|Remembering Knowlton Potter|
- By: Dave Minden
(January 9, 1945 – June 22, 2007)
The North Bay Nordic Ski Club has lost one of its key volunteers and one of its most enthusiastic members to cancer at the young age of 62.
From his birthplace in Nova Scotia and following university (Carleton, B.Sc., 1966; several years of Bio. Chem. Research; and Queens, B. Ed.), Knowlton moved to North Bay with his wife Janet (Camsell, of Haileybury, Ontario) in 1973. He taught Science at Chippewa Secondary School until his retirement in 2003.
During those years, Knowlton devoted much time to extracurricular activities that included volleyball (Level 3 certification), outers club, and Nordic skiing. The Potters’ first son, Cam, raced with the Nordic Bay Nordic Junior Racing Team in 1987, followed by Stuart and Eric in 1988. Eric would go on to become a key figure with the North Bay Nordic Team through the mid-1990s and then Lakehead University and the National Team Development Centre.
When Cam entered high school in 1983, Knowlton joined Al Garrett and the coaching staff of the Nordic Ski Team at Chippewa Secondary School. He worked with the team until his retirement in 2003, and even then, he continued to work on a volunteer basis until just last year. Chippewa was a powerhouse in Nordic skiing through the 1990s.
Knowlton plunged himself into the mysteries of Nordic ski racing and obtained Level 2 Officials certification in 1990. He then became part of North Bay Nordic’s race organizing committee and was, perennially, the guy in the big red parka, hunkered down at the finish line in every sort of nasty weather, getting those all-important finish times. North Bay Nordic hosted many significant races through the ensuing years, including OFSAA ’96 and ’97 and a variety of Ontario University (OUA), NOD, and Ontario Cup races. Knowlton also worked on the stadium set-up and timing crews at the 2003 Nationals at Duntroon.
Knowlton served on the North Bay Nordic Board of Directors in 1993, 1994, and 1995 as director in charge of the Junior Racing Team. Whether it was manning fund-raising bingos or traveling with the team to far off races, Knowlton’s efforts were always successful. With former OFSAA champion Nancy Olmsted as coach, many fine skiers benefited from Knowlton’s enthusiastic involvement and organization.
In 2004, Knowlton and Janet were recognized for their many years of volunteer efforts with the North Bay Nordic Ski Club’s (volunteer of the year) Busy Beaver Award.
Knowlton died from inoperable pancreatic cancer on June 22, 2007. He will be missed.
Dave Minden (North Bay Nordic Ski Club – Past President)
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