THe helpers

thank you

family, friends, mentors

You who inspired, mentored, and provided.

Mark Acre – Is The King – Mark ranks among the top 5 funniest people I have ever met. We first became friends at NMSU.  Mark was a NCAA Division 1 basketball player who peeled away from playing hoops to go pitch baseball with the Oakland A’s in the Major Leagues. Please note that we were close friends long before he made The Bigs. To me, Mark has an incredibly valuable story to tell about his life experiences in sports. I  will soon write his epic story and post it here in my Blog for you to read.

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George Ackles – is 6′ 10″ and played basketball for the UNLV Runnin’ Rebel (early 1990’s) and was also my teammate in Fribourg, Switzerland. At the time, both UNLV and NMSU were in the BIG WEST Conference therefore we played against each other many times before heading to Europe. George is one of the strongest, most gifted athletes to ever walk  our earth. Likely the kindest of all the Rebels who could easily DUNK on or over anyone (yes, even you). A basketball player named Michael Jordan once personally told George that George’s left-handed behind-the-head dunk was one the best HE had EVER seen, and that HE himself (Jordan) only wished he had the ability to dunk like that. I have many pictures of George and me playing basketball together in Europe – so you can see for yourself what a specimen he is.  George lives and works in Las Vegas, NV.

See George Ackles in action #1 UNLV vs. #11 NMSU:  Here – After NBA Stacey Augmon pathetically fails to steal the ball from me, I pop a two-point shot straight in NBA George’s face – at the 41:30 mark. :- ) 

 

 

Juri & Linda Adank – My Swiss-Candian friend(s) who came from the gigantic city of Jenaz, GR, Switzerland. Juri has always been around our family while I was growing up. He kindly offered his cool convertible car to us for our J.N Burnett graduation ceremony – and we happily accepted. Who was our chauffeur? Also, Juri Adank. We always have very interesting (topical) conversations together and I appreciate my friendship with  Juri and Linda very much. Lately, Juri & Linda have travelled to many countries around the world – which I love.

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Chuck & Carol Ager and Family – Much more shortly (asap)… for now, Thank you!!! Chuck and Carol are mentioned in my Top 30 memories. 

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Lynn Arnold – Lives in Quesnel, BC and is a long-time friend of the family. Simply said, Lynn is giving, very kind, helpful and very well-read. I have never seen her without a book beside her. Lynn has travelled the world over and as such is filled with life-lessons, wisdom, and charming stories that she often tells us while visiting Vancouver.  

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The BASKETBALL PLAYERS: This list is virtually impossible to compile – Nevertheless, I still THANK YOU ALL –  Joey deWitBrian TaitSpencer McKayDavid HeelJeff MoorePatrick KollerCraig PreeceBarry RandallReggie JordanNavi SekhonRandy BrownLars HansenJoey “The Weasel” VickeryBob HoyBrian SitterJohn BartlesonMark FilmoreTodd JadlowJeff SharpeMark StarkeyDr. David WilliscroftPaul WilliscroftThe Dirt PigsGary GrimesPete LisickyHaris MujezinovićLee MatthewsTim HardawayJ.D. JacksonPhil OhlJay TrianoTommy “TJ” JohnsonDr. Temo FloresChris HickmanRon ColemanDavid LoftonCliff ReedJohn DykstraWilliam BenjaminMark AcreMichael NewJamie StoneAtnas MaekoChris DinkensJohn DumontWilly JosephJohnny RobersonKeith HillJason PamerNeuchâtel TavornikDavid BrownDon CollinsTheren “Snow” BullockAxel ChristiansenTrevor KojimaSteve NashGraeme LindsayGeorge AcklesAnte GrgurevicAndrew ZawadaCurtis BerryJeff PereiraTed ByrneDamon RobbRenato MaggiNeil BlakeGreg WiltjerGreg MeldrumGerald KazanowskiHarold MrazekAndy FieldsJames “Cool Daddy” AndersonMichael StuderEric TraylorDil DeolJonathan EdwardsSowen NgJohn DoughtyVoise WintersRick GillPrentice Lenz, Fraser Jefferson, Dwight WaltonJeff McCoolPasha BainsTim CowleyChad CliffordKarlo Villanueva, Steve Taylor, Raj Lal, Ivan OpačakRay DoyleMike PoliteRod AstJim LamondAndrew MavisHoward Kelsey, Vincent Krameri, Alan TaitGlen “Taiter” TaitLouis JohnsonGil Cheung, J-Lee, Jason BirringCurtis KitchenPhil EnsJason Bristow (FB), Mark ReedBig Bobby SinghEli PasqualeEric “Butts” ButlerDeMatha High SchoolRoger LocatelliDusko IvanovicMarco SassellaSimon DykstraFelipe LobabtoNenad TrunicFred ReynoldsAl ChappleManuel Raga Jr. (Story), Glen “CBO” CampbellKevin HansonClint HamiltonBrent WatsonKyle WatsonRick FluckeyGeoff McKayLes (Leonhard) BrownAndy “Dunner” DunnHerb JohnsonMike McNeillUmberto “Grande” CordaMatt AnthonyVladimir KaratiKyle RussellZach RussellAmadou Romero, Grant Cunningham, Randy NohrMark MarkotaAlan KristmansonMike “Murph” Murphy  – story #23Bernie GlierTodd KozinkaSean LawsonPat Lawson, Robin Lawson, Thomas MichelDavid TurcotteBill Disbrow (back when he could still move), Bryan WeversJérôme CharrièreDarrel Steinberg Mah, Steve Sheardown, Dean SheardownMike JackelBrian “The Brain” ScalesLloyd Scrubb (Father to Tommy & Philip), Claude MorardBira BindraFranklin BarrBrian HostRichard StewartPaul JohannsonPiere “Cicco” SavoyAndrew SteinfeldJeff MansonMatt Wubs – Story #11Yann MrazekOlivier DeforelGilles DeforelLee CravenMark CravenAlex UrosevicIan KishiJoe AlmeidaIgor “Iggy” GojanovicAndy Fields, Chris Lake, Richard KwongSean RourkeDavid GalliardButch GaytonDavid PerlottoRod BalanisJason WubsWil HookerMarco MombelliStan MathiesonBig Bernard Jackson, Jimmy Taylor, James Brewer, Marc Thompson, Dave OlafsonTresor QuidomeDoug BeersAlain DénervaudEric Van, Rory Osburn, Eric KristiansonDerek ChristiansenThe great Bobby Hieltjes (Hill Cheese)Peter MorrisMark StaleySheldon RymaJag BhogalAlan OggByron TokarchukPerrie ScarletDr. Dale DergousoffChris FryeJason LeslieThe 1980’s Vancouver College TeamsVirgil HillJeff Manson …to be continued.  Let me know if I have forgotten you…  ‘Ah, you’ve accidentally forgotten me’

My teammates which I have sadly lost, but not ever forgotten: Warren Matthews (Memory #6), Acron Eger (Thank you – Bruce Arthur, National Post), Marty BassoKeith Hughes (Wiki), Jerome Kersey

(And a few “Name Droppers”Bobby HurleyMagic JohnsonRick FoxGeorge LynchDavid ButlerLester ConnerMark AguirreKurt RambisCedric CeballosLarry JohnsonIsaiah RiderStacey AugmonJerrod MustafGreg AnthonyGreg FosterAntonio DavisLuc Longley, Etc…to be continued.

Women:  Kelly Boucher (WNBA)Jodi Evans (HOF Video), Michelle Henry-MaglisceauMisty ThomasTammy HickmanThe NMSU Women’s TeamVicki EvansDianne Norman, Heather, Sheila Townsendto be continued. Let me know if I have forgotten you… ‘Ah, you’ve accidentally forgotten me’

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Doug Beers – Doug coached me (directly or indirectly) and has mentored me throughout my life…  Thank you Beersie. Lots of great laughs recanting stories.

