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Bench Talk / Off The Wire

A Truly Remarkable Community Man


By Fred Wallace

 Last week at the Harry Lumley-Bayshore Community Centre I was among the huge crowd that came out to pay respect and celebrate the life of Owen Sound Sports Hall of Fame member Andy Van Dolder.


I can say without question, that I've never been to a function quite like that, but in a very difficult time, a number of people took on the very difficult task of trying to illustrate the positive impact that Andy, " Dutch " & " Big D " had on so many of us.


As the video tribute rolled and as family, friends and business colleagues took the podium, I'll admit my mind wandered.


Naturally there were photos and comments connected to the Flying Dutchmen Snowmobile Racing team, and in my mind, I could hear the voice of Lawrence Phillips of CFOS broadcasting from the windy and snow covered grandstand at Victoria Park.


When Kris spoke about the 1992 Georgian Cup, I remembered being trackside that Sunday afternoon and what a joyous occasion that was for everyone connected to the Van Dolder family.


When Tim talked about the parental support he got for his golfing days, I remembered when Tim was the leader after 2 rounds at the Ontario Amateur, or how he advanced to the Championship Final in the Ontario Match Play one year.


When Tom Currie reflected on the Cash & Carry Aluminum Slo Pitch team, suddenly I flashed back to the Shallow Lake Pig Roast Tournament and how Andy was their pitcher; in one sense their leader, but in another sense, just one of the guys having a ball, playing ball.


In 2004 at the Legion in Owen Sound, the Van Dolders celebrated their 40th anniversary in business.


And a decade later at their modern showroom on Highway 26, they celebrated a 50th anniversary. In both cases it was easy to comprehend how much the business meant to the family, how much the family meant to the business and how much the family & the business meant to our city & region.


A minute here or 5 hours last week, no amount of time can truly or fully illustrate the remarkable impact Andy Van Dolder had on people.


An Owen Sound Sports Hall of Fame member, and a Hall of Fame personality.

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