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Discussion: Earle Phillips

in: Orienteering; General

Feb 24, 2018 4:20 PM # 
Most of the old-timers in the North American orienteering community will know our friend Earle Phillips. He passed away on February 12th.
Earle Phillips was a board member of HKF, OOA and a long time COF board member including head of Canadian National Teams in the early 90’s. He was a many time meet director and controller of National events including the 1975, 1978, 1983, 1986, 1994 and 2013 Canadian Champs, 1978 Canadian 6-day, 1986, 1994 and 2006 North American Championships. He was the spark-plug that was always suggesting new adventures for us.
In addition to orienteering, Earle enjoyed road races. He completed North America’s oldest race, the 30 km Around the Bay, a total of 24 times.
Earle was in good health until recently, running a 10 km race in November. He began feeling ill earlier this year and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
His obituary-
Feb 25, 2018 2:41 AM # 
I very likely would not have made the Canadian national team, been a level 4 official, or even heard of the sport of orienteering for that matter if it wasn’t for the HKF trio of Earle Phillips, Jack Lee and Keith French. They built HKF and Hamilton into a strong orienteering club but didn’t stop there - they were the key builders of Orienteering Ontario and played an important role with COF as well. Sadly they have all left us.

Earle led the National teams during a period of strong performance internationaly and his vision is what much of Canada’s program is built around today.

Earle was often the controller of the courses I set for many champs races - the most recent being Nationals in 2013. His attention to detail was very valuable for making HKF/GHO/DGL races the high quality they were (and are) known for.

Earle, Jack and Keith were all teachers and if you want to build a sport locally, provincially and nationally you do it with three athletic and orienteering passionate teachers. They passed down their knowledge to a number of officials and coaches across the country. They were also tough competitors - often sweeping the medals in the category they were in together.

Earle was also a great link to the local road running scene and because of that (in part) there has been a good connection between running and orienteering in Hamilton.

He will be missed.
Feb 25, 2018 5:31 AM # 
Thanks for posting Jim.
Feb 25, 2018 8:30 AM # 
Thanks for the posting Jim and the added information Mike. Earle and Betty were treasures for orienteering, he for his work, her for her playful, joyous spirit.
Not trying to create a controversy but just to illustrate how valuable he was Earle was one of a few who caused my head to shake when I learned who had not been included in Orienteering Canada's inaugural Builders Hall of Fame.
Feb 25, 2018 1:04 PM # 
Earle, Keith and Jack sweeping the podium in 1989 Canadian Champs
Mar 3, 2018 5:05 PM # 
To join into the tributes to Earle, he was a very close friend of my family and an incredible driver for the development of Orienteering in both Hamilton and Canada writ large.

Earle brought the eye of a Vice-Principal to the role of Meet Director and Controller, great attention to detail and quality control. This really ingrained the level of events that first HKF and now DGL is known for. I believe this was especially evident when serving as a Start Chief for major events as Earle would ensure both everything was in the right place as well a level of organization at the Start that is needed for a Championship event. There are rules in Orienteering, they are there for a reason and they will be followed. When Earle was serious, he was very serious.

Earle was also a very competitive athlete, in Orienteering, road running, cross-country skiing and he also followed the M/F21 classes as much as his own. He was instrumental in the development of Hamilton national team members such as Ron Lowery, Denise Demonte and Mike Waddington. Into his 60s and 70s he had legendary battles in the Raid the Hammer in the Super-Masters category

However, to all that, I'll mostly remember Earle as a wonderful storyteller with a great laugh and spirit, and as Gord mentions above, many of his stories involved Betty. At times I would hear the same story from Earle, Jack and my father Keith, all with their own way of describing some incident.

He will be dearly missed and without question worthy of Orienteering Canada's Builders Hall of Fame.
Jun 9, 2018 6:20 AM # 
I had to resurrect this with a beauty of a pic...


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