Rowing Obituaries and Mentions
Listing in reverse date order those who have passed away in recent years, together with any relevant links to their obituaries or stories.
- Australian medical commission member Bill Webb had a fatal heart attack this autumn. A tribute from FISA here.
Early October 2004
- Cambridge Blue Finlay Best died. One obituary in the Times, and another in the Telegraph. However, Donald Legget told me there were errors in the latter. FB apparently coached in 1937, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1961, 1962 and 1965. More evidence of a tight rowing community - Liz Best, one of his twin daughters, was John Lecky's first wife (Cambridge Blue and airline businessman JL died in February 2003), and several of the Best womenfolk went to school with relatives of the current NZ webmaster...
Thursday 29th July 2004
- Lesley Stewart, a recently-qualified FISA umpire from St. Andrew BC in Scotland, died on Tuesday (27th July) after undergoing treatment for cancer for some time. She still managed to act as an umpire at the Home International Regatta on Saturday 24th, but became very ill at the start of the week. There was a collection at her funeral for Cancer Research UK.
Monday 5th July 2004
- News that Tom Agutter of Peterborough City RC has died aged 88 (UK).
Wednesday 23rd June 2004
- A UK message: "Many will be saddened to hear of the tragic death of Stuart Guise over the weekend, from a suspected heart attack. He had recently been a coach at Oundle School Boat Club, but had also had coaching posts at both the Beckett School and Shrewsbury School. For more information please contact Rob Beever."
Monday 14th June 2004
- Liverpool Victoria RC (UK) announced on Friday that old member and erstwhile President of the ARA Neil Thomas died the night before. From their current President, Peter Duff: "We have lost the most prominent member of our Club. While he had the widest involvement in rowing, making friends all over the world as a result... ... his primary dedication was always to LVRC... ... We shall miss him greatly." His relatives asked anyone wishing to pay their respects to make a donation to either St. John's Hospice, Clatterbridge Hospital, Clatterbridge Rd, Bebington, Wirral CH63 4JY, or to Liverpool Victoria Rowing Club, c/o Junior coordinator JM Carruthers, LVRC, 98 Downham Rd South, Wirral, CH60 5SQ, to benefit local junior rowing.
Monday 3rd May 2004
- North Eastern news (UK) - ex Durham School, Durham University and Tyne RC orarsman Derek Craven died suddenly in the early hours of 1st May. He was an active rower at the clubs in the 1950's and 1960's.
Thursday 22nd April 2004
- More details about the sad death of Bob Michaels (GRE and GBR) last week. Lea RC are holding a memorial on 8th October 2004.
Wednesday 31st March 2004
- It is with sadness that Taurus BC (UK) announce that ex-Oxford Poly member Mike Green ('86-'89) died just after Christmas. The Oxford Brookes University sports office is arranging a brief informal memorial service for Mike: for more information please email RQ.
Tuesday 17th February 2004
- More information on the sad news about Tristan Hewins (UK, see yesterday's news). His parents, Robin and Paola Hewins, write: "It is with great sadness that we announce the tragic death of our son, Tristan Hewins. Tristan was involved in a cycling accident in Edinburgh on February 5th and died on February 14th. "Although a keen participant in many sports his main love was for rowing. He rowed for Hampton School and Durham University and was a member of the GB Junior squads for three years. He also gained much enjoyment from helping to coach in Washington DC, for DUWBC and, more recently, for Edinburgh University Boat Club".
If anyone wants to send his family a message please do so to the Rowing Service and I will pass them on.
Monday 16th February 2004
- We've had news that Tristran Hewins, a Hampton School and GB ex-junior who moved on to Durham University and coaching Edinburgh University BC, died on February 14th following a cycling accident a week earlier (UK).
Monday 19th January 2004
- Hexham Rowing Club (UK) have just learned of the sad and untimely death of a former member, Neil Lewis. An emigre to Canada, he died on 13th January at the age of 47, during a visit back to the UK. The family asked friends not to send floral tributes to the funeral, but to donate to the Amyloid Trust, care of Mrs B D Lewis, Neil's mother.
Tuesday 13th January 2004
- George Chapman, boatman for Fitzwilliam College Cambridge for over 45 years, died on of a heart attack on Christmas Day and was buried on 12th January. His friendly presence on the Cam towpath will be much missed.
Monday 12th January 2004
- Veteran G oarsman Ian Stanners of Clyde Rowing Club, died on Christmas Eve, from pneumonia. His funeral was on December 30th in Glasgow.
Tuesday 28th October 2003
- "It is with great sadness that Berwick A.R.C. wishes to inform everyone of the tragic sudden death of John Smales at only 52 years old. John was a stalwart of the club throughout the 70's and club captain in the mid 70's.
Wednesday 17th September 2003
- News that John (Jack) Carrington-Crowe of Tyne Rowing Club (UK), "one of the last professional oarsmen", died of a heart attack on Saturday. Funeral at St.