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Bert & Lisa Betschard – THANK YOU!!! For as long as I can remember the Betschards have opened their arms, doors, hearts and refrigerators to my family and friends. During my 3 Ironman Canada events they offered and provided me with a massive room to sleep in. They fed me and gave me tremendous confidence and support (especially during your first race as the obvious jitters are everywhere). I truly appreciative their ongoing love and encouragement – and have respected those values throughout my life. Their two daughters Susie and Michele are like sisters to me. Thank you.  

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Markus “Billy” Bill – Friend since I was a baby. IF you are inquiring about anything track & field or world travel then Billy can offer you sage advice.  I have never been to a T&F event where I haven’t seen Markus there – busy and rigidly helping others in as many different and efficient ways possible – equally helping every athlete, fan and passerby. Markus is generous with his time and is always accessible to lending an listening ear. Markus loves good stories and has many to share through his countless life experiences.  Story #49 Markus introduces me to Arturo Barrios. Thank you Markus.

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The Bishops –  Where to start? Paul Bishop is on the far left with closest friends Neil McKinnon, Mike “Hicks for Six” Hicks, And Richard Holfeld (New Year’s Party at Mike Wright’s).  More on Paul and Cecile plus tard.

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Kelly Boucher – Is actually my surrogate sister. A tremendous person who’s passion and drive to exploit every minute of her precious time on our Earth is virtually unparalleled. One example of that drive and determination is that she is one of the best basketball players in history – and I mean globally (2 Olympic Games and played for the WNBA’s Charlotte Sting – Yes the National Basketball Association). Each time she sees me Kelly will shamelessly remind me how she beat me in a game of one-on-one (of course I have no recollection of that). If it were true, then it might have been just after I returned to Canada from South America with a horrendous Peruvian gastrointestinal virus (partially cooked (let’s say raw) cow’s hearts cooked on a skillet by very poor street venders – thanks Graeme) while Kelly was simultaneously preparing for the Olympic Games.  I was down 30 pounds in 10 days.  Kelly is currently living in Australia with Ian with their off-the-charts cute dog Maxie. They are engaged and I am expecting a wedding invitation in the mail soon… an attached airline ticket would really cement our friendship. 

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Ursula Binderberger – Best friend to my Mom for so many years, and for ~35 years was our neighbor on Langtree Avenue in Richmond. Ursula has always been supportive, loving, and full of helpful advice stemming from all her life-experinces. Ursula ran the renowned Hansel and Gretel  Preschool Care Program which directly affected hundreds of children. Thank you Ursula. Ursula now lives on the Sunshine Coast.

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Larry Blaschuk – Lawyer, friend, confident, and shrewdly wise.  Calls me “Ronnie” as he remembers me playing as a little boy in the Kajaks Track & Field long jump pits in Richmond. Larry and his identical twin brother Ken trained while I proudly watched them rip around the track. Larry is the son of Alex Blaschuck (d. 2015) and father to the beautiful Caitlin Rose (Blaschuk) and his son Mitchell. Thank you Larry.

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Christine Bradstock – Along with husband and Vancouver College (Fighting Irish) head coach Lloyd Scrubb have been supportive friends throughout. Christine is the Executive Director of BC School Sports and has done an exceptional job given the vast array of parameters her often difficult position requires. More on Christine and Lloyd soon.  Thank you.

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COACHES: This list is virtually impossible to compile – Nevertheless, THANK YOU:   John Newmann, Walter Janzen, Richard Hunt, Scott “Scottie” Reed, Dave Baydala, Sean LawsonPaul Eberhardt (Super Camp), Al Chapple (Super Camp), Richard GouletteMike McNeillNorm BradleyBill DisbrowRod JensenDon MacIntyreDoug “Beersie” BeersJerry HemmingsGuy “Veets” VetrieKen ShieldsSteve Konchalski, (Mentors – Howard KelseyJay TrianoElisario PasqualiEric Ens) Neil McCarthy, Jeff ReepGar Foreman, Kurt Eicher, Celestine Mrazek, Vladimir KaratiMilutin NikolicDusko IvanovicAlain PerlottoLen StevensFranco CasaliniFranco Facchinetti, Pierre-Alain Landenbergue, Robert MargotClaude Ciani.

 

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Van & Collette Bullock – Always helpful, friendly, understanding and quick to poke fun; or pick you apart – especially if your facts do not perfectly align with your story. He ain’buying what you’re selling’ if you can’t back up your facts. Wise and gracious, kind and generous. Funny and great-natured. One of my great NMSU Professors.  Quotes from students: “The ultimate best professor i have ever had. Makes Econ an interesting subject. Very funny  – although, they probably meant funny looking – A must have professor!!! …professor who really knows his stuff!!!”  – and that’s how I remember Van as well. 

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Burke, Rocky and Louis – Chris Hickman and I became close friends with the Burkes while attending NMSU. We have remained friends to this day.  The Burke’s are also good friends with (among many other boxers) Ray “Boom-Boom” Mancini who I sat with one night in Vancouver watching the “Facing Ali” documentary pilot. Ray raved about the Burkes. Although both Burke brothers were world class fighters Rocky stepped aside from his professional career (7-0) to allow his brother a valiant and realistic shot at becoming the world champion in his weight class.  Here is Louis (19-3) fighting Hector “Macho” Camacho: View  Below: Rocky Burke, Louis Burke, Ron Putzi  and Olympian Howard Kelsey in PV, Mexcio)… Rocky has has nerve giving me the rabbit ears.

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Da Brodie’s – Sandy & Margaret – Both are always very loyal and giving. Loving parents, passionate listeners, thinkers, grandparents and friends. Perhaps the best breakfast ever made on our earth was Margaret’s “Paper Chicken” omelet at Sakinaw in the summer of 2005 (in Scotish paper = pepper). I also NEVER pick up a crossword puzzle without quickly thinking to myself “I wonder how fast Sandy would complete this one in?” Thank you to you two always – you knowz eye lovz ya.

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The Byrnes – My home away from home. The Byrne’s are a large part of my often and well-needed ancillary support team. Six of my very closest friends live in Le Coty. They, among other things, have often been (known or unbeknownst) my lifeline and how do you not cherish those kinds of people.  

 

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Edward Byrne – Ted is as loyal was they come. Based solely on looks, Ted has a deceivingly brilliant Newfy brain. 6’8″ (204cm) Ted is Dad to at least 4 kids. He is logically thinking St. John’s, Newfoundlander who loves his family (local & abroad) with a passion for photography. He and I have traveled to 18 countries together (as of 2015). He was the Best Man at my wedding and has been my mountaineering partner for over 25 years. Canadian Senior Men’s National Basketball Team player and played on the 1991 silver medal World FISU Games team with me. He loves playing his Taylor guitar (specifically  Dave Matthews) around his house in Le Côty, NE, Switzerland and is married to the beautiful Sylvia Byrne. www.tedbyrne.com

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Joshua Byrne – My Godson and one of my best friends. He is an avid reader (surely better than his Dad), sportsman, kind and polite. He is honest, strong (like his Dad), and works hard at school (like his Mom). He is gradually transitioning from boy to man and is no longer an infant. 

 

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Sylvia Byrne – Sylvia is ageless. Meet Madame Banjamina Button. Adored and all-adoring. Selfless, yet opinionated when it really matters. Understanding, compassionate, empathetic, and loving. She is multi-lingual and currently a teacher at Le Coty, NE, Switzerland (a school consisting of 2 regular sized classrooms). She is hardworking and efficient, a great Mom and a beautiful wife. For good reason she was nicknamed The Dove. 

