Milne a tireless worker and respected leader
Derek Milne, right, is seen with Jim Craig, left, and Malcolm Corfield, centre. Milne passed away last week in his 75th year.
Derek Milne had a passion for soccer.
The former president of the St. Catharines Jets Girls Soccer Club is being remembered as a tireless worker who loved the game and could often be found doing just about any task imaginable at the club.
Milne passed away last week in his 75th year.
“He was active right to the end,” former Jets coach Jim Craig said. “He was every day down at the club cutting the grass or tinkering or putting the lines in. No job was too big or too small for Derek. He cared for every part of that club.
“He did everything down there. It didn’t matter if it was house league or a national championship, he was just as dedicated to the mini soccer compared to the Jets who were going to the national championship.”
Milne joined the Jets in the mid-1980s as a parent before becoming a coach. He became more involved as a director over the years through the 1990s until becoming president.
“As a coach and executive and he had a vision,” said Malcolm Corfield, who worked alongside Milne as the director of coaching. “For 21 years it thrived. It was probably the most successful club that’s every been. We had a fantastic showcase program and helped over 100 kids to get scholarships in the States.
“We attracted kids from all across Ontario to come and play.”
Craig said Milne was a respected leader.
“He was a good leader in terms of being a president, not only a guy who did everything, but he was also a leader in terms of propelling the club forward,” he said. “He had a stern hand but he was also a guy who listened. When a decision had to be made, he never shied away from making a decision.”
Craig also called on Milne to help coach his team.
“He was a great coach. He won everything from regional to national tiles,” Craig said. “He was a great tactician. I asked him for help and it was a great addition. His strength was tactics. You go to Pearson Park any night of the week and you would just see him there watching games.”
When he wasn’t at the club, Milne could often be found watching his beloved Rangers S.C.
“You could find him on a Saturday or Sunday in front of his television watching a match he was interested in and then head out to the club just to see what needed to be done,” Craig said.
Milne, who also had a successful tenure helping coach at Brock, had a personality larger than life.
“Not only was he a workhorse, but everybody loved him,” Craig said. “He had a smile for everybody. His Scottish brogue was liked around the club. Everyone wanted to talk to Derek. He had a great sense of humour and always enjoyed a good laugh. The friends he made through soccer are countless.”
“It hit everybody really hard,” he said. “It was a social thing as well. We met so many great people. People come and go but Derek was there right through to the end.
“Derek will be sadly missed but always remembered, especially by the extended Jets family, players and coaches and executive.”
Milne is survived by wife Patricia and his daughters Fiona Wisniewski, Janis Milne, Melissa Ross, and Carrie (John) Bowman.
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