Alban's Church, Windy Nook, Gateshead, on Friday 19th September at 9am.
Tuesday 16th September 2003
- A link on the Open Water Rowing Center (US) website to an unusual piece commemorating the recently deceased Carl White. A better tribute to a rower - and rowing - I have rarely seen.
Tuesday 9th September 2003
- Family's tribute to 'wonderful woman', about the sad death of Norwich Rowing Club member Julie Cadman while out jogging (UK).
Monday 1st September 2003
- The Tideway loses Lofty - sad news from Quintin BC (UK) about the sudden death of Kevin O'Shea from a massive asthma attack just over a week ago. Details via the link.
Tuesday 12th August 2003
- A message from Southampton ARC (UK): "One of the clubs longest serving members, Reg Carter passed away on Tuesday 5th August. He was 84. Reg had been a member of Southampton ARC from its first year in 1945 although much of his very successful rowing career was spent with other clubs before the war. He was a well known figure in the Hants and Dorset Association being a Life Vice President and his efforts over many years have shaped the way Southampton ARC is today. His passing is a great loss to the club." (Roger Slaymaker)
Monday 19th May 2003
- It was announced last week that Grace Wilkinson, who re-started the Women's Head after a lapse of some years, died last Monday in the Royal Free Hospital, UK.
Friday 21st March 2003
- UK notice: "It is with deep sadness and regret that London Rowing Club have to announce the death of Fred Jones. Fred had been a stalwart of the club since the 1960's. He served as boatman, barman and, most important of all, as Father Christmas at a generations worth of club Christmas parties. As soon as funeral details are known, these will be posted on the club's web site.
- The Ocean Rowing Society unveils a memorial tomorrow in Kilkee, Ireland, to the seven men lost while trying to row a world ocean.
December 1st 2002
- I was very sad to hear of Thames RC member Gerry Blanchard's death last week.
July 24th 2002
- Yesterday afternoon, in his house opposite the finish line of Henley Royal Regatta, Alan Burrough died in his sleep aged 85, following illness. He had been a Steward of the Regatta since 1951 and rowed for Cambridge in the Boat Race for three years. He was also a past President of Thames Rowing Club.
May 31st 2002
- The funeral of John Garton (OUBC '38, '39), for some time Chairman of Leander Club, is to be held today at Wargrave Church, 2pm (UK).
April 1st 2002
- Posted late Monday night. I was away from my computer today, so was unable to put up the news, received this morning, that the Telegraph's rowing correspondent, Geoffrey Page, died peacefully in his sleep last night after suffering increasingly serious medical problems. He had recently gone down with pneumonia after being hospitalised earlier this year with heart trouble, and although he had been forced to miss the Boat Race, knew about the result and had listened on the radio. He had talked with the Times's Mike Rosewell earlier on Sunday evening, sounding cheerful and expecting to see the race on video when he left hospital, but it was not to be. Deepest sympathy to his wife Paddy.
- Later - An obituary for Geoffrey Page on the Thames RC website (UK), which also includes some of his book 'Hear the Boat Sing: a history of TRC and Tideway rowing'.
March 25th 2002
- An obituary for Guy Lovett (UK) by Steve Fox on the Rowing Service.
March 12th 2002
- I've just been told that Guy Lovett, ex-Shrewsbury, Leander and GB junior world bronze medallist, died last Saturday of lung cancer at the age of 26. Deepest sympathy to his family and friends.
January 8th 2003
- Received today: "Sadly Douglas Hutchins of the Cygnet Rowing Club (UK) died in Christchurch Hospital on 2nd of January after a short illness. He joined the club in October 1950 and was active in rowing and club activities for all of the past 51 years. He had officiated at regattas from Richmond to Evesham and also in Heads of the River. He was a member of the Putney Town Regatta Committee from 1958 until he moved to the coast in 2001. He will be very much missed by all his friends."
January 7th 2002
- Ralph B Gillies, who coached Clyde ARC and numerous international crews in Scotland in the '80's and '90's, was taken into Ealing Hospital on Wednesday morning 2nd January suffering from pneumonia, and died on Wednesday evening. He leaves two children, Callum and Stuart.
November 27th 2001
- News from Lake Merritt RC (USA) that masters champion Cam Jones has passed away.
November 9th 2001
- Report from a couple of days ago on the inquest into Leo Blockley, who died last January. (UK).
October 22nd 2001
- South African lightweight dies tragically. I am told that last night Mike Short of the RSA Sydney LM4- died while on a training cycle ride in Johannesburg. Sympathy to Mike's many friends in South Africa and Great Britain, amongst other places.
