Bethune, Fergus (Fergie) 1931- 2009
Except for one year working for Canadian Pacific Railway in Sault St. Marie, Fergie resided in North Bay. Family and friends placed predominantly in his life. The five Bethune brothers were very close! It was not uncommon to see the five Bethune spread across one far corner of the West Ferris arena absorbed in the hockey game between sons and nephews.
Fergie enjoyed an active physical life. His earliest school photos show a proud goalie in his elementary school sweater. After secondary school Fergie refereed some exciting games for the North Bay District Hockey Association.
As son Mike entered into hockey, Fergie became involved coaching minor hockey. He remained mainly with the Atom division where in 1971 he was part of the team that led the NGM team to victory in Sarnia , winning the Silver Stick for West Ferris/North Bay while playing against the most notable player of the day and later know as “The Great One”.
After years of coaching, working, chairing tournaments and being involved with the Executive Fergie was honored with a lifelong membership in the West Ferris Minor Hockey Association.
While winter meant hockey, summer brought golf with family and friends. Of course the longest hole to “play” was the 19th. Great camaraderie was enjoyed and we understand Ferg “had his own seat” where he entertained all with his continuous jovial anecdotes, asides and witticisms. Throughout his life many enjoyed this warm humor.
After retirement from the Ontario Northland Railway in 1990, Fergie and his wife spent winters in Florida where he would plan the yearly mixed golf tournament. The ladies often remarked about their appreciation being part of Fergie’s team because of his encouraging and uncritical manner.
And “YES” Fergie did get his hole in one! However it occurred on December 3, 1996 at Sandipiper Golf Club in Lakeland Florida. This was well reported and documented.
Fergie always had a story to share with others, mostly North Bay lore, and was referred by many as the historian. With his remarkable memory he was often asked to clarify historical facts.
It must be noted that Fergie was especially proud and supportive of his son and daughter. He always stepped up to the plate for them encouraging by word or action.
Dad taught us at a young age to respect others and always greet people with a smile. He himself had a smile for everyone, and it was contagious.
Over the years many have commented on the close relationship between Dad and Mike, they were not only father and son, but best friends.
Dad always supported our decisions, and would give his advice when asked. We appreciated him for listening, caring, giving, sharing and always being there.
Dad was blessed with three beautiful granddaughters that adored him. He spent endless hours entertaining them and you could clearly see the joy in face when they were around.
He was later blessed with a great granddaughter, and even though he only had 4 years with her he left a lasting impression. Whenever she looks at his picture she says” I miss my Pa”.
Dad was a devoted father and husband, lived life to the fullest, and we have all gained strength from him. The love Dad showed for his family and friends will never be forgotten.
Love from your family.