Surrey’s baseball community is remembering Bruce Lawson as a builder and “true giant” of the game locally.
A heart attack has claimed the life of the longtime volunteer coach and past-president of Surrey Canadian Baseball Association. He was 53.
News of Lawson’s death was posted to the association’s Facebook page on the evening of May 14.
“This is difficult to process,” wrote president Dan Michaud. “Bruce always gave his heart and soul to Surrey Canadian and the game of baseball. He was still doing groundskeeping duties during the pandemic. He even helped install the 2018 Peewee AA championship banner on the tower just this Saturday.
“Lionel Courchene (Park) was a second home to him, and was proud to keep it in the greatest condition possible,” Michaud added. “Beyond the tragedy of his passing, the amount of hours he spent helping out at our parks (including Holly), his knowledge and expertise will be very difficult to replace.”
— SurreyCanadian (@SurreyCanadian) May 15, 2020
Lawson’s death came as a shock to everyone who knew him, said his friend Silvana Dodd, longtime treasurer of the association.
“He came on the board around 2013 but before that he was coaching his son for seven or eight years,” Dodd recalled.
“He wasn’t ill, it just happened out of the blue,” she added. “I was on the phone with him the night before and that day, he’d gone to the park to cut the grass. His wife said he came home and was in good spirits, he went into the next room and just fell over – a massive heart attack. He survived two days (in hospital) but never regained consciousness. He died that Thursday (May 14).”
A Guildford-area resident, Lawson is survived by his wife Sheila, daughter Ashley and son Tyler, who is the head coach of the association’s Midget AAA South Fraser Giants.
At Lionel Courchene Park, the peewee diamond will be named after Lawson, in tribute.
“The very best way to honour Bruce’s legacy would be for all to contribute a little bit more to the high standards that our organization and our facilities need, which was what Bruce believed in,” Michaud posted on Facebook and also on the association’s website (surreycanadian.com).