post-it-member post-it-club-finder post-it-coaching post-it-donate
 Latest News  Recent News Headlines

Apr 23 2019 - In Memory of LeRoy Washburn, "Mr. Track & Field" by Roddie MacKenzie

Athletics NB and the track and field community in New Brunswick and across Canada have lost a dear friend and supporter with the recent passing of LeRoy Washburn in Oromocto. LeRoy, 84, had a lifelong passion for the sport of track and field from the mid 1950's, including involvement as a talented athlete, organizer, coach, official and administrator. His tireless work as a volunteer was integral to the growth and promotion of our sport, beginning in the early 1960's, for more than 50 years.

I first met LeRoy when I was in high school, and his personality and character shone through immediately in a conversation; he made the listener feel at ease, important and welcome. LeRoy was both business like and friendly, professional without being over-bearing, and so passionate about a lifelong pursuit of competitive sports for youth. Coming from the Miramichi metropolis of Blackville, he was educated at UNB, and followed his passion for working with youth by entering the teaching profession. As a young Physical Education teacher, first in Boisetown and then Oromocto, his reputation spread far and wide as having a depth and knowledge of sports and physical activity, and a desire to spread the importance of not just being an athlete, but demonstrating character, values, hard work and sportsmanship. He continued this leadership as the Recreation Director for the Town of Oromocto and as Athletic Director at St. Thomas University for thirty years. I can remember many a conversation over the years where we (usually he would talk and I would listen and learn !) hashed over various results in local and provincial track meets, highlighting what he saw in those successful competitors: attitude, commitment, resilience, camaraderie, desire, and not just the result shown by the stopwatch or measuring tape. Whether he was coaching, officiating or organizing, his way was easy, comfortable, welcoming, unselfish, and SO knowledgeable about the sport. WOW . . . He could talk sprints, jumps, throws, relays, multi-events . . . you name it.

Very quickly, we all learned that LeRoy Washburn was "Mr. Track and Field" in New Brunswick, and he represented us well in every capacity. The respect he earned across the country was easily observed by all. He was held in high esteem, and it was not because he went looking for the attention. He did things quietly, without fanfare, and often in the "old school" way. His manner was so easy going! LeRoy was a joy to work with, because he had this simple approach to things; he ran meetings efficiently, found people to head up committees he knew would get it done without hassles, and he had people working together for common goals. If there were personality differences or club rivalries, he would find a way to democratically blend these differences together for the betterment of all parties, most of all, the provincial association and its programs. He had this way about him that made you ENJOY going to meetings!! Those meetings and attached business with him as our President from 1984 to 87 were undertaken with nothing but optimism, fairness and an obvious transparency. This continued long after he left the ANB Board, now donating his time and involvement at the Athletics Canada (CTFA) level. His calm and team-first reputation preceded him every step of the way. You never felt out of place or intimidated by a LeRoy Washburn conversation or question, and when corrections had to be made, tough decisions rendered or lessons learned, he got it done with his typical fatherly approach.

As a blossoming athlete in more than a few sports in the mid 1950's, LeRoy became an accomplished sprinter, jumper and thrower on the NB track scene, continuing to demonstrate his skills for most of the next two decades. He performed well each season in the end of year Canadian Olympic Training Program competition, usually held in Toronto, showing his prowess in the javelin and discus, and then showed great strides in the long jump, finishing near the top of the CDN rankings in 1960, with an incredible leap of 23 ft 6 inches (7.16m !!). He ran the 100 yds in 10 flat, quite a feat back then. He would later focus on throws, with javelin being his best. He was a many time provincial champion in events as varied as the 100 yds, long & triple jump (Hop, Step & Jump back then), shot, disc, javelin, and later, a few decathlons. He finished 12th in the first ever Canada Summer Games in Dartmouth, as a THIRTY FIVE year old decathlete, just behind a Newfoundland chap named Dennis Furlong. At the age of 40, he won the Outstanding Performer award at our 1974 Legion Provincials and Open Meet. Towards the end of his competitive days, he was our provincial record holder in the javelin, and to this day, he is our 5th best long jumper ever, and still Top 20 all time in discus. Simply amazing really.

