Salmo sports icon Art Field dies
The man never turned down a chance to coach a team or help out his community.Art Field passed away peacefully, with friends and family at his side, at the Trail Regional Hospital, July 14.Art Field lost out to a long struggle with diabetes and heart failure.“(Art) was one helleva guy dedicated to family, friends, community (and) education,” said close friend Lou DeRosa of Trail..“Art was one of those guys who was always there,” said Jack Closkey of Castlegar, who coached against the Salmo Falcons skipper.And many of the same accolades poured in on Facebook from friends and colleagues of the Salmo sports icon.Raised in East Vancouver, Art Field completed his BPE and MPE at the University of British Columbia.Being very active in sports — especially soccer and baseball — Art Field was very proud of the big block letters that he received in the two sports from the UBC Athletic Department.As a graduate with a teaching degree in physical education, Art Field taught in Kamloops, Vancouver, and for two years at Macdonald College of McGill University, before he and his loving wife Joan relocated to begin a lifetime of coaching, helping in the community and raising three children in Salmo.“I first met (Art) at Powell Street grounds during early 60s while attending summer school at UBC,” DeRosa explained.“ I was in the stands with my ball glove. He spots me and asks “You a ballplayer?” He invited me to join the team. I played with him there during two summers.”DeRosa said the two continued their friendship and was hired at Salmo Junior/Senior Secondary where Art was the vice principal.“I taught there for two years and enjoyed my time there,” DeRosa said.“I played senior men’s basketball for Salmo.”Guess who was the coach?Art Field.“He headed the senior basketball team there for perhaps ten years,” DeRosa added.Art Field was honoured with many coach-of-the-year awards during that time. Back in Salmo, Art Field was active in the Salmo Lions, swimming pool, ski hill, golf course, recreation commission and Salmo Valley Youth and Community Centre.He gave a great deal of his time to the coaching and sponsoring of school and community teams.That’s where legendary high school girl’s basketball coach Jack Closkey met Art Field.“You name the school sport . . . Art would always show up with a few Salmo kids and they would compete like tigers,” Clockey remembers.“Art was like those kids; a little rough around the edges but a big heart and a tough competitor.“(He was) a great guy and a true and unique individual.”When most people retire, they relax.Art Field just shifted into another gear as a Trustee on the Kootenay Lake School Board.“Art was a great character on the board,” said fellow Trustee Bob Wright.“His passion for rural education and physical fitness was something else. He fought very hard for full sized gymnasium’s in the district.”That fight put Art Field’s name on the new gymnasium.Art Field served as vice President, Agreements Chair, Teacher Advocate and Variance Chair for the N.D.T.A. and Vice President and President of the West Kootenay Administrator’s Association as well as well as earning the Celebration 1988 medals (Torch Run) and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award.However, what Art Field loved the most was teaching.And his students respected his abilities; not only as an instructor, but a person they could turn to growing up.“Art was very talented athletically and a man with a big personality,” said Salmo grad Enzo DeLaurentiis.“For me he was a mentor and a role model.”“I remember he was our soccer coach. I looked forward to our scrimmage games at the end of our practices . . . we all thought we were soccer gods in our senior years … but it was only a matter of time before coach Field would dribble circles around us with moves that none of us had ever seen. . ..”“He was an amazing man who influenced many students,” DeLaurentiis added.So it goes without saying that Art Field wanted to do something, even after death.His last wish was that his body be donated to UBC.However, sadly the school was unable to accept this donation.Cremation has taken place and a celebration of life will be held in the fall for a Salmo Icon who will be deeply missed by wife Joan, son Morgan of Seattle, daughters Krista (Al the Keeper) of Port Coquitlam, and Megan of Kimberley, four grandchildren, Evan, Cole, Angela, Jacob, dog Clyde and many, many friends he touched during his travels.