Melissa Ranger (2018)
Melissa Ranger started bowling at the age of 9 in London, Ontario. In 1999, at the age of 18, she won the Ontario Ladies Singles advancing to her first Canadian National competition.
Later that year Melissa moved to Edmonton and joined Commonwealth Lawn Bowls to continue her sport. She was a regular competitor on the provincial and national scene, winning the Canadian Ladies Pairs with her Mom in 2000 and the Singles in 2003. She also represented Canada in the Under 25 in Guernsey Island.
In 2000, Melissa was selected for the Canadian national team and competed in various international competitions. The highlight of Melissa’s bowling career was competing in the 2002 Commonwealth games in Manchester, England. She was proud to be a member of the Ladies Fours team who won the silver medal. (2nd from left in photo) She took great pride in the opportunity to represent Canada.
Due to illness Melissa was unable to continue her passion for bowls. Sadly, after a courageous battle, she passed away on July 22, 2018. Melissa will be fondly remembered by many across Canada for her marvelous skill at the game, her kind caring personality and charismatic smile.
Hugh Gillespie (2017)
Hugh Gillespie was a long-term member of the Bow Valley Lawn Bowling club in Calgary and in the words of one of the members there, ‘what a character’ he was. Hugh is remembered as a gentle, kind man, free with compliments and coaching tips for other players. He was a very committed lawn bowler and besides attending several provincial Visually Impaired bowlers’ competitions, he represented Alberta at many national Blind Bowling Competitions. He was a two-time gold medal pairs winner at the Canadian Blind Bowling National Competition winning his last medal in 2014. He is pictured to the left with his director, Joy.
Hugh continued to play the game he loved well into his 90’s. He passed away this winter from congenital heart disease leaving an empty spot at the Bow Valley club where he was cherished. Members will smile as they remember his chuckle and his readiness with a compliment for all.
George Shillabeer (2017)
George often said that from as far back as he could remember what he wanted to do the most outside of work, was to play sports. He played baseball, hockey, golf, curled and alley bowled. He was good at them and sometimes even great at them. He was also a family man and was great at that too.
So it was no surprise then when in 1983 he and Gwen discovered Lawn Bowling, they knew they had a perfect fit. They came for the “chalk talk” on Tuesday, immediately became members and played in the Pairs tournament that weekend. Over the next thirty plus years, George being highly competitive, went on to win many Singles, Pairs, Triples and Fours Tournaments at both the Provincial and National levels. Then he and his teams went on to win tournaments in California, levels at the U.S. Open and pairs in World Bowls.
When George retired in 2002, he became the Greens Director at Commonwealth LBC, a position he held for the next eight years. He and his dog Misty dedicated long hours to working on the greens. In season they did the physical work. Off season they researched how other clubs seeded their greens, cut their greens and what equipment they used.
Thank you George for sharing your skills and expertise in playing Bowls, promoting bowls and working on the greens over the last three decades. George lost his seven year fight with Cancer on March 27, 2017. He will be sorely missed by his family and friends on and off the greens.
Percy Ford (2016)
Percy Ford was a member of Commonwealth Lawn Bowling club for 28 years, not only as an avid player, but also serving the club on the executive committee in charge of the greens, clubhouse, kitchen and bar. As an executive member of the club he secured funds and grants for renovating the clubhouse and along with the help of other volunteers, renovated the old hallway, kitchen and washrooms and was involved in re-surfacing “A” green. Percy was also instrumental in convincing Corporate Challenge to participate in lawn bowling as one of their corporate events each year and then went on to manage the event at the club for the next eight years.
Giving back to the sport was important to Percy in positions of leadership at the provincial level as well as he served on the LBAA executive as vice president and president each for two year terms.
Playing the game was Percy’s passion. Besides the medals won at the provincial level he won a silver medal in the Canadian Senior Triples held in Calgary and a gold medal in the Canadian Mixed Pairs competition held in Fredericton, NB in 2007.
Julie Ford, also an avid bowler, lost her biggest fan when Percy passed away on May 2nd, 2016. The lawn bowls community will miss seeing Percy by her side.
Allan Walker (2015)
Allan started bowling in 1997 after watching the sport at the World Fire and Police Games held in Calgary. He bowled in every Provincial Tournament he could, winning five gold, five silver and three bronze medals. Along with proudly representing Alberta in five Nationals Competitions, Allan won a bronze medal at the 2005 World Master Games, and in 2006 came home with a gold and silver medal from the Huntsman World Senior Games held in Utah. In 2004, he and Peter asked a second year bowler, Pat Bird, to join their fours team along with another new bowler, Jack Radu. They won the provincial playdown and not only was Alberta ably represented but this was the launch of Pat Bird’s lawn bowling career.
Allan served on the LBAA and Stanley Park Lawn Bowling Club executives, volunteered for committees, and coached most Monday evenings. He never missed a Jitney. His last Provincial Tournament was in July 2014, on oxygen, sitting down each end and having his bowls handed to him, but persevering and bowling well. He was the epitome of a true sportsman and ambassador of the game of bowls which he loved so much.
Ivan Johannson (2014)
Upon his retirement, Ivan took up lawn bowls in the early 1990’s. He joined the Royal LBC and served as president from 1993-96. When he became interested in playing more competitively, he joined the Commonwealth LBC and began playing in Provincial Tournaments.
The highlight of his career was winning a Gold Medal in Men’s Fours at the Canadian Championships in 2001 when the event was held at his home club. The following year he was selected to the Canadian Team which played in the North American Challenge in North Carolina, USA.
In spite of an ongoing struggle with Rheumatoid Arthritis Ivan represented Alberta many times at the National Championships until he passed away in 2014. He was held in high regard both on and off the greens as a competitor and enthusiast of the sport at every level.
Art Wieliczko (2012)
Art took up the game of bowls seriously after his retirement in 1994. He especially enjoyed the competitive aspect of the game and represented Alberta many times at the Canadian Championships.
The highlight of his playing career was a Gold Medal win in the Men’s Fours at the Canadian Championships held at his home club, Commonwealth LBC, in 2001. This lead to Art earning the coveted Red Jacket and a place on the Canadian Team which played in the North American Challenge in North Carolina, USA.
His involvement in bowls continued off the green. At club level he coached new bowlers and helped with greens maintenance, at the provincial level he served for a time as Alberta’s Head Official, and at the national level he served as a director for Bowls Canada Boulingrin.
Art continued to play at a high competitive level right up to the last bowl he rolled helping his team win the Fall Classic. A few months later the sport of lawn bowls lost one of its greatest ambassadors with Art’s passing in 2012.