HAINES, Alfred Roy
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Roy took his last breath well into his 102nd year following a short bout with pneumonia. Born March 13, 1912 in New Westminster BC, he died in Ottawa ON, December 21, 2013.
Roy was an athlete, artist, and music lover. He was also passionate about words: Those found in Chaucer and Romantic verse, and those hidden in the mysteries of cryptic crossword puzzles. He was a baseball pitcher of note in Vancouver's Terminal League in the late 1920s; earned recognition as a well known athlete in Victoria; taught elementary and junior high school in Duncan (1930 to 1940); and graduated from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 1940. During the Second World War he served in RAF 102 Squadron and RCAF 422 Squadron respectively as an observer/navigator and pilot; was declared 'missing in action' after being shot down over occupied France while returning from a night mission December 3, 1942; and subsequently received the Distinguished Flying Cross at Buckingham Palace. While recovering in hospital in London, England, he met his future wife, Canadian nurse Doris Murphy. They were married February 1, 1945. After the war, Roy returned to UBC for graduate work and while head coach of UBC Thunderbirds rugby, led the varsity team to its great 1947 season.
Roy rejoined the RCAF in 1951 and moved to Ontario. BC was very much in his thoughts in later years. But Ontario was where friends, daughters, and activities were. In his final posting, Roy worked closely with Air Marshal Hugh Campbell at RCAF headquarters in Ottawa, writing speeches and accompanying him within Canada and internationally. Later, Roy was instrumental in developing programs for the Staff Development Branch of the Public Service Commission of Canada; specifically, in Carleton Place ON and Touraine QC.
With his daughters, Roy developed a strong interest in figure skating. He served as President of Minto Skating Club for a number of years; became an International Skating Union judge; and volunteered considerable time to the development of all levels of the CFSA, now Skate Canada, and of new judges. Roy represented Canada as a judge at numerous international skating competitions (USSR, England, Czechoslovakia, Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, France), including the ice dance event at the 1978 World Figure Skating Championships. At some competitions he doubled as team manager for the Canadian skaters. An honorary life member of Minto Skating Club and Gloucester Skating Club, and a Skate Canada honorary official, Roy celebrated his 90th birthday with a skating party, at which he cut some impressive edges.
It was Roy's lifelong love of golf, however, that kept him active and fit into his late years. He was both an organizer and avid player. Roy was Chairman of the 1980 Royal Ottawa Hospital Golf Day that brought in professional golfer Lee Trevino, Governor-General Edward Schreyer, and a gallery of 3,000. The day netted over $35,000 for the hospital's Foundation, exceeding targets. As a player, Roy won many a tournament, including in the 1980s four different age categories in the RCGA Senior Golf Championship of Canada. A founding and honorary life member of Hylands Golf Club (formerly Uplands GC) he was into the swing of the 2010 season when he had a stroke. In his 99th year, Roy played his last 18 holes at Hylands. He could still shoot his age.
Friends were important to Roy, and he had many. He also had great neighbours and supportive nieces and nephews (many thanks to Rae, Shirley, Doug, and Deenie for keeping in touch). The Duncan Reunion group was also special, leading to renewed connections and delightful exchanges in recent years. Roy is survived by daughters Barbara Haines of Ottawa and Judith Haines (Steve Mercer) of Perth; grandchildren Paul Girodo (Amber Allen) of Whistler, Sean O'Connor (Kate Rexe) of Ottawa, Eduardo Bailetti of Ottawa, and Sophie Mercer of Perth and Toronto; great granddaughters Ariel Girodo, Anna O'Connor, Archer Girodo, and Evelyn O'Connor; and nieces and nephews in western Canada and the United States. Roy was husband for 63 years to his much loved Doris Murphy (b. Oxbow SK May 1914; d. Ottawa ON July 2008). He was predeceased by parents Alfred Powell and Alice Maude Haines, originally from Richibucto NB and long-time residents of the Vancouver area and Victoria BC; he was predeceased also by infant daughter Carol Lynn Haines and his siblings: Cecil, Georgina, Walter, and Hazel.
The family thanks the giving and hard-working staff of Villa Marconi, Ottawa, for their support over the last two and a half years. As per Roy's wishes, there was no funeral. Instead, a private family gathering has been held. For those who wish to honour Roy's memory, donations to UNICEF or the Salvation Army will help provide opportunities for others.
Ever the optimist, Roy always looked for something that would pull him forward. He said he wasn't afraid to die but so wanted to be around to see how stories turned out: How athletes would fare at the Olympics, how his grandchildren would do in their studies or careers, how the Blue Jays' season would go. For him, the fascination of the story was how effort paid off.
Published in National Post on Jan. 4, 2014