(Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium - Vancouver, BC) - You always remember the greats.
A few days back, 102-year old Ernie Kershaw finally walked up to Heaven's Gates and likely said 'here you go' before walking into the bright lights where many a friend must have been waiting.
See, Ernie Kershaw had quite the life.
In an age where technology runs the clock and life just seems to get in the way - stories like Ernie's make you realize that life can be less complicated even within some extraordinary circumstances.
Born back on October 6th, 1909 out in Ladner, Ernie was just your typical kid. He'd play in the fields with his friends helping his family with the chores as most responsible young minds did back before Nintendo, HD TV and Ipads. He worked hard in school and just 'got it' when it came to his studies which eventually plopped him down at the University of British Columbia where he'd work toward graudating in electrical engineering and education, this during the Depression.
All the while, he began honing his skills as a baseball player - a pitcher with a crafty-arm combined with the smarts to see his team on to victory.
Ernie would play the semi-pro circuit for a number of years including playing within Bob Brown's Vancouver baseball circuit before life managed to get in the way.
Just a year or two into his 30's, our country beckoned asking Ernie to help our troops during the Second World War. Here he would serve as a flight lieutenant teaching navigation in the Royal Canadian Air Force during what some might call his 'prime years' as a baseball player.
Kershaw would eventually head home and manage to find his way onto the Vancouver Capilano's roster where he would compile a 21-20 record including getting the start on Opening Day back in the team's inaugural season (1939).
His talents didn't end at the diamond as the 'professor' ended up helping nearly 40 years worth of students out at West Vancouver High School. He was a perfect fit for the classroom as his compassion and ability to put you at ease made even those who struggled with the likes of algebra appreciate being in his classroom.
Life seemed right for Ernie Kershaw and what a life it was.
His wife Audrey remains, and was the apple of his eye right until he threw life's final pitch just a few days back. Think of this... Ernie is survived by his wife Audrey, children Pauline, Ian, Diana, grandchildren Jeremy, Joanna, Nicholas, Andrew, Julia and Graham as well as three great grandchildren.
That my friend's is a life well lived.
A celebration of life will be held on Monday, February 20th, 2012 at 2:00pm out at the West Vancouver United Church where Ernie and Audrey have been members since 1959.
You always remember the greats, and today, the Vancouver Canadians and our entire family tip our caps to one of Vancouver's greats.
References: Len Corben (NS Outlook); Jennifer Ettinger (Photo)