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Glen “Cbo” Campbell – Cbo is a strong athletic firefighter who won the BC Championship in basketball in 1988. I have a 100% admiration and respect for Mr. Cbo. He is also a very funny man, a creative builder, great father, and someone flawlessly dependable. Cbo possesses the Zawadaish no-nonsense, no-BS kinda-of-a-guy trait. And I really respect that. Although Cbo is often ignored by his BFF Trevor Kojima, his other close friends include him in everything.   Summarized – Mr. Cbo I like a lot and have a lot of time for.

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Danielle Campbell – Cbo’s beautiful wife - Danielle is the hardworking mother of two super kids. Danielle, the entrepreneur, continues to give and support. She is well-balanced and adored by Glen Campbell's closest friends. Hosts exceptional parties and is always smiling. "D" proudly loves all of Glen's imperfections.

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Rollie Chalmers: My friend and Richmond High’s brilliant custodial engineer who permitted (by turning a blind eye to the Richmond School Board rules system) basketball players gym time to practice until 11pm each night.  No get this – During the course of hundreds of nights not a single player was injured while practicing their shots. No supervision aide!!! Just imagine that!!! Rollie is a major contributing factor to Richmond High’s success – by simply allowing us to practice as much as we possibly could.  Rollie’s only strict request every night was that HE be allowed to attempt a 3-point shot (or half court shot) – usually after his work was done cleaning the school.  Then Rollie was happiest.  If he made his shot – he would look at you smiling ear-to-ear, “I could have played in the NBA” written all over his face. He spoke about the Super Colts and Bill Disbrow all the time.  THANK YOU ROLLIE… you helped Bill make 10 BC Finals and win 5 BC Championships.

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The Crooms (Noah and Susan): Thank you for your years of trusted friendship. It means a lot and is fully appreciated. The Croom’s are bound to have kids with exceptionally high IQ’s. Noah is a professional sports agent (Goodwin Sports Management – Agent/Lawyer) and Sue exceptionally bright  herself… More on all the Croom’s good fortune a little later.

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Kristin Cootie: My very special friend from Burlington, Vermont. Currently living and working (ICU Nurse), in Hawaii, vacation Kristin and I have resoundingly hit it off from the second we met on Kits Beach (July 15, 2018).

The DCYBA – Developmentally Challenged Youth Basketball Association – Together with Anne Carr & Carol May I had the wonderful opportunity to help grow the DCYBA into a successful basketball program. We created our first team at Marpole Community Centre (The Vancouver Suns).  Then, expanded, launching the Richmond Raptors, Surrey Sonics and added a second Vancouver Suns team. From a few players we grew to coaching over 80 boys.

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Chip "Noodle" Dekker – Chipper "Noodle" Dekker – Chip was named after the chocolate chip cookie - before his hair turned white. He answers to ‘Chipper’, ‘Chippy Chew’ and ‘Come Come’.  He is absolutely adored and loved, and this is the first time giving permission to be part of a worldwide website. Chip lifts everyone’s spirits and is over 50% human - we know this because he can sit, lay down, high 5, shake both paws, eats, sleep and walk; just like us.   

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Erik Dekker – is Melanie Dekker’s younger brother. Hard working, clever, successful, analytical and strong. Funny, charismatic, driven, athletic, tall, big smile, muscular…okay, I’m getting tired of this guy. :- )

 

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Melanie Dekker – One of the world’s best singers, songwriters, guitar strummers, and performers. World traveler, who keeps keen attention to details. Mel is a very good athlete who loves outdoor exercising and competition; she hates loosing and loves a great challenge (I too was a great challenge). Mel remains completely dedicated to perfecting her talent and gift of music – although hard on herself, she expects the very best effort from her band members at each concert (an unmistakable Dekker trait). She lives in downtown Vancouver, yet spends much of the year on tour; usually Europe. Thank you Mela for everything. 

A voice like chocolate. Musical diversity. Sunshine. Love & soulfulness. Combine all this with an entertainer, whose blithe spirit has created fantastic award-winning songs and played 1000’s of shows worldwide. Dekker hails from Vancouver, Canada, and when an entertainer at her high school took her by surprise & fired up her heart, she decided she wanted to try to do the same…for life! Her vivacious love songs and her world class percussive guitar style have created radio hits, delighted charity events, produced & released 6 albums, and opened for Bryan Adams, Faith Hill & Russell Peters. Her popular youtube videos include her music synched to the Polar Bear Swim, the 2010 Olympics, her own Wisdom tooth removal, Christmas concerts in Afghanistan and a romantic run-in with a mannequin.        www.melaniedekker.com

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The Danuser – Brian & Nancy – Living in Stewart, BC – Köbi is my Godfather. As a baby a accidentally threw up directly into his mouth. His son Brian and I once travelled as little kids to Switzerland. Epic journey which ended up with him violently throwing up in my grandparents car during our journey from Zurich to Fideris. Nancy, the daughter, is one of my Mom’s very close friends. She is teaching in the northern parts of BC after spending years in Japan (Congratulations!!!). More on the Danuser’s life a little later…

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Karn Dhillon: (and all the referees) – Karn I have connected and remained very close for over 30 years. He represents much of what people in the world should be like.  He has refereed more games than anyone I know (I can only think of one other). I’m willing to guess that he has refereed over 10,000 games. He’s the Wilt Chamberlain of refereeing. Always smiling, philosophical, and quick to tell a good story; usually one you’ve never heard before.  There is much to say about Karn – so I will write more soon. 

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Bill Disbrow – Was my Head Coach at Richmond High, BC Provincial Team, and then throughout life. Of the 50 basketball coaches I have had he is/was the best. Yet to be fare to others, many coaches have come very close. Bill has been a life mentor and coach to 1000’s of people. He is among the most well-read people I have ever known. Together as co-owners, John Mathisen and Bill have generously offered their (life-changingly beautiful) Sakinaw cabin (Sunshine Coast) to countless numbers of people. Bill qualifies as being brilliant and remains one of the funniest people I know. Funny How? Funny I make you laugh? Bill loves math and numbers and being extremely generous. He also happens to be the winningest basketball coach in BC History. Please see Richmond High Basketball gallery. More to come…

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Robert Duncan:  Co-produced the Oscar nominated feature documentary, Volcano, An Enquiry into the Life and Death of Malcolm Lowry. For ten years Duncan worked at the NFB in documentary, drama and specialized IMAX projects. Duncan has written, produced or directed television specials for, and has a working relationship with, most major Canadian networks. Duncan has four children, Keiron, Katrina, Jessica and Sarah. He is married to the renowned television and film editor, Janice Brown. Equally impressive is Bob’s tremendous sense of humor, personal drive, and extraordinary DRY whit.  His passion for people, life, and all things (including red and white wines) is infectious and virtually unmatched. He is one of the greatest people I have ever met and I feel fortunate to have had the good fortune to know him. He improved (confirmed), my outlook on life and how I wish to live my days.  The world should be filled with Duncanites.  It goes without saying, thank you very much Bob!!!

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Jodi Evans – One of Kelly Boucher’s BFF’s. She has become a longtime friend of mine. Jodi is one of the great minds and athletes on this earth. A Rhodes Scholar, Jodi earned her PhD from Oxford, England before playing with the Canadian Sr. Women’s Olympic Team in 1996. Recently Jodi has become a Partner at DeloitteHall of Fame.

