LeRoy James Washburn
Surrounded by his family, LeRoy Washburn passed away peacefully at home on April 13th, 2019. LeRoy was born on June 16th, 1934, in Blackville, NB, the eldest son of Thomas and Dorothy (Mountain) Washburn. He was extremely proud of his Miramichi roots and would often tell stories of growing up on the Back Road and his grandmother's butterscotch pies.
After graduating from high school, he moved to Fredericton to study. It was then that he met Loretta Goodine. They would spend the next 63 years together raising their family, supporting each other, and creating a lifetime of memories. After attending Teachers' College he started his teaching career in Boiestown before moving his family to the newly created Town of Oromocto in 1959. He was hired as the High School Phys Ed teacher. During this time he also assumed the role of Recreational Director for the Town. In 1969 he was appointed the Athletic Director of St. Thomas University, a job he held for 30 years. During the early 70's he was a Town Councillor and Deputy Mayor before entering provincial politics in 1974 as an MLA for 8 years. He had a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Physical Education and a Masters in Arts, all from the University of New Brunswick.
LeRoy was guided by three pillars in his life; his family, his love of sport, and his deep belief in giving back to his community. He was extremely family oriented rarely missing a game, dance recital, gymnastics competition, school play, or birthday. He was a wealth of information and left his family many important life lessons. LeRoy was an exceptional athlete, excelling at what ever sport he participated in (except bowling). As an educator he felt sport should be accessible to everyone. He was an avid believer in fitness and a tireless advocate for fairness and equality in sports at all levels.
On his many national and international trips he was a proud ambassador for St. Thomas University and the town of Oromocto. He was active in his community serving on numerous committees and organizations. Some of the most notable were his work with The Royal Canadian Legion Track and Field program for more than 60 years and Athletics Canada, where he officiated in several Olympic, Commonwealth, Pan American and World Students Games. LeRoy would often say some of the most rewarding volunteer work he did was with Special Olympics and as a coach for Paralympic medalist Hal Merrill. Finally, like his father, LeRoy was a Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus.
Over his extensive career LeRoy has received many awards and accolades. He was inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame, Athletics Canada Hall of Fame and several national, provincial and local walls of fame. In 2016 he received the Palm Leaf award from The Royal Canadian Legion. In 2018 the Legion created the Presidents Award, the highest recognition given for Track and Field. LeRoy was the first recipient of this award.
In addition to his parents, LeRoy was predeceased by his brother, Tom, and nephew, Jason Jensen. He is survived by his wife and best friend, Loretta; his children, Mike (Kathy), Lori (Brad), Derek (Linda), Teri VanIderstine (Jim) and Patrick; grandchildren, Heather (Rory), Jayme, Thompson, Mackenzie, Matthew, Mike Jr., Andrew, and Ryan; great granddaughter, Haylee. He is also survived by his siblings, Betty, Irl, Diana Jensen (Lloyd), Allan (Karen) and Albert Sturgeon.
The family would like to thank Dr. Kristen Brown, Dr. Bea Sainz, Dr. David Bewick and "Dad's Jane". Thanks also to the staff of the Oromocto Extra Mural Program.
Visitation will be held on Tuesday, April 16th, from 3 -7 pm at the Oromocto Funeral Home, 108 Winnebago Street. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated from St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, 25 Loisville Street, Oromocto, on Wednesday, April 17th, 2019 at 11 am. Fr. Charles Udeh will officiate. In lieu of flowers, donations to the LeRoy Washburn Memorial Scholarship Fund at St. Thomas University (www.stu.ca/leroy) would be appreciated by the family.