As an official, mainly in the Throws area, LeRoy was both well organized and efficient with his approach, with an uncanny knowledge of the rule book, and able to run an event at just about any level . . Local, provincial, national, international. Although he became a politician in the mid 1970's, (two terms as an Opposition MLA for the Liberals, 1974-82), he was effective at keeping politics out of the track and field process, always running a smooth, hassle free competition, with small doses of education along the way. LeRoy was never shy to run an off-book mini-clinic after a competition wrapped up. Ask Mark Sheehan or Brian Gilliss!! His officiating skills were rewarded with assignments at the 1967 PanAm Games in Winnipeg, the Montreal Olympics of 1976, the 1979 World Cup in Montreal, and the Commonwealth Games of 1978 in Edmonton, Alberta, and 1986 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was then honoured with appointments as an International Technical official at the Pan Am Games and the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. His long-time leadership skills he showed as a valued Board member, official, and part time coach gave him an opportunity to lead the Canadian team to the 1987 World Student Games in Yugoslavia as the Chef de Mission. In 2010, at the World Juniors here in Moncton, he was honoured as a flag bearer for the opening ceremonies. He looked pretty sharp in those IAAF colours!! I remember sitting at several functions with him years ago, and he had more stories to tell from his forays into the international track arena. He loved to tell them, and while he was making you laugh and wonder and comment, it was a conversation that left you with a definite feeling for his passion and joy of being involved with the athletes. That was LeRoy. . He so wanted all young people to have a chance, to experience that thrill of running, jumping & throwing, feel the wind in your face, the sand in your socks, or the mud on your fingers from that caked 16 pounder!

As we reflect on the loss of our friend and colleague, the biggest promoter of the sport in our province's history, I know he has an amazing legacy as an athlete, official, organizer, coach, administrator, leader. What I will never forget though, was his friendship, his warm smile, his hearty laugh, his bear like one arm hugs and firm handshake. His valuable and effortless conversations; the story telling that always had a lesson; his undying support and help when needed; the valuable and timely advice; his selfless hours of doing whatever he could to lend a hand; his typical simple answer for a complex issue. He was more than our MR. TRACK and FIELD though; he was a loving and generous human being, a committed family man, a believer in our youth, a shining example of what it is to be that individual willing to do whatever it took to reach a goal, to make things better, to give some kid a chance.

LeRoy, our friend, you will be missed, but never forgotten. Thank you for all you have given and the example you have set. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Loretta and family. Be comforted, knowing your husband and father gave so much, made a thousand friends along the way, but never lost sight of the things that matter most in life. We are honoured to have shared the journey with him in the same jumping pit, throwing circle and starting blocks. The starter's pistol has fired for the last time, but the stopwatch will keep on ticking.

2019-05-18 - Genevieve Lalonde Breaks 3000mSC Canadian Record (Again)!
2019-05-17 - Genevieve Lalonde to Compete in Shanghai Diamond League Race
2019-05-16 - ASEA Spring Open - Highlights
2019-05-10 - Legion Selection Meet Announcement
2019-05-10 - ASEA Open

 News by Month
May 2019 April 2019 March 2019
February 2019 January 2019 December 2018
November 2018 October 2018 September 2018
August 2018 July 2018 June 2018
May 2018 April 2018 March 2018
February 2018 January 2018 December 2017
November 2017 October 2017 September 2017
August 2017 July 2017 June 2017
May 2017 April 2017 March 2017
February 2017 January 2017 December 2016
November 2016 October 2016 September 2016
August 2016 July 2016 June 2016
May 2016 April 2016 March 2016
February 2016 January 2016 December 2015
November 2015 October 2015 September 2015
August 2015 July 2015 June 2015
May 2015 April 2015 March 2015
February 2015 January 2015 December 2014
November 2014 October 2014 September 2014
August 2014 July 2014 June 2014
May 2014 April 2014 March 2014
February 2014 January 2014 December 2013
November 2013 October 2013 September 2013
August 2013 July 2013 June 2013
May 2013 April 2013 March 2013
February 2013 January 2013 December 2012
November 2012 October 2012 September 2012
August 2012 July 2012 June 2012
May 2012 April 2012 March 2012
February 2012 January 2012 December 2011
November 2011 October 2011 September 2011
August 2011 July 2011 June 2011
May 2011 April 2011 March 2011
February 2011 January 2011 December 2010
November 2010 October 2010 September 2010
August 2010 July 2010 June 2010
May 2010 April 2010 March 2010
February 2010 January 2010 December 2009
November 2009 October 2009 September 2009
August 2009 July 2009 June 2009
May 2009 April 2009 March 2009
February 2009 January 2009 December 2008
October 2008 August 2008 July 2008
June 2008 May 2008 April 2008
March 2008 February 2008 January 2008
December 2007 November 2007 October 2007
August 2007 July 2007 June 2007
May 2007 April 2007 March 2007
February 2007 January 2007 December 2006
November 2006 October 2006 August 2006
July 2006 June 2006 May 2006
April 2006 March 2006 February 2006
January 2006 December 2005 November 2005
October 2005 September 2005 August 2005
July 2005 June 2005 May 2005
March 2005 February 2005 January 2005