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Dr. Adrian and Janna Frutiger – Two of the most interesting (and worldly knowledgable) people I have ever met. To eat dinner at their beautiful house in Trimmis, Switerland is as interesting as it gets. The multi-cultural, multi-language, in-depth discussions on a vast array of topics keeps me on my toes – every time – it’s stunning. Both Adrian and Janna are simultaneously competitive and funny. Adrian, humbly, is one of the top doctors in the world. He has seen “it all” in the emergency ward in Chur (or elsewhere).  They have been long-time friends and I hold them both in the highest regard.

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Margreth Fry – Is my Mother. She is the best Mother I’ve ever had. Growing up she was always there for me whether I needed love or the wooden spoon. She would speak to me often throughout the night – letting me speak until I fell fast asleep. She is a wife to Wilfred Fry, PEng. and Nani to Leah & Jenna. She is a gifted artist – 365 paintings sold to date. She is also always helpful, passionate about life, and generous. Furthermore, she is differently smart and someone who loves life’s blessings – thus can find humor and laughter in most things. She has a very slight Swiss accent which sometimes gets in the way of her properly articulating her stories, but all in all she always gets her point understood.  Mom has been a rock solid pillar for me throughout my tremendously successful and difficult times. Thank you Mom – I love you!!!

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Wilfred Fry – My tremendously loyal, generous and dedicated Stepfather. There for me (or you) all the time. He’s brilliant & kind, and has extensively travelled the world as a civil engineering project manager. Most projects were large scale sites, and often dangerous. He loves retirement and gardening at their ‘allotment’ on #6 road in Richmond. Locally he is known as ‘Granddad’ to Leah and Jenna.

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Bruno Gadola – My cousin Sandra’s accountant husband, who is generous and loves to laugh. Bruno also loves his beer, wine, dogs and wife. He has always been outwardly kind to me. I will never forget Bruno making the time to meet Leah & Jenna (summer 2013), while his own mother was literally passing way; then did the following day. Thank you Bruno.

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Sandra Gadola – Among the favorite cousins, warm, kind, generous, Bruno’s beautiful wife, caring and sharing. Children Mia and Max are spectacular!!! Luv ya cuz!!! Allegra-Bears

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Tony and Susan Gallagher – Thank You – Tony Gallagher is the Province columnist focusing chiefly on the NHL, a league which he has covered extensively since he covered his first game in 1972. Having covered 23 Stanley Cup finals including the Vancouver Canucks’ run in 1982, Gallagher is a vice-president of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and one of the better known media people amongst players and management. He was recruited by The Province when he graduated from UBC where he was writing for the campus paper in the late 60s and began working in hockey when the New Westminster Bruins of the WHL came west from Estevan, Sask. In 1972 he moved on to the WHA Vancouver Blazers and in 1976 became the paper’s lone beat writer doing the Canucks.

 

 

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Les Gaspar – Outstanding human who laughs all the time. A pleasure to have as a friend and be part of his rich life. Les makes everyone happy – and who doesn’t love that.

 

 

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Dr. Sam Goldman – “Knowledge IS Power” – I’ve always thanked Sam for making classes original, wise and entertaining to all his students. We had fond memories and truly looked forward to attending his classes. Compliment.

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Gary Grimes – 6’9″ Centre for Switzerland and Vacallo when we played in the Euro-Cup.  Gary moved to South Africa after playing professional basketball in Switzerland, then started his own Bed & Breakfast – situated directly on the ocean.  Gary, an avid painter, was also our team captain and the well-needed voice of reason during questionable times.  A more gentler soul than Gary’s would be difficult to find.  He is well respected, a hard worker, genuinely friendly and kind.  He speaks 4-5 languages fluently and flourishing in South Africa. In the photo below, Gary stands 3rd from the left):. DUNE GUEST LODGE (South Africa)Website.

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Ante Grgurevic – 6’7″ (201cm). Kind, gentle, polite…and extremely strong. At one time Ante was one of the world’s best basketball players. Ante was my guest and roommate for one year when we lived together in Vacallo, Switzerland. Ante is philosophical and extremely appreciative of almost everything. He would crush me a chess and minesweeper; prepare meals almost daily. We became very close. He loves Frank Sinatra (and we listened to Franky (Wiki) all day and all night).  Short story:  Grgurevic vs. Serb & Herb

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Alan and Margo Hay – Alan and Margo have been close friends for over 15 years.  Unselfishly, Alan has continuously helped me – never expecting anything in return. He (and by extension Margo) have always been there for me.  The also love red wine and photography… and of course each other. Thank you A&M. R –  more later…. first version of thanks was accidentally deleted.  Alan’s Photography: View  Margo’s Clinic: View

 

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My Haywood Pod of 16 – Tough markets / great times. We did our very best to persevere during the world’s largest historical financial crash.  It was awful. Some survived, and some didn’t. Nevertheless, we amassed countless great memories, days filled with plentiful laughter and markets full of mixed emotions. Through and with you I learned an immeasurable amount about life, global capital markets, and people.

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 Dave Heel – Thank you Dave.  More on you later.

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The Heims – Are dear friends forever. All of them…including Dorothea Heim (Below: Nani in Jenaz, GR, Switzerland) whom I have visited each and every time I’m in Switzerland.

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The Heims have always been compassionate, supportive, and loyal friends and therefore are always very dear to my heart. I wish they lived closer and it is my dream to help their children Hans and Helina for the rest of their lives. Thank you Hans and Susie.

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Sue Heywood – My ex-wife and mother to our two wonderful daughters. Valedictorian of Prince of Wales High School and a teacher in Vancouver, Canada.  She also won the Grade 4 math prize. Who is rounding out that belly? Leah.

 

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Chris “Jug” Hickman – Married to Tammy Hickman. He was my New Mexico State University 6’9″ teammate. Raised in Clearwater, Kansas… Chris was my NMSU roommate for both home and away games. I know a lot about Chris; very likely more than you. At NMSU we were best friends. Chris is smart. He has a brilliant mind and earned multiple ‘reputable’ university degrees. He and I have shared unforgettable on and off court memories which I will always treasure and never share – as to share a few stories could get us both into trouble. THANK YOU JUG!!! LinkedIn

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Tammy Hickman – BFF at NMSU’s wife. An Ali knockout, who is funny, energetic, loves to laugh, and a super mom. I have known Tam (and her friends) since 1988 and that has always been a very special treat.  

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Mike Hicks – Uncle Mike was the Master of Ceremony at my wedding (very good job). Mike is Bill and Bob Disbrow’s nephew. We met at Sakinaw Lake in the last millennium and have hung out ever since.  Together we have shared some incredible adventures all of which I will cherish for the rest of time.  

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Anthony Jr. Ireland – Is adamant that Pancho Villa is his Great Grandfather. Therefore, Anthony is a direct descendant of one of the most prominent Mexican revolutionary legends. I think it’s important to note that even Anthony acknowledges that Ol’ Panch Villa had “many” children – so perhaps Anthony’s not all that special. Anthony and I played basketball together at New Mexico State. He is 6’5″ (Pancho was not 6’5″ – so his story has holes), very strong and we obviously shared many great times together. He specifically pushed during our runs and while lifting weights. We called him Toni or Tone. After New Mexico State University he moved to Boston to study theology and ‘believe-it-or-not’ became an ordained Priest (Panch was no Priest). I have many Tone stories, but my favorite is when, during two separate incidences, he donkey-kicked doors off their innocent hinges (very priest-like), after getting just a little upset. We were all young once…

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Valerie Jerome –  Loving long-time supportive family friend.  A beautiful 2 time Olympian. Thank you for your smile, advice, and supportive words… For the invitations to different events throughout the city and to laughs and discussions in your home. For I will write more about you soon (good stuff I promise) Valerie

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Mina Kumari Kavia – One of the kindest souls on earth. Also, one of finest physiotherapists in the world with an assortment of designations from almost every continent. If your heart, body or soul are damaged – go see Mina. She has two daughters and lives in a place called Squamish, BC. Together, we completed the 1992 Sea-2-Summit race. We also toured extensively throughout the Rocky Mountains as part of our training regiment (cycling, hiking, rock-climbing). See our ‘Mountaineering’ story. Thank you always MKK.

