Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Bill Orme

Bill and Eden Orme
(courtesy KLBC)
I'm taking today to do something a bit atypical for this blog, specifically to honour my first ever soccer coach, Bill Orme.

When I first began playing "organized" soccer with the Kingston Youth Soccer Association back in the day, I often played at the McCullough Park fields here in Kingston, which was fairly close to home. My best friend and neighbour Mark Staveley was playing and his dad, Howard Staveley, was one of the two coaches, along with a co-worker of his, Bill Orme. Bill's two sons also played for the team, Will and Steve (and even though Steve was a year or two younger than the rest of us, he definitely wasn't out of place on our motley crew).

As is often the case with youth house league teams, most people were played in positions they disliked horribly (I was played as an outside left striker in modern parlance) and there were one or two great players on the team (I was not one of them), Bill and Howard managed to instill a love of the game in me at a young age, something I'm certain that both of them since regretted!

Unfortunately, Howard died in 1996 at the tender age of 52, and Bill has now joined him in the soccer fields in the sky.

Both Bill and Howard were stalwarts in the Nooners soccer game at Queen's University each and every lunch hour, playing whenever they could. Bill began play in the 1980s and lasted through the 90s and into the early 2000s before a chronic hip problem finally forced his retirement. Despite that, he was the picture of health for his entire life and could often be seen walking about the city with his wife of 42 years, Eden.

To my recollection, Bill had a brief flirtation with playing in the Kingston men's league (the predecessor of what eventually became the GKSSA) with the [Insert-Sponsor-Here] Nooners, but always seemed more interested in the recreational side of the game than the competitive fixtures. At the lunch hour game, he was always cheerful, and rarely had an unkind word to say. Of course, a lot of friendly abuse was directed his way, especially when he pulled his marvelous Brazilian back-heels in front of goal... and into the goal. His own goal.

A long-time employee at Queen's, even after he retired in the mid-90s, he returned almost immediately as a contract worker. When he tired of that, he volunteered far and wide, and continued to keep active in sports as a member of the Kingston Lawn Bowling Club with his wife.

In the spring of 2013, Bill was diagnosed with amyloidosis. The disease and/or the treatment caused a major stroke in August. Bill’s recovery from the stroke was remarkable and inspiring but the underlying disease could not be stopped. Despite the struggles, he remained quintessentially Bill. He suffered without complaint and was quick to laugh or smile. You had to know he was sick to know he was sick.

Bill suffered a second stroke some time Monday night, in bed, at home. He was breathing but unresponsive Tuesday morning and mercifully the end was peaceful, painless, and quick.

With his passing, Kingston has lost a valuable member of the community and the Nooners have lost one of those who made the group what it is today.

Bill: I'm glad to have had you as my first coach and one of my inspirations as relates to the game of soccer, and I hope that your reunion with Howard is a good one, full of back-heels and laughter.

With special thanks to Mike Smith of the Nooners for allowing me to use some of his words here as he stated them far better than I ever could.


  1. Bill was also the backbone of our pathetic softball team, the Computer Chips, who, from his catching position, picked off more first- and third-basemen than he did runners. He was also a pretty good hockey player and never without a smile.