Kingsway Park Golf Club hosted a celebration of life on Sunday, October 4th for Pete Sabourin who passed away on September 23, 2015. Pete passed away after a sixty day battle with head trauma after a fall at the golf club and subsequent falls at the Ottawa Rehabilitation Centre.
In the parking lot in a roped-off area was Pete’s 1973 Corvette that Ottawa Valley Golf Association (OVGA) junior golfers affectionately called “the batmobile.” Inside the clubhouse, family, friends and well-wishers gathered to support Pete’s wife, Marilyn, as well as an extended family and revel in stories about a man who passed away too soon.
Pete had always gone with the flow during his life and got involved with whatever he found interesting. Two of those many staples in his life were minor hockey and golf.
Pete spent thirty-four years as a hockey linesman and referee in the ODHA beginning with minor hockey and working his way through the Central League and into the OHL Major “A” ranks. For a period of time Pete also acted as an off-ice official with the NHL at Ottawa Senators games.
Beginning in 1965, the new nine-hole Kingsway Park golf course provided Pete his first opportunity to play organized golf with his brother. He would go on to be actively involved on various committees and assume the duties of club captain at the club. Pete was introduced to the OVGA where he got his feet wet volunteering at men’s tournaments. Pete eventually became a Director of both the OVGA and the Quebec Golf Association and eventually transitioned to his role of OVGA Junior Co-ordinator.
“It’s nice to see the kids do well and advance to the next level”, was Pete’s modest answer in a 2011 interview as to why he volunteered with the juniors. An unassuming answer indeed as Pete and his teams of volunteers have aided in the growth of character seen in many young junior golfers who have gone on to become successful young adults. Upon his retirement as the OVGA Junior Director in 2010, Pete’s comment was “It’s been a good ride. My biggest reward was seeing the kids do well, not only in golf but also in life.”
Etiquette, proper appearance and adherence to the rules of golf were Pete’s lessons to junior golfers. As his wife Marilyn says, “We enjoyed working with junior golfers. I am so grateful that he was able to see the wonderful start to Brooke’s (Henderson) career; he so looked forward to her future, never missing an article in print or social media.”
Among the many thoughts conveyed by family members were the following – “Pete had a tremendous respect for the rules and often said that nobody was bigger than the game itself.” “He has a serious sprit and complaining was not an option as he often said – ‘why complain about things that you can’t change’.” “He loved life.”
On a personal note, this writer had the privilege of working with Pete in my capacity of OVGA volunteer, Tournament Director, President and writer for Flagstick Golf Magazine. Pete and his fellow junior co-ordinators and volunteers were all cut from the same cloth and had the same goal which was to promote junior golf and get as many kids introduced to the game as possible. Along the way they helped in their own way in the development of young golfers who were successful in receiving scholarships and attaining higher education. Pete was always available at any time to answer questions from his juniors or their parents.
Judging by the full house at Kingsway Park, the Ottawa golf and hockey communities are in a sadder place today with the loss of Pete Sabourin.
Rest in Peace Pete.