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Howard Kelsey – Since I was 14 years old Howard has remained a mentor in numerous aspects of my life. He has become a close personal friend and we enjoy doing lots of successful philanthropic business together. For as long as I’ve known Howard he has been intensely driven. Howard can, because he thinks he can, and therefore carries the responsibility for most others around him. He is a hard-working 2x Olympian who is brilliant. Also, good-looking (albeit, to others not necessarily me). He is optimistic, charismatic, smart and has always been an extraordinary leader- but most importantly he treats people well and is 100% honest – traits seldom found today and a breath of fresh air to be around. Howard gives all he humanly can to improve the world we live in.

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Michele Kojima – Thank you, and thank you for raising two fantastic boys. For your laughter and energy and all things special about you. 

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Trevor Kojima – Tall, just shy of 6 feet (179.5cm), half Japanese and blessed with good genes. One of my oldest and dearest friends. He is also the son of Yuzuru “Jim” Kojima (Order of Canada) and Verna. He is a super confident Dad with a gigantic heart, who always illuminates rooms with his contagious laugh – everyone’s spirits lift when “Koji” is present. Loves to laugh and gel his hair. One of the best athletes (pound-for-pound) in Canada (still today). He is well-known among his friends for hurling the first punch or kick before allowing us (The Bigs) to re-stabilize the situation. Trev was a star hockey, basketball, and football player and is currently a successful Product Sales Manager with Precision Technology Services.

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Georges et Bernadette Kopsopoulos – Georges basically massaged and looked after my body for four years (everyday) while I played for Fribourg Olympic (Benetton). No ones hands have touched me more than Crazy Georges :- ) Injured or recovering, Georges & Bernadette welcomed me into his physiotherapy clinic and treated me until I was 100% healthy- no questions asked.  Georges was also the Swiss National Team physiotherapist – so I was very well looked after – he also looked after our All-Star team when we played the 1998 Magic Johnson All-star game. I’m not sure how to repay someone who treats you for 4 straight years. Both Georges and Bernadette are outwardly kind and clearly incessantly generous (My Kind of People).  Georges’s smile and love for life is infectious and he exudes maximum happiness (My type of person). THANK YOU Georges and family for absolutely everything.  

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Dr. Nestor Korchinsky – One of the best human beings I will ever meet; and someone I could/may twin the rest of my life after.  If the world ever filled with Nestor Korchinsky clones we would see an Earth with no poverty, genocide, war, starvation, greed, hate etc… or even a need for lawyers.  To be greeted by Nestor Korchinsky is to understand a lot about him and his outlook on life. First, he approaches – all six and a half feet of him – with open arms and a broad smile. Then as his right hand envelopes yours, his left arm gently pulls you into a warm embrace.  And that’s how he says hello to a stranger. In the 38 years that Nestor worked at UBC, tens of thousands of students, staff and faculty members have enjoyed his enthusiastic greetings.  Nestor joined UBC in 1967 as a Faculty member in what is now the School of Human Kinetics. In the sixties, it appeared to Nestor that UBC was without spirit, because, he reasoned, it did not have a soul. He concluded that while a strong academic environment gave the University its character, what was needed was a stronger and more coordinated co-curricular program which would give the University its personality. The combination of character and personality would give UBC its soul and with it a sense of community spirit and university tradition. Nestor was determined to work with others to help bring spirit to the campus, and the intramural program became part of his plan as did The POINT newspaper, UBC-TV and Live@UBC.  At first the Intramural Program was run by two students. Slowly Nestor built the program up, and today UBC Rec is run by 120 student volunteers and nine full-time staff, and is the largest program of its kind in Canada.

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Kramer – At the time, was always there for me. Tremendously kind and caring. Beautiful inside and out. Fantastic artist and graphic designer. For years one of my closest friends. Super family and friends who allowed me to share their life every step of the way. Introduced me to Cedric Pellet and Fam; who I proudly learned a great deal from – sadly, I know that I will never be able to repay them for those life-changing lessons – but I will keep trying. As I have tried many times already. It was a time in my life that I absolutely cherished – and will continue to cherish. Francis Cabrel once wrote a song… “Mon enfant nue sur les galets – Le vent dans tes cheveux défaits – Comme un printemps sur mon trajet – Un diamant tombé d’un coffret – Seule la lumière pourrait – Défaire nos repères secrets – Où mes doigts pris sur tes poignets… see video

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Myriam Krieg – Close friend for over 20 years. Easily one of the most special people I will ever meet – primarily because of her deep passion for all things – especially art, literature, history, drawing, the outdoors (running and biking), traveling, creative writing, grading, flowers, her backyard chickens, and son Maël. 

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George Light – My Jr. high teacher. In our advanced physical education class he taught us our skeletal and muscular systems inside out. Then during practice how to focus, compete and work hard for your goals – at a young age. Goals, vision, discipline.

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Brennan Little – Mike Weir’s caddy – And, OK – THE MASTERS winner. We went to, and finished business school together (also, coincidentally, with our buddy PGA Champion Rich Beem), before all of us turned pro. I distinctly remember receiving a phone call from Brennan – I was playing basketball in Europe – asking me if I knew Mike Weir… “Anyway Pootz, he’s a high school buddy and he has asked me to be his PGA Tour caddy, I said YES, so that’s what I’ll be doing from now on.”  …of course the rest is history.  Brennan is also a super guy; part of our connection was the fact that we were two of three Canadians Eh!! attending NMSU – the other being Martin Chuck – Tour Striker Golf Academy 

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The Graq”  (Bino)- Graq’s IQ serves him well, earning him several highly respected international corporate positions. I’ve known his parents Ruth & Bob since 1980. The Graq and I competed in high-jump at our local elementary school track and field meets. Graeme’s Dad, who looked a lot like Colonel Sanders, was also a well-known Richmond School District teacher. To the envy of many, The Graq confidentially possessed the key to the Minoru T&F Pavilion, which afforded him access (thus an edge), to the high-jump equipment. Graeme earned a Provincial Basketball Championship with the Richmond “Super” Colts in 1988 and received a full-ride scholarship to a University in North Carolina – aka he was a very good basketball player (6’7″ or 203cm). The Graq (albeit ‘lattless’) is a caring passionate father and husband; married to Ceci. They currently live in on the other side of the world. He possesses the gift of the gab, laughter and is bilingual. Creative, logical, dependable, and practical. He easily gets fired up about music (live or not) – and often plays it a little too loud for sensitive conservative ear drums – such as mine). The Graq also enjoys adventures, international business, his close friends and extensively traveling the world.

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Marlies Liver – My Dad, Anton Putzi’s girlfriend for the past 25+ years. Swiss Grandma to Leah & Jenna. Always ready with an open door, kiss, and a freshly brewed hot coffee. Marlies always prepares delicious meals and has now looked after my Dad for decades with her inextinguishable love. She is an avid reader and was once a well-respected traditional Swiss folk costume dancer, which usually involve beautiful floral embroidery and dance. Marlies was born and raised in Kloster, GR, Switzerland and worked for the Swiss postoffice until her retirement (or the invention of email). Thank you very much.

