The Comox Valley lost a dear friend last week, with the passing of longtime Record outdoor columnist Ralph Shaw.
When the call came in from Ralph’s family Thursday morning, to advise us that the column in that day’s paper would be his last, it sent the entire Record office into a stunned silence.
Ralph was so much more than simply a contributor to the sports section; he was part of our family. A big part.
The newsroom looked forward to his weekly visits. His infectious smile would draw a crowd. Without fail, as he made his way over to the sports desk, the rest of the editorial team would gather around to hear his latest fishing tale.
He always had a story to tell, and was more than willing to share it with the rest of the Comox Valley.
His Outdoors column was always one of the most well-read pages in the newspaper – as evident by the phone calls and emails received when the new editor, shortly after his arrival at the paper, missed placing it into an issue.
(It was, by all known accounts, the only week since 1994 that Ralph Shaw’s column did not run.)
Ralph was not upset at the oversight. His only concern when his article did not appear was that he did something to upset the new regime.
That was one of Ralph Shaw’s greatest assets – his humility.
His conservation efforts caught the attention of the country, and in 1984 he was awarded the Order of Canada, but trying to get him to talk about it was like squeezing sweat our of a stone.
He was a larger than life figure in this community, but you would never know it by talking to him. Ralph was a veritable book of wisdom, yet rarely would he ever show an argumentative side. You could tease him about his stance on climate change, and rather than tell you how silly you are for not seeing the changes, he would just laugh along with you.
Ralph’s contributions to this publication will be missed, but not nearly as much as his wisdom, his humour, his laugh, that smile.
Rest in peace, Mr. Shaw.