A delegation turned up at Montrose council Monday not to complain but to simply request that special recognition be given to a very special man.
Family and friends of Bernie McMahon attended the meeting to ask respectfully that Montrose Park be named the Bernie McMahon Field in honour and in memory of the 60-year Montrose resident who passed away in December.
Granddaughter Cassandra Miller explained, “Recently, a unanimous decision was made to sell the family home, however, we would like a place to come to remember the good times and honour all he did for the community.”
For council, the request was a “no-brainer.”
McMahon started Beaver Valley Little League and helped organize the West Kootenay Babe Ruth League back in the ‘50s. He coached councillors Don Duclos and Joe Danchuk in baseball and hockey and was a tireless volunteer for the community.
“What a great guy,” said Duclos. “He was my baseball coach for 10 weeks, but I was no good – I quit, but it wasn’t Bernie’s fault.”
Despite growing up in the Depression, being orphaned, and surviving the Second World War working on a merchant marine ship, McMahon persevered. He eventually married his Trail sweetheart, Jacqueline McLeod, a marriage that endured for 63 years.
He toiled at Cominco, becoming a shop steward and union advocate in the dangerous days prior to unionization.
He was devoted to his family and friends, to the community and especially to the Lions Club and Hospice Society. He spent his life serving others and his spirit and generosity touched many in the area.
“I was very, very close to Bernie, and I know from my experience with Bernie just as a Lion, all the great things that he has done and I think the recognition of having the park named after him is something I would favour 100 per cent and I’m sure that our Lions Club would be very much in favour of that,” said Bob Bastian, Beaver Valley’s 2010 citizen of the year and a Lion.
Councillor Cindy Cook’s motion to rename the park Bernie McMahon Field passed unanimously.
Council also decided that the new name will be announced at a ceremony at the park during Montrose Days on June 11 around noon – a fitting occasion for one of Montrose’s best.
“The Montrose slogan is ‘Beautiful Beaver Valley’ and my grandfather made this community a beautiful place just by being in it,” said Miller. “In truth, it’s a small gesture for someone who has earned it in such a big way.”