By Glen Benison
I heard the news today….so sad. An old crewmate and more importantly a mentor had passed away.
Allan More, the proud CKC Commodore in 1970 and winner of the prestigious Black trophy in 1959 had lost a very brief battle with cancer and drifted beyond the finish buoys last week. In my mind, he was as classy a guy as you could ever hope to meet.
As Commodore of the Lachine Racing Canoe Club (LRCC) in the mid-1960s, Allan’s inclusiveness and honest leadership were the determining factors that convinced my very parents that perhaps the LRCC wasn’t such a bad place, after all, to let their young son hang out. Fifty years later I am still lingering in boathouses. Thank you, Allan.
He’s the guy in Lachine’s 1959 Black winning crew who shunned the trendy crew-cut hair style of the day and went with the cool Elvis Presley wave. That and his winning personality captured the heart of the pretty blond from across the river. Ruth would become his wife of 40 plus years and Allan would assure you that winning her was his finest victory.
Allan travelled the world as a sales executive with Alcan. He was an under-aged signee, at 15, with the Junior “A” Lachine Maroons hockey team. He remained a sportsman well into his adult years until his knees put him on the sidelines.
A vivid memory lingers within me.
The 1971 Canadian Championships in the hurricane on Lake Banook. Last race of the day. Senior Men’s war. Quebec City and Mississauga pull away from the pack and battle stroke for stroke into the horrific wind and rain. They sprint to the wire where none of the paddlers knows the result. The Missy contingent on the Banook side of the lake are ecstatic; the Quebec City fans huddled on the Mic Mac balcony are silent. Those twenty eight paddlers remain drifting on the lake, leaning over their gunnels, pelted by the rain, awaiting the announcement from the judges’ stand. Several minutes pass, then the call: “In first place, Quebec City”. The Missy crew, devastated and grumpy, paddles to shore. Their coxswain tells them to stay put and walks to that judges’ stand. He asks to speak to the Chief Judge and then asks him if he is positive about the call. The judge raises his thumb and index finger two inches apart and says: “Mark, I am sure.” Missy coxswain, Mark Butler, does not dispute the answer. The Chief Judge is Allan More. He is renowned as an honest man with unquestionable credibility.
I have another memory now. I am one of a few teenaged volunteers from LRCC who get to join Allan and Ruth at a Harry Belafonte concert at Montreal’s Place des Arts. It’s a night that leaves a deep impression. A Belafonte song from that night wafts through my head today. ‘Try to remember when life was slow and oh so mellow’. Rest in peace, Allan.