By Dallis Winsor
THE TRAGIC news of the recent death of Les Sinnott has stirred me out of my summer hiatus as correspondent for the Terrace Legion.
I feel compelled to write this in the first person because, like many, I never know just what to say in similarly-sad circumstances and my thoughts are personal ones.
Having said that, I have noted the outpouring of others and their respective, and collective, expressed sympathies, remembrances and genuine appreciation for Les’ contributions during his much-too-short life amongst us (see, for example, Les’ Facebook page).
The following is my, perhaps inadequate, attempt to pay tribute to and remember Les and his stellar contributions to the Terrace community, the province and our nation.
Sometimes, condolences appear to remember only nice things about a departed friend.
But, frankly, I can think of, and remember, only nice things about Les.
Yes, he was that kind of guy – kind, enthusiastic, wise and generous with his time and talents, all with a view toward the betterment of, and assistance to, others.
I warmly remember Les and Deb taking me under their wing upon my relatively-recent arrival in Terrace and their kind and gracious invitation to their last Christmas dinner together last December.
My heartfelt condolences to Deb, daughters Melanie and Joanne, grandchildren Jordan, Leslie and Lynette and the many friends and former colleagues of Les.
I know he cherished you all. I know we all cherished him.
Les and I partially shared a Manchester/Liverpool, England heritage and, while I never fully understood his fervent dedication to the largest sport in the world –soccer (or football, as he would have said) I don’t think he ever fully understood my interest in Canadian football (or a version of Canadian rugby, as Les would have said) or my interest in that quintessential Canadian sporting endeavour – hockey.
But, I marvelled at Les’ dedication to soccer and the many manifestations it took on the local, provincial and national stages.
Please visit the website of the BC Soccer Association to gain an insight into what it reverently thinks about Les’ contributions to that and other, similar, local and national bodies.
Not only will soccer officials travel to Terrace to honour Les but they plan a similar tribute in Vancouver in the days to come.
I am also aware of Les’ contribution to the Terrace Metis Society wherein he generously donated of his time to help that organization revamp its constitution and associated bylaws.
For that, Les was gratefully recognized with a framed Metis sash – one of his prized possessions.
Of course, the organization through which I had the most association with Les was Branch #13, The Royal Canadian Legion, here.
Les was the incumbent Treasurer.
Deb, of course, remains our Branch President.
Together, they made a formidable team and were inspiring.
Les, himself, was a Past President of the Branch and every Remembrance Day was the stolid and articulate voice of the Legion at associated ceremonies.
He was also the BC/Yukon Command national correspondent for the Legion Magazine and spent time in Kanata, Ontario at Legion Headquarters.
Les had also worked his magic there and had many innovative thoughts about how to foster and improve upon the national organization that binds all Canadian Legions together.
He and Deb were quick to leap into helping with Legion projects.
One of my fondest such memories will remain their contributions to the Branch’s inaugural Mothers’ Day Dinner last May ( I remember telling Deb then that I thought she and Les were the glue that held the Legion in Terrace together).
As usual, Les was MC and charmed and gently humoured the assembled moms and their male companions.
I’ll also never forget Les’ talents as an impromptu auctioneer and I still haven’t figured out how, at the Grey Cup weekend festivities at the Legion last fall, he managed to sell me a pedicure instead of the hockey sweater I thought I was bidding on.
Maybe it was a soccer trick!
Funeral services will be held at Knox United Church in Terrace at 1:00 PM on Tuesday, August 14. A reception at the Legion Branch will follow.
We have a saying at the Legion concerning departed Veterans, which I will paraphrase: “–and in the morning, we will remember them.”
While Les’ and my generation was typically never called upon to serve one’s country as the Veterans were, I think it entirely appropriate in honouring Les to offer the assurance that we will remember him –with gratitude.
I know we will all miss him.