilege to coach... and I feel very fortunate to have had that opportunity."