THIS COLLAGE WAS put together to pay tribute to Harry Lavoie at this year's Comox Valley Women's Fastball League Charity Tournament. Lavoie was very involved with ladies' fastball for four decades.

Harry Lavoie contributed greatly to local sports

'Kind-hearted soul' well-known in softball as umpire and coach

The Comox Valley lost a well-respected member of the sporting community and much-beloved family man with the death of Harry Lavoie.

The 78-year-old passed away unexpectedly in the early morning of June 1 from an abdominal optic aneurysm.

Born Sept. 18, 1935, Harry was husband to Joan, and they were just two months short of their 50th wedding anniversary. He was father to his three children – Stuart, Steve and Jolinda – and their families, which included nine adorable grandchildren and many others who called him Dad or Grandpa over the past years.

The Lavoies moved to the Comox Valley in 1971 where Harry coached the sports his children played. For the boys that included soccer, baseball, softball and men’s fastball and for Jolinda it was minor softball. He also refereed juvenile soccer when the boys played that sport.

Harry and Joan were involved in youth bowling and participated in adult bowling leagues. They coached many youth bowling teams along the way.

Harry coached a variety of sports teams throughout the Valley, which led to him staying involved in his favourite sport of fastball or softball, which he umpired in for many years before hanging up the “Blue” for good just a few years ago.

You could always find Harry in his chair at the back of the Lewis Park concession stand coaching the umpires on calls and plays as they happened – when he was supposed to be helping Joan work the concession, as they have done for decades.

Fellow umpire Ron Carter got to know Harry back in the early 1970s. He umpired fastball games with Stuart when Steve was playing catcher.

“Harry and Joan spent hours and hours in that little shack, feeding everybody hamburgers and hotdogs. They were always good to all the umpires and ball players. You couldn’t have got two better people down there running that place,” Carter said.

Former umpire Gord Parnham, who knew Harry for over 30 years, says he was a kind-hearted soul who would do anything for anybody. “He was always there willing to help,” Parnham said.

“He was definitely loved by the ladies league. It’s a big loss for Joan and her family and the extended family at the ball park.”

Gord Kruger, a former District 3 umpire in chief with Softball BC, knew Harry for 40 years and said he played a huge role in helping him organize the ladies’ league back in the mid 70s.

“We had a lot of ball going on in those days…fastpitch and ladies. It was pretty loosey-goosey. I tried to stitch it together. It was a bit overwhelming at times. I assigned Harry to be the coordinator for ladies’ umps (and) he did an outstanding job for the girls.”

Kruger said Harry was deeply involved in the women’s league charity tournament (which has been going on for 32 years) and coordinated other fundraising tourneys for various causes, including BC Heart and Stroke and St. Joseph’s General Hospital.

Stuart notes his dad will be forever deeply loved and sadly missed by his family and friends and all those he got to know and meet while involved with so many sports in the community for decades.

A celebration of life for this wonderful husband, father, grandfather and dear friend will be held Sunday, June 29 at Lewis Park diamond #1 right behind the concession stand from 1-3 p.m. Bring your lawn chair if you prefer not to stand. If the weather is not good, the celebration will move inside to the Lewis Centre.


Just Posted

Dinner, dance in honour of Kenny Shaw

Comox Legion honours one of the Valley’s prominent volunteers

Comox Valley Hospice Society Ultimate Fifty/50 Raffle winner announced

James Maxwell bought his ticket at Canadian Tire

Learn about the future sewer service in Courtenay and Comox

The public is invited to learn more about the Comox Valley sewer… Continue reading

VIDEO: Whale and sea lions at play near Mitlenatch Island

It was a spectacular sight Sunday evening near Mitlenatch Island for Thomas… Continue reading

B.C. sailor surprised by humpback whale playing under her boat

Jodi Klahm-Kozicki said the experience was ‘magical’ near Denman Island

Comox Valley gives back

A look at some of the organizations and individuals who help out in the community

Opioid crisis may be shortening British Columbians’ life expectancy: report

Canada among healthiest wealthy countries, but 8,000 overdose deaths since 2016 are causing concern

Referendum info session in Courtenay

British Columbians will be voting this fall, from Oct. 22 through to… Continue reading

B.C. cold case helps ‘60 Minutes’ explain genetic genealogy

An arrest in the 1987 double-murder of two people from Victoria was one of three examples highlighted in a segment you can watch here

Delivery of cannabis could be impacted by postal strike

BC Liquor Distribution Branch look at alternative third-party delivery services

Local businesses that go above and beyond honoured at annual gala

Better Business Bureau of Vancouver Island Torch Awards go Nov. 2 at the Union Club

Around the BCHL: Chilliwack Chiefs snag spot in CJHL national rankings

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the BCHL and the junior A world.

Rural regions get priority for B.C. referendum mail-out

Ballot security measures aim to protect against voter fraud

Most Read