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Jeff & Leslie Lochbaum (Alyssa & Carly) – Enriched my life in countless ways; fantastic blend of rich humor, complex thought, and real-life seriousness (when called for). It is for that reason, as a graduation prank, Sowen Ng and I toilet papered his entire house. Thank you for all the laughs and good times; especially those at the Dawg House and Sakinaw.  Jeff Lochbaum is well thought of as a legend in the British Columbia Football fraternity. He has enjoyed unparalleled success coaching minor, high school, Junior and University programs including three consecutive BC High school Provincial Championships with the Richmond Colts from 1995 through 1997.  Known as a player’s coach, Lochbaum commands the respect and dedication of his players and colleagues at every level he has coached. He is also well known for his ability to teach, motivate and bring out the best in his players. (Photo: Bill Disbrow, Bernie Glier, Jeff Lochbaum).

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Roger & Mickey Locatelli – We built a life-long friendship while playing basketball together in Vacallo, TI, Switzerland.  Roger knows funny and also how to be serious (although he is seldom that). Good athlete, national champion (sensa la mano sinistra), smart, opinionated, and a hard worker.   Roger and Mickey (Michela Locatelli-Paglia – Photographer) generously showed my daughters the most exceptional time in the summer of 2013. Roger and Mickey are the king and queen of barbecues and hosts fantastic parties. Great times always. Vorrie ringraziare di cuore. 

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Joe Lucke  – Joe was managed the Richmond Colts to a Provincial basketball championship. He was also athletic and driven (still is). As a co-founder of Lighthouse Equity Partners, Joe brings two decades of experience in private equity, investment banking, and principal investing. He has extensive investment, operational, strategic and governance experience in both Canada and the United States. Joe prefers to manage billions over millions.

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Hanif Mamdani – I have known Hanif Mamdani since we attended my Mom’s daycare together on Steveston Highway in Richmond. (Highway? sounds like a ‘real’ good place to raise children) More on Hanif – Thank you.

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Bruce “Gunner” McDonald – Giving endlessly to improving our community. One of Howard Kelsey’s BFFs, and an inspiration to us all.  Among countless other community services, Gunner has been running open gym basketball runs at Dunbar Community Centre every Saturday afternoon at 3pm since last millennium. Thank you Gunner.

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Bob & Betty McCaslin – My beloved surrogate parents from Las Cruces, New Mexico – through and through and forever. Bob and Betty offered to us (Chris Hickman and all others) whatever they could afford to ensure that we had the best university experience possible – all while still respecting the strict NCAA rules and regulatory guidelines. Bob and Betty raised their two children Mike and Nancy and have now happily retired in the same home they spoiled us in. 

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Jim McCown – The ‘Great’ One:  We are good friends from NMSU with Anthony Ireland Jr. Jim is astonishingly smart and also a lawyer.

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Greg & Julie McDonnell:  Long time friend. Greg (“Mac”) and Julie live together in Whistler, BC. Greg is a GREAT man and an outstanding professional councillor who has helped countless numbers of people through countless difficult situation.  If you’re looking for a fantastic councillor, Greg is your person:  REDUCE MY STRESS NOW.

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AB3 – Thank you and congratulations.    Love the new house and house warming (food and drinks) was excellent. So many laughs and memories together. Let me know when you want to do the Matterhorn again… missing our plane in LAX, watching you convincingly trying to ask Delta Airlines airlines to “We’re here now, just have them bring the plane back in and we’ll get on.”  –“Sir, this LAX!!!, we’re not just bringing the plane back in for you.”  More on you later….

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Travis McPherson The ONLY reason I hired Travis was because he was graduating from UBC’s renowned Sauder School of Business (Specializing in Finance and Entrepreneurship), AND because Travis was brilliant, funny, competitive, (worldly) knowledgeable & tremendously kind. He also brazenly claimed during our job interview to love such things as; Dave Matthews, red wine, cycling, and Kirsten Liebermann (married May 2014). So I gave him a chance. I loved working with Travis at Haywood Securities. Thank you!!!

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My Close Media Friends – THANK YOU:  Tony GallagherHoward TsumuraDon FennellChris GailusRob KlovanceAlain ThévozMarius BersetJack NixonGary MasonJohn McKeachieElliot PappYvonne ZachariasThe Team 1040 (Barry ‘B-Mac’ MacDonald), Scott RintoulSteve EwenBruce Arthur – I cannot thank you enough.    (I will add the missing media personnel asap!!!)

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Mike “Murph” Murphy – Murph has always been a sincere, loyal, and close friend. We have shared, by his including me, innumerable great times together. An exceptional life-long outdoor education teacher, Murph founded and became the owner/operator of Ogopogo Kayak Tours. Yes, he is the World’s Best Guide. I owe too much to Murph and hope to repay him for everything he has ever done.

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Samantha Mincher – Close friend whom I have the highest respect for. Working with her to create a better world has been a joy and honor. Together of rover 10 years we have helped build the Canada 1 foundation (HSBC Basketball Classic, KitsFest, BC Provincial Basketball Championships etc) She is an exceptionally hard worker who has supported and helped me countless times. I am grateful Sam entered my life. (Far right in photo)

 

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John “the warm-hearted” Newmann – John Newmann was my basketball first coach in Jr. High. John is a friend who agreed to countless hours of extra driving to make sure, at my mother’s insistence, that I first attend gymnastics practice (at the Sea Island Forum, near Vancouver’s airport) before basketball. John was also my homeroom and math teacher. In 1983 John was largely responsible for convincing my Mother that my future was more in professional basketball than international gymnastics competition.

 

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Al Nishi – My coach, guidance councillor, compassionate friend, advisor.  Al has mentored thousands of kids to becoming better people. Al is emotional and very caring and also a very good athletic. Al is a super Dad, loving husband and a close friend.

 

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Sowen Ng – I met Sowen Ng at J.N. Burnett Junior High School in 1982. We were both 12 years old and quickly became best friends. Like many boys we too had a crush on a girl named Katherine deBrower. From grade 8-12 we experienced a lot together and those experiences cemented lifelong memories. Those were (are) essential growth years for our personal developmental – which undoubtedly influenced us for life. Sowen lives in Hong Kong, has two beautiful boys, and is (currently) in top shape – something I truly admire him for. Lastly, on a personal level, Sowen has often been a savior to me and I will always be indebted to him for that.   Thank you.

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The Ng’s – Mom and Dad, Karven, and (of course) 95 year old Grandma Ng (d. 2015), with her beautiful eyes and beaming smile. I’ve eaten my share of Chineee Foo with the NG’s and thank them very much for all they have given me.

 

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Annalise Nigg – Johannes Walli’s girlfriend who loves my Uncle. They live together in Pany and have built, once again, another home I’d love to live in. Thank you for being kind to Leah and Jenna.

 

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Fabien Noël – For the many crazy nights together in Fribourg. Wonderful supportive friend who attended as many games as possible to Fribourg Olympic on. We drank cold beer and played Swiss cards (Jass) a lot and shared many stories of our pasts.  Thank you. 

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Turlough O’Hare – One of my oldest friends. More later. Please see link for now. And if I may say hosted the most memorable Irish wedding WOW!!! – Turlough is a doctor in Hamilton, Ontario and 2x Olympic finalist in swimming (in case you were too lazy to click his link).

