February 11, 1925 – February 24, 2015
After a courageous “Masters-type” battle with cancer, Herb peacefully passed away on February 24, 2015 with his wife Emilie at his side at the North Shore Hospice. He was a man of many remarkable achievements both in the golf industry he loved so much and many other community endeavours in which he was passionately involved. He was a legend in the former; loved and respected by everyone. Born in Vancouver, over the course of his working career he lived in Trail, Toronto, Hawaii, Vancouver and Vernon and on retirement made his permanent home on Bowen Island, BC. He was predeceased by his mother and father, both of whom served in the Canadian Armed Forces during WWI, by his first wife Dorothy (1997) and son Gordy at age 14. He is survived by sons David (Susan), Alan (Carolyn), daughter Carolyn (Marc); grandchildren Colin, Hilary, Alana and Rachel, his second wife of 16 years Emilie, his Titleist family and legion of friends throughout the golf industry in Canada and the USA.
During WWII Herb joined the R.C.A.F. serving as Navigator with the rank of Pilot Officer. At the conclusion of the war he attended the University of British Columbia, graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. He had a remarkable, distinguished and enviable 48 year career as the exclusive distributor for Titleist, a business (Jim Morrison Ltd.) he purchased from his father-in-law which he grew from a modest annual sales volume to $36+ million by acquiring the exclusive Titleist distribution rights to Fiji, Samoa, Guam, Alaska, Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand and Hawaii, in addition to Canada. Indeed, there was no grass that grew under Herb’s feet! Nearing retirement Acushnet purchased his business in the early 1990’s, however, because of his passion for Titleist, Acushnet and the golf industry in general he continued as an ambassador for the company. Herb was actively involved and instrumental in the development of the Predator Ridge Golf Club and Resort in Vernon, BC, one of Canada’s premiere golf course developments. In addition, he was a partner in St. Andrews East and St. Andrews Valley golf courses in Ontario. In the early 1990’s he became a director of the Bowen Island Golf Club.
There was no mountain Herb, aka the “Lion King” and the “Hawk”, could not conquer. He established a friendship with Sir Edmund Hillary, who he hiked the Himalayas with in the mid 1980’s, up to his early 70’s. In 1994, at age 69, he made an ascent to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. His friendship with Sir Edmund led to his becoming a director of the Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation in 2005 until his passing. In order to balance the demands of his business life and mountain climbing challenges, Herb was a founding member of a unique club, FRED, with a few close friends. FRED is an acronym for French, Red, Exceptional and Dry! That was our Herb. His other spare time activities included a number of 10 and 32 km races on the northern tip of Baffin Island, sailing and serving as president of the Canadian Golf Equipment Manufacturers Association, competitive downhill skiing and in his last few years being a dedicated member of the Little Red Church on Bowen.
His smile, charm and positive attitude were infectious which endeared him to a very wide circle of friends, business associates and admirers. Herb was particularly proud of being made an honourary, lifetime member of the PGA of Canada, along with Arnold Palmer. Before his passing he was made aware the PGA of BC was considering a perpetual annual award in his honour. Determined he was, but none more so than to celebrate his 90th birthday which he did in relatively good form just 13 days before his final putt. As to be expected, in early December 2014 on being advised he only had six months to live he said, “well, I have had a good life and cannot complain”. A small family service is planned at the Little Red Church with a Celebration of Life to follow on March 17th, from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. at the Capilano Golf and Country Club. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the BC Cancer Foundation
(www.bccancerfoundation.com) or the Bowen Island Golf Club (www.bowengolf.com) for the Herb Paterson Memorial. May his soul rest in peace and his tee shots be long and straight on that big course in the sky. “Herb, your foursome is waiting and you will be pleased to know, only Titleist balls are played on that course in Heaven”.