“A super good guy”
Second World War veteran and hall of fame athlete Walt LeMessurier dies at age 95
CORNER BROOK, N.L. — One of Corner Brook’s few remaining Second World War veterans, who always had story to tell and a smile on his face, has died.
Walter Smith LeMessurier died Sept. 12 at the age of 95.
Born in St. John’s in 1924, LeMessurier came to Corner Brook in 1937.
He enlisted in the Royal Air Force at the age of 18 and served as a wireless air gunner during the Second World War. His years of service included many missions in South East Asia.
He was the only person from Newfoundland and Labrador present at the Japanese surrender. His crew was tasked with flying dignitaries from various countries to the signing of the surrender in Rangoon, Burma in August 1945.
When the war ended LeMessurier returned to Corner Brook to raise a family, taking a job as leasing manager with City Motors. He stayed with the car dealership until he retired 26 years later.
LeMessurier lived a full life focused on family, service, sports and the outdoors.
His service would continue long after the war as a member of Branch 13 of the Royal Canadian Legion in the city.
Branch president Derek Hamlyn met LeMessurier 35 years ago and will remember him as a true athlete and a no-nonsense man.
“And a super good guy,,” said Hamlyn. “He was involved in everything that was giving back to the community.”
If there was anything going on at the Legion he stopped by to see if he could help — including working on renovations.
He was also there to mark the important events and to pay honour to comrades past and present, never missing a Remembrance Day ceremony.
Sometimes he’d turn up in unlikely places.
Hamlyn laughs as he recalls a day of moose hunting just outside the city on Lady Slipper Road, when he came up the road to see a guy riding a bicycle.
“And who was it but Walt LeMessurier.”
An avid sportsman, LeMessurier played soccer, baseball, hockey, softball, table tennis, billiards and golf and was inducted into the Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Hall of Fame in November 1988.
A top goal keeper in 1951 and 1952, and a top goal scorer in 1953, LeMessurier was elected to the Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Hall of Fame in 1983. He captained the city’s all-star team to provincial titles in 1952 and 1956. In baseball, he often led the Corner Brook squad at the plate in provincial tournaments, once batting .519 in the city’s senior league.
He was an exceptional hockey player and softball pitcher/shortstop, a western Newfoundland billiards champion, held provincial titles in singles and doubles table tennis and represented Newfoundland and Labrador in national golf tournaments.
He was also an avid runner, cross-country skier and hiker.