A long-time supporter, patron, and honorary Life Member of the Capilano Rugby Club, Alan Codyre, died this past week, on October 22 at the age of 91. He had been in Burnaby General Hospital for about 4 weeks, and had hoped to go home soon. Unfortunately that was not to be. At this time there are no known plans for a celebration of life but he will be recognized during the November 17 home game.
Alan was born and grew up in Wellington, New Zealand, immigrating to Vancouver after the Second World War. Initially he was involved with a now long-defunct west-side rugby club, Vindex, before playing with the North Shore All Blacks in the 1950’s. Many long-lasting friendships with those North Van teammates, such as Ozzie Gjerdalen, Jimmy Morris, Alex Mahood, Bucky Ellison, and Greig Bjarnason, to name a few, began at that time.
A busy and successful construction/development business kept him away from rugby for some years, but after the creation of the Capilanos Alan re-emerged as a vociferous supporter in the 1970’s, regaling all who would listen, or were trapped against the bar, with clubhouse tales of the early days of rugby. He had an incredible memory and would reel off long-forgotten player names and game highlights from decades before. As Kevin Davies, a fellow alumnus of Wellington Technical College, remembers, Al could even list off all of his teacher’s names and nicknames including his favorite “Creeping Jesus”.
When long-time club trainer, Jim Morris, died Alan and Ozzie spearheaded a fund-raising campaign to create a legacy scholarship in Jimmy’s name that has been continually awarded since the 1997-98 season to Capilano post-secondary students. Little known is that a substantial amount of that fund-raising came from Alan himself. Following Ozzie’s death Alan made sure that the name of the award was changed to the Morris/Gjerdalen Scholarship.
The formation of a more formal Capilano Alumni Association in 2003 brought Alan into a more involved role in the club, and for many years he was the driving force in running an annual Calcutta fund-raiser, selling the bulk of the tickets, many surreptitiously to his Burnaby cohorts who supported various community charities. Money raised through that event became a prime source for Alumni funding of the New Zealand “Stormy” Exchange Program and other player-development activities.
Alan and his wife Marilyn were also keen supporters of the Capilano Women’s Program, regularly providing behind-the-scenes funding where needed. They also promoted creating a Women’s MVP award beginning in the 2004-05 season and donated the trophy, but in typical understated fashion would not allow the Codyre name to grace the award.
In the past couple of years, since Marilyn’s death, Alan stepped away from club activities, transferring administration of the Morris/Gjerdalen funds to the Alumni Association for it to carry on. While recent contact with him had been scarce, we know that he would have carried on in his Burnaby connections such as daily visits to Cafe Classico on East Hastings and continuing his quiet philanthropic contributions to community charities in Burnaby; he was also a regular donor to the program for training guide dogs in BC.
Although wanting to be mostly a behind-the-scenes person, Alan could also occasionally act out larger than life. He had some flaws, including the ability to be very obstinate and his over-the-top gushing about the merits of rugby league. Neither did you necessarily want to ever get on his wrong side, but what we remember most is his extreme generosity toward his friends and the causes near and dear to him. We will probably not see his like again; that is our loss.
Contributed by: Denny Maynard, Kevin Davies & Iain Sellars