City sports legend ‘left giant positive footprints’: Mourner

Hundreds of people bid farewell yesterday to one of Ottawa’s sportslegends and a man who, despite his successes, always put his familyfirst.

Hundreds of people bid farewell yesterday to one of Ottawa’s sports legends and a man who, despite his successes, always put his family first.

A former owner of the Ottawa 67’s and the Ottawa Lynx, Howard Darwin also brought cable television to the city and was a boxing promoter, saving the best seats in the house for former prime minister and avid boxing fan John Diefenbaker.

But even with his success, Darwin, who died at age 78 Thursday, never forgot what mattered most — family.

“The thing I admire about Howard is his ability to be in business but to continue to have respect and understanding for his family,” said Claude Bennett, a former politician who eulogized Darwin at the St. John the Apostle Church yesterday.

“It’s remarkable in this day, when you really don’t see that same kind of commitment to both family and business. His kids were his pride and joy and as grandchildren came along and then great-grandchildren, they were just as important. And he wanted to make sure they all had opportunities he didn’t have and experiences he didn’t have.”

Darwin rose up from humble beginnings, said Bennett.

But even with his success, “Howard never changed,” Bennett said. “In all the years I’ve known him, which is getting on close to 50 years, even with all his tremendous success in business, he remained the same fellow.”

His wife, Connie, kept him steadfast, said Bennett.

“She did an outstanding job of giving Howard guidance, direction and support,” he said.

To Darwin’s grandchildren and great grandchildren, Bennett said, “Your grandfather left giant and positive footprints in this city and those who knew him and those who just met him had tremendous respect for him. It was that warm smile, that twinkle in the eye, the frankness and sincerity of the decisions that he made and followed through with.”

Darwin created places for people in the city, said Father Thomas Riopelle. “Howard lived life to the fullest and never once opted out of it,” he said.

 
 
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