By A.P. Crawford, CSP Periodical Editor and Production Manager (5×firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Canadian Ski Patrol was saddened to learn of the passing of Brian Hall in December, 2017. Brian began his CSP career in Central Zone in 1968, becoming the zone president two years later. While zone president, Brian served on the national committee developing a guide for hiring an executive director. He was elected to the board of directors in 1974 where he chaired the executive director hiring committee and the committee on voting structure. He was involved with moving the national office to Ottawa and initiating the purchase of our current building. Patrollers across the country ‘bought bricks,’ sold watches, pens, calculators and engaged in other fundraising ventures to cover the cost – so we all own that piece of property.
Brian became national president in 1977, creating the management committee to separate the board from day-to-day operations, a structure that lasted until the complete restructuring of the national level in 1994. He became the chairman of the board (a separate position) in 1981. He retired from active patrolling in 1985, having received Canadian Ski Patroller Award No. 303, the Life Award from Bergwacht, Schwarzwald, the Outstanding Executive Award and Life Membership No. 19.
Away from the CSP, Brian was a leading insurance industry member, recognized in 2013 for his contributions by the Surety Association of Canada. He was also a board member of the Ontario Sewer and Watermain Association, and had recently retired from the board of the Blue Mountain Golf & Country Club.
But that’s not the whole story of Brian. To those who knew him, Brian was a character. This story is recalled by Don Pitman (Gatineau Zone): The day before a management committee meeting at Mt. Sutton allowed for some skiing. Don came across an injured skier and a paid patroller arrived with a two-person toboggan. Once splinted and loaded, it was obvious additional assistance was required to transport the extra equipment, and along happened Brian and Peter Maxwell (then national training officer) who agreed to take the patient to the patrol room. Don grabbed the gear and headed down, prepping other national types to come and see these two very senior patrollers arrive with a loaded toboggan. And they waited. And waited. Just as Don began to feel uneasy, the toboggan and patient arrived with two different patrollers, explaining they’d seen a couple of unknown patrollers struggling with the toboggan so offered to help, at which point Brian and Peter “almost cried with relief and immediately disappeared.” Post sweep and clothing change, everyone headed to the bar where the two heroes were found in the expected condition. When queried, both denied ever having agreed to take the patient down. Over the intervening years, when questioned singly or together they continued their denial. Team-work to the extreme.
According to John Leu (Life Member No. 15) Brian was a joker but very rarely was he ‘got.’ For most of his patrolling career, Brian lived on a large property featuring a pond in front of the house. For years a group of three ducks lived there and Brian fed them, which allowed him to stand at his front door and whistle for Huey, Dewie and Louie (the kids named them) who would immediately waddle up the driveway to greet him, much to the amazement of those in attendance. One winter Mother Nature did away with his playmates and shortly thereafter, sensing his loneliness, friends made a special presentation at a CSP event in Toronto. Brian was presented with a gift in a large cardboard box. When opened, a large duck jumped out, running all over the head table, completely wrecking the place settings and spreading its largess everywhere. Eventually the 300 to 400 attendees were resettled and the duck was recaptured. And Brian had finally got his!
Brian, you will most definitely be missed.
All photos provided by Debora Bloom-Hall.