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Ernie Kershaw memorial set for Monday
At 102, Ernie Kershaw was actually older than century-celebrating West Vancouver itself.
Born in Ladner on Oct. 6, 1909, he passed away Monday at his home on St. Denis Road where he and wife Audrey lived since 1959, raising their three children.
Ernie was a very popular and longtime West Vancouver Secondary math teacher from 1936 to 1973, minus the World War II years when he was an instructor in air force training schools in Canada and England. He was set to go to Okinawa in 1945 when word came that the war was over.
He spent summers as a curveball pitcher with amateur and semi-pro teams in Ladner, Mission, Smithers, Vancouver (in Bob Brown’s old Senior City League from 1933-38 at now-demolished Athletic Park) and Calgary. He turned pro with the Vancouver Capilanos of the Western International League (1939-41 and 1946), compiling a 21-20 won-lost record, including a superb 5-hit, 4-0 victory in the Caps’ home opener their inaugural year of 1939.
When Ernie began teaching as well as coaching badminton and tennis at West Van High, he took the place of Jimmy Sinclair (the future Member of Parliament and father of Margaret Sinclair, who went on to marry Pierre Trudeau) who was leaving to enter politics. The school was then located solely in the Inglewood Building which later housed junior high grades when the Mathers Building opened in 1952.
Ernie was an accomplished musician and along with principal Jimmy Mitchell and teacher Gordon Gillespie created the school’s song about 1937 which he played on the piano on stage in 2007 at the 80th anniversary celebrations of the school’s 1927 Inglewood opening.
Ernie’s death comes just weeks before a book titled The Pitching Professor: The Life and Times of Ernie Kershaw, Professional Baseball’s Oldest-Living Former Player is scheduled for publication.
A memorial service is planned for Monday, Feb. 20, at 2 p.m. at West Vancouver United Church, 2062 Esquimalt Ave.