October 2nd 2001
- Yesterday Nenad Belic, who is rowing the Atlantic west to east, was being sought by Irish coastguards, after his emergency beacon was activated the night before. The official search was called off yesterday evening, but his son is at Shannon Airport in Ireland this morning, trying to charter a private plane to mount his own search. Although nothing was found at the EPIRB location, the family have the support of the Ocean Rowing Society in attempting to find Belic. Kenneth Crutchlow of the ORS says that although Belic's beacon was of the user-activating type and so could not have started up on its own, the design of his boat means that he could perhaps have been trying to send a distress call and accidentally dropped the beacon overboard. This would explain why no sign of the boat or oarsman has been found: Belic could have survived the storm, drifting away from his EPIRB location. The ORS website (link above) will be kept updated, and there is a story in the Irish Times this morning.
- On November 16th, after several items about the ongoing search, this was posted: Late news on Ananova: Dr. Nenad Belic's boat found upturned and empty off County Clare (although they have him as a sailor: wrong, he was attempting to row the Atlantic).
September 5th 2001
- "It is with deep regret that London Rowing Club must report that Maurice Rayner, former Honorary Treasurer, passed away earlier today. Our thoughts and sympathies go to Pauline and his family."
September 3rd 2001
- Sent to the RS: "It is with the deepest sadness that we must report the death of one of Vesta's most stalwart members. Derek Dunckley, our dearly regarded Bar Steward, vice president and ex-captain, died on Friday, 31 August at home. He will be greatly missed by all of his many friends within Vesta and along the Tideway and by those who knew him through his organisation for many years of the Vesta Veterans Head, or just through being the jovial, if occasionally grouchy, presence behind Vesta's bar. Further details on Vesta's website".
August 23rd 2001
- Five-times champion French sculler Jean Sephˇriades (known as Sephˇ) died yesterday aged 79. Sephˇriades, born in 1922, won the Diamonds in the first post-war Henley Royal Regatta, in 1946, beating Jack Kelly. The next year Kelly got his revenge in the Diamonds, but Sephˇriades went on to win the European Championships (predecessor to the World Championships) the same year. Sephˇriades retired following a quarter-finals place at the 1948 London Olympics, and I am told he 'died yesterday at Courbevoie near Paris after going to a regular weekly dinner with former rowers.'
June 16th 2001
- UK news: some may already know that Edge Lawrence, ex-Hampton boy and IC oarsman, died of lung cancer last Wednesday.
May 19th 2001
- ROWING WORLD IN MOURNING. At 1 pm today, Saturday 19th May, internationally renowned coach Harry Mahon lost his four-year battle with liver cancer. For those who wish to read more about him, the article Light Blues pull for their mentor in the Boat Race Guardian this year is well worth a look. . A tribute page is online. The only thing I regret was that Harry's own modesty made it impossible for me to suggest doing this while he was still alive, as I very much wanted, since he shook his head at any idea that he was special. I trust that somewhere, somehow, he can see what his many friends and crews have said. A charitable trust has been started in memory of Harry. Donations may be sent to The Harry Mahon Cancer Fund, c/o John Bell, Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, OX3 9DU, UK.
May 15th 2001
- The Italian rowing site Canottaggio Vero carries the sad news that Luca Vascotto, 25-year-old international sculler, died yesterday afternoon. Messages to CanottaggioVero using the email address provided were put up on a tribute page. As the official Italian Federation site www.canottaggio.org mentions, Vascotto reached the apex of his career at the Lucerne World Cup regatta in 1998, in the double sculls with Nicola Sartori, coming fifth in the Worlds that year.
April 30th 2001
- Yesterday Gary McMullen, founder of Hi-Tech racing boats, died aged 41 after losing his fight with cancer. Our sympathies to his family and friends.
April 20th 2001
- The Durham community (England) are saddened by the news today that Joe Grey died on Thursday morning after illness. Condolences to all who knew him.
February 28th 2001
- Bernard Churcher died a couple of days ago (UK).
December 30th 2000
- Tideway Scullers President Marcello Minale was fatally stabbed by a young relative and fellow oarsman while on a training camp in southern France. Minale, founder of Minale Tattersfield designers, died within minutes, and his assailant was arrested soon afterwards. As far as we are aware, the incident is still under investigation by the French magistrate appointed to deal with the case.
December 29th 2000
- During a freak accident suffered by the Oxford University Lightweight Rowing Club in Amposta, Spain, graduate newcomer Leo Blockley was swept away in the Elba river, and lost. His body was not found until several weeks later, and a Trust Fund was established at OULRC in his memory. Close friend Alex Taylor of Downing College Cambridge established a memorial page, carrying messages from friends and family. In November 2001 a report on the inquest was finally published.
June 5th 2000
- News came in that Bjorn (Jorn) Kerckhoff, a German lightweight attempting to get into the national lightweight eight for the Worlds this year, collapsed while on a training run from the German team hotel on Thursday in Munich. He was taken to hospital and died early on Sunday. Deepest sympathies to all his family, friends and team-mates. www.rudern1.de website is in mourning for him. Jorn was entered in the HPL4- in Munich, in a crew yet to achieve confirmed Olympic selection.