 

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Dr. Alfredo Ortiz – One of the funniest smart-asses I know. Alfredo was a BFF at New Mexico State University – as long as I could “drum-up two front row tickets” to Sold Out NMSU basketball games. “It’s sold out Alfred” …”No, I know, just get me 2 – if possible four.” All was an exceptional runner and basketball player and we attended business school together. Many good times. One of my favorite memories is driving together to New Mexico State’s Pan American Centre (13,000+) after 10pm – our finance homework completed – signing-in and asking the custodial engineer to flick on the arena lights. From the mezzanine (ground level) we walked down to the basketball court, while the attendant made his way to the top of the arena. Like a scene from the basketball movie Hoosiers, a few high-powered pot lights would first “Crack”, come to a flicker then slowly illuminate our parquet floor far below. Paradise for 20 year old kids. We had an NCAA gym at our disposal almost 24/7 – and I could invite friends – and we would go all the time. Alfredo earned his PhD (2013) and lives in San Antonio, Texas with his beautiful wife Libni and their two daughters.  I have a few more university stories which Alfredo should anticipate me blogging soon… you’re not that angelic kid.  :- )

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Jason Pamer – Jason is Dad to twins and married to Chenoa. He is generally considered tall, handsome, athletic, smart, and funny – so good luck in life Jay. I will write more on JP later…

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The Steveston Packers: TJ Johal, Bira (and Rose) Bindra, Bruce Watson,  Tony Wong-Hen, Garth “Rubberman” Robertson (and volunteers), for the decades of exceptional achievement and consummate guidance. For running the Dolphin Park Basketball Tournament and successfully mentoring countless kids throughout our community. Through your exemplary hard work, backbreaking determination, and proper positive guidance you made a profound difference in their/our world. Thank you. And to John Roberts, Cooks, John Conners, Jeff Sharpe, The Birdas, etc…I will never forget our tremendously competitive ‘battle years’ and everlasting friendships that grew from those games. 

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Cedric Pellet (et Anne-Françoise) – Cedric, directly and indirectly taught me how to become a truly loving father. Through his countless examples I watched and learned how to be a loving “Dad” to his kids. Pellet was creative – making sophisticated handmade games for his kids. Or he would make up very simple uncomplicated (yet creative) games on the spot which  everyone could play. He married Eve Kramer’s sister Anne-Françoise and together they live in Noiraigue, NE, Switzerland. I really can’t thank him enough… I really hope to I have the opportunity to introduce my L&J to him -perhaps he can see the affect he has had on them. Merci beaucoup pour tout ce que vous me aves donné Eve & Monsieur Cedric Pellet – Je vais toujours te chérir.

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Jeff Periera –  Life has handed Jeff a huge galactic-scale of perspective and Jeff has powered through – like he always has since I have known him. Jade is Jeff’s raison d’être.   Jeff played on the 1987 & 1988 BC Provincial Championship teams, and also the good-looking (he’d say “best-looking”) star RHS quarterback.  If Jeff showed up you were playing 2nd fiddle. Jeff also won the provincial championship in grade 10. So Jeff is an absolute champion in more ways than we know.

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Alain & Anna Perlotto:  My friend and basketball agent. I was the Best Man at their beautiful wedding. Alain knows a lot about basketball and has surrounded himself with the sports for as long as I can remember — very smart and an acute listener with a strong opinion.  Loves to laugh (but especially at me). More to come soon… 

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 Julien Phipps – This is all you get for now Jube…. :- )  More later…. (3rd from the left).

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Anton Putzi – Is my Dad. A Tool & Dye Maker who grew up in Buchen, Switzerland. He is bilingual and the Swiss ‘Eni’ Grandpa to Leah & Jenna. He was once one of the top downhill skiers in the world before  moving to Vancouver, Canada and becoming the 1971 Canadian Decathlon Champion with the Kajaks Track & Field Club in Richmond. Dad then decided to take up golf and also became the Club Champion of Richmond’s Quilchina Golf and Country Club. In 1982, after my parent’s divorce, Dad left Canada for Asia. In the last few years he became the European & Swiss Senior National Golf Champion (2014). During the past 25 years he and Marlies Liver have lived in Klosters, Igis, Zurich (Switzerland), or Cape Town, South Africa. Thankfully through Skype we can regularly communicate which helps squeeze international borders.

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Jenna Putzi – I love with all my heart and I could not be more proud of her. From the day she was born until now our love for each other has grown more and more each day. My highest raison d’être. Your video: Here

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Leah Putzi –   I love with all my heart and I could not be more proud of her. From the day she was born until now our love for each other has grown more and more each day. My highest raison d’être. Your video: Here

 

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Angus Reid and the Reid Family – Lifelong mutual admiration for our achievements. Friends since the dawn of time. With all the Reids you are always greeted with a big great smile and a hilarious story. Thank you.

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Coreena Robertson – Coreena has stuck with me through thick and thin and our mutual friendship has blossomed into something I cherish and respect.  Coreena is driven to succeed and is very creative. Coreena has hosted two amazing parties; one, I believe her 30th birthday (False Creek), the second an incredible Monte Carlo soiree. Thank you… yes, more to come later. Boomerang Life: Link

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Richmond High Super Colts – In my 100% unabashed bias opinion, we had the very best high-school fans ever. Tremendous memories collectively created by all the coaches, parents, cheerleaders, dancers, teachers (including the international baccalaureate program), athletes, art and drama students, and of course the sports championship teams. An exciting time in our lives.

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Andy & Madlene Rominger – Thank you very much. Your surprise visit to Vancouver, BC in 2014 was excellent. Your Restaurant Landhaus hospitality and superb cuisine in Jenaz, GR, Switzerland was, and always is, outstanding.  Highly recommended.

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The Ruhsam’s Heiko, Conny, Katharina, Richard – From Dippoldiswalde… thank you immer und immer für alles. 

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Schmoe – Without question a great LAFS – Beautiful soul, woman, mother, person. Brilliant and creative with a passion for life, animals, people, and family. Has always genuinely cared about everything. Thank you!!! 

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ScotiaMcleod – Best Investment Advisor educational program in the country. Thank you Kevin Fairs for the extraordinary effort in guiding us through your well-respected National Training Program in Toronto, Canada. Back in Vancouver, I loved the South Granville office, also Thank You to Doug Lambert for hiring me, and giving me my first job in Canada. Thank you to Hamish Angus for all you support and laughs. To Ian Mitchell, Wayne Ridgeway, Patricia Carr (my first executive assistant), Peter Yu etceteras for now…

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Tom Seltzer (and Catherine McLeod) –  For your tremendous and caring support when I needed it most. A place to stay, magical dinners, parties, and trips to Washington, Mexico and Toronto.  Tommy (who I add is absolutely brilliant) often took me under his wing (as a rookie Investment Advisor at Haywood) and had my back through it all; always… and, I can’t thank him enough. 

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Jeff Sharpe: Much more to come… A absolutely driven Steveston Packer…Co-Founder of Innovative Fitness – Top 40 under 40 in Canada. Jeff has significantly helped me out during my difficult times the past couple years and I will appreciate him and his effort to do so forever. (Jeff is the one on the left side of this photo).

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David Sinclair – Is among the best guitar players to have ever played on Earth. David freely gave me my first private guitar lesson in, of all places a historical German castle. I met David through Melanie Dekker and have toured many times, in many countries, with him. I would say David is more introverted than extroverted yet loves to tell or hear a good road story. He is very humble (as many of the ‘greats’ are), seldom says a bad word, and is careful in selecting what he say or does. His professional music resume speaks for itself – PLEASE click his link above.

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Paal Steensland – Welcomed me to Fribourg in 1992 (with the Fragniere family) and introduced me to Kelly Boucher (also playing basketball in Europe). 25 years of friendship. Steensland called me immediately during 9/11 after first unidentified object (“Ron, it looks like it’s likely a small plane”) hit WTC 1 (the North Tower). The urgency in Paal’s voice was clear, this wasn’t an ordinary event, and as we all know it was not. I moved away while Paal opted to stay in Fribourg (with his daughter). One of the funniest pictures I have ever seen was this picture sent to me in Vancouver while Melanie Dekker was on tour.  It says it all, but mainly “It’s 3am – I’m with your Melanie and we both know there is absolutely NOTHING on Earth you can do to stop this.”  – I honestly still laugh looking at the picture.

