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A tip of the tam to Ed Deans

A tip of the tam to Ed Deans

Sports historian Bill Fitsell remembers longtime Athletics and Recreation staffer Ed Deans, who died Jan. 13.


Letter to the Editor
Re: “In Memoriam,"
Issue #1-2010

Over the years, Queen’s Athletics has enjoyed the services of some outstanding characters — from Alfie Pierce and Senator Powell to Tabby Gow. Add the name of Edward Joseph Paul Deans, known to all as “Eddie.” This irreplaceable gent, who served the University as the manager of athletics business, events, the stadium, and the arena for 33 years, died in Brockville, Ontario, on January 13 after a 12-year battle with Alzheimer’s.

His memory of past victories in the Tindall-McCarney football years was still vivid, and no one more enjoyed Golden Gael victories. Could anyone top the memorable scene of “Steady Eddie” atop a bistro table, leading the cheers and belting out “Tiny-y-y-y Bubbles?”

I had the pleasure of knowing and working with this son of Toronto’s Cabbagetown at Gananoque, where he polished his debating skills as a hockey player, coach, scout, rink manager and recreation director before moving to Queen’s in 1961. At “Gan,” a town notorious town for nicknames, he was anointed with the sobriquet of “The Little Major. He fought battles on an off the ice and field and won most of them.

An all-round sportsman from soccer and tennis to football and squash, Eddie was an incessant tease and needler, who could defuse a situation with a broad smile and rally a side with a quip and a comment. His penchant for livening up any scene was never more evident than when cajoling Pro-Am hockey players through his annual golf tournaments that raised thousands of dollars for charity.

My last memory of Eddie was a few years after his retirement in 1994, along with late athletic director Rolf Lund, both resplendent in Tricolour sweater coats and scarves, exhorting the University’s Historic Hockey team to victory in a joyous, but competitive, college style.

At Richardson Stadium or the Jock Harty Arena, Eddie touched many a student’s life—and vice versa. The memory of his intrepid spirit deserves a belated tip of the tam or the tumbler. Rest easy, Eddie. Cha Gheill!

[Queen's Alumni Review 2010-2 cover]