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Michel Studer – Fribourg Olympics BIG MAN and shooter.  Studer was always fun to play basketball with and the fans adored him.  He and I have shared many laughs and beers together.  Thank you Stoots. “Du Satan Du.” More about Studer soon… 

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Dr. Jack Taunton – Thank you for all you have given to us and the world. In many ways you are simply incomparable. 

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 Misty Thomas – More on Olympian Misty Thomas  as soon as possible… also see UNLV.

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Kevin Thomson – Youtube – Kevin ran across Canada (who hasn’t?). He also ran the GranFondo and several other inspiring events.  Melanie Dekker used to live with Kevin and so we know Kevin very well.  Kevin is driven and inspirational person who loves maximizing every minute of each day. On June 12, 2015, Kevin and I climbed to the highest point on The Lions Gate Bridge together. Of course, that will always be one of the greatest memories I will ever have. Kevin (there he goes again), also introduced me to the 6am morning crew with whom we Grouse Grind with each week.  There is much more to add about Kevin but I will need to do so wee later. Thank you Kevin.

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Jim and Nancy Tillet –   Close friends since my years at New Mexico State University. More later…

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Trabucchi – Per anni ho vissuto in Paradiso, Ticino, Svizzera. Un luogo dove io, nella mia vita, raramente amato di più. Un luogo ed ora, per innumerevoli ragioni, tengo particolarmente a cuore. Un posto dove sono stato trattato al ballo più incredibile e ballerina, che tra tante altre qualità che cambiano la vita, con attenzione mi piroetta sui pavimenti in parquet della sua anima interiore. E ‘ancora una volta, con grande apprezzamento, che ringrazio il Brilli e Trabucchi del per tutti. Gracie Mille Mille Mille ….. per sempre.

For years I lived in Paradise, Ticino, Switzerland. Paradiso is a special place where in my lifetime I will seldom be adored, respected, and loved more. For countless reasons, it is a beautiful place and time in my life – one I hold particularly very close to my heart. Here, I was treated to the most incredible dance of a dancer who among so many other life-changing qualities ever so gently pirouetted me across the parquet floors of her heart and inner soul. Again (and forever), it is with immense respect, appreciation, and adoration that I thank the Brilli’s and Trabucchi’s for absolutely everything they shared with me. Gracie Mille Mille Mille…..Always and Forever. 

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Justin Walli – Justin is my cousin and pseudo brother. He and I travelled to Switzerland together at 7 years old and thus accumulated countless cherished memories together. We’re not just connected by blood, there remains a deeper connection; like the one I feel with my closest friends. We have an ongoing understanding and I’ve always loved him for that. Back in high school, Justin was a Pepsi BC All-Star wide receiver in football – which he knows I’ve always respected. 

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Christian “Hitsch” Walli – Hitsch is my other funny Uncle. His sense of humor is comparable to Bob Newhart’s whit; which is saying a lot. He is the father of Justin and Liza and now Grandfather to Arlo. Hitsch is also an excellent cook, forester and husband… and loves to laugh (at you, with you…or to himself) He also loves history and was originally raised in the town of Fideris in Switzerland.

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Ellen Walli – Ellen is my Aunt and married to Uncle Hitsch. Ellen is a mother & grandmother to Arlo. Avid reader and late night TV watcher. Whether she loves to so or not, Ellen cooks us massive holiday meals which are absolutely scrumptious. She is attentive, courteous, and warm, and also opinionated – which I love. The meals at the Walli’s house have brought our entire family together and become a glue holding us all together. Thank you. 

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Liza Walli – Liza is Justin’s only sister and my only other cousin living in Canada. She married Brother Twang frontman Jay Romany and together they made a beautiful baby boy named Arlo. Liza was an award-winning Human Resources employee with Ziptrek Ecotours, and now works The Brew Creek just outside of Whistler. She is very funny and exceptionally quick. 

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Maria Walli – In 2015, Great-Great Grandmother to 1 lucky kid, Great Grandmother to lucky 25 kids etc.  Turns 97 years old in November and we are thrilled to have had her in our lives for almost a century (100 years). Nani Maria tells a story about when my mother Margreth (Walli) was born. Maria was in the barn milking the last of six cows when she felt my Mom slowly coming out. Maria finished milking the cow, hopped off the stool and called to my grandfather Andreas, “The baby is coming.”  Andreas politely walked her to the house and minutes later Margreth was born to this Earth.  

Nani Maria was also famous for saying. “At 50 years old a pain creeps into your body, and never leaves – it just bounces around your body like a pinball.” (Picture: Ron Putzi, Maria Walli, Justin ‘Bruno’ Walli – circa 1975)

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Susan Walli – Susan is one of my three Swiss Aunts. She is the mother of Christof and Sandra Walli (Gadola) and has ALWAYS been loving and kind to me. Susan has also always been inquisitive, smart and a very good listener.  I was very happy that Leah and Jenna were able to meet her in Chur for Chinese food. We had a wonderful lunch which was very memorable. Thank you Susan.

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Johannes Walli – Johannes is my Mother’s brother and my Swiss Uncle. In Switzerland they call him Hump – but we wouldn’t call anyone in Canada that. He is funny and smart, successful, & good-looking. He restructured the family business WALLI AG (started by my grandfather Andreas) and through hard-work and luck developed the company into a multi-million dollar construction company. Sporty, artsy and sometimes even shy. Johannes is a tough businessman, who has had tremendous success.

 

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Barbara Wieland – Another beautiful cousin of mine. Also compassionate, supportive, and loving Mother (Mama). Successful businesswoman, philanthropic, generous, and good cook. Loves to laugh and tease (a trend among my friends), and is good at it. Owner of one of the nicest views in the world looking out the windows of her house in Stels, GR.

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Otto Wieland – Husband to Barbara. Loves to laugh, and to talk business. A businessman who has almost the identical air-collector (nose) like me. He’s kind and a father to three kids. Otto (and son Permin), can make almost anything out of wood.

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David “Old Man” Williscroft (and family) – Dr. Williscroft & Cathy have been friends for many years. Dave and his two brother, not to mention his Dad Neil Williscroft (Provincial MVP) were all outstanding basketball players at Vancouver College. Dave and Cathy are admired by virtually everyone – that’s how they roll. They have three gorgeous kids (thank you Cathy), and live near Horseshoe Bay in Vancouver, Canada. 

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Peter Yu – I met then hired Peter at ScotiaMcLeod and Haywood Securities. He graduated in mathematics from the University of Calgary and is a dependable likable Korean/Canadian. I have always said that his parents must have kicked his butt during his upbringing for he was always punctual and disciplined at work. Peter has a fantastic memory and we have many great memories together – notwithstanding the 2008 stock market crash which had us drinking more coffee during “no seriously – what-on-Earth can we do?” meetings than atone will ever know. I was thrilled to have Peter at my side during it all.

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Andrew “Z” Zawada – I will describe 6’5″ Andrew as a tremendously loyal friend. Few people in the world express themselves like “Z” (pronounced Zee not Zed) – Amdrew is honest and to the point – zero BS. He gives you the straight goods and it is honestly a breath of fresh air to have someone tell you something straight. I thank and respect Zawada in countless ways and all of us, not just me, are extremely glad Andrew airdropped himself into our lives from Fraser Lake in the late 80’s. Andrew is married to Lori and they have two beautiful, kind, and well-behaved daughters (AZ & JZ), who are both super multiple-sport athletes at McMath High School in Richmond.

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