Henry (Harry) Kenneth Vey

Reprinted from The Western Star, May 1, 2007
by Melvyn (Lou) Smith

Dear Editor

In the course of our invidividual lives, influences abound, impacting on every aspect for better or worse. Familiar to us all and as certain as life and death, instinctively we find ourselves attracted too, have lots in common with, love and find comfort in real honest-to-goodness friends.
One of the very best I had the pleasure and experience of enjoying friendship with resulting in a lot of quality time together at a great stage in both our lives, was a guy by the name of Harry Vey.

Unfortunately Harry at just 69, as the result of an inherit heart problem, passed away march 26, 2007,and was laid to rest in his home community of Queen’s Cove, Trinity Bay.

Harry, born in Long Beach, Trinity Bay – at the age of 10 years he moved to Humbermouth, now considered part of Corner Brook, with his parents Eric and Elsie Vey. Mrs. Vey taught school at the elementary St. Mark’s school on Humber Heights. the family also included two older brothers, Warren and Vernon and a younger sister, made their home on Hmber Heights.

Harry, like myself prior to, was enrolled in Corner Brook Public School, until all high school students in 1957 were transferred to the newly constructed Amalgamated Regional High School to complete his final Grade 11 education. As a note of interest, that class this year is planning its 50th reunion for July.

It’s during the 50s and 60s, long ago it now seems, that I buddied around with Harry. At the Public School and amalgamated as well as generally doing what we mostly all did back then, for the most part, before the advent of television and computers, that left me with a thousand and one good time memories.

Harry loved sports, especially as a player. His sportsmanship and abilities, although small in physic, when it came to baseball, hockey and football, whilst rarely in an organized league, but more likely in the “outlaw” category, as baseball coach and sportswriter Mark King dubbed the scap-team play, always made him a first choice as a player, in the field, on the road, on the ice, at the rink or on the pond.
Harry’s favourite hockey team in the then 6-team NHL, was the New York Rangers, a fact quite readily realized with a look at his collections of sports cards, scrapbooks and verbally if need be.

Harry and I grew up together, often playing street hockey under the street light at the Fudge’s Road-Lear’s Road intersection,with the best available to compete against. Also on “Sharpe’s Field” and as well on “The Burn” and on “Penney’s Field”, now designated a less meaningful distinction – as “Murphy’s Square” and long gone from the scene, recognizable where boys spent hours up on top of hours at their favourite pastimes – be it baseball, football and/or good-natured shenanigans.

It’s for guys who touched bases, shovelled off and flooded rinks, ran the short-cuts, traded comic books, and enjoyed in anyway Harry’s company like Cal “Windy Winsor”, Ed “Diesel” Lawrence, Cyril Hayden, Garland Jennings, Cal “Moose” Bugden, Cec Harding, Roy “Johnny” Squires, Lloyd Roberts, Bruce and Merve Rideout, Ed Baldwin, Bren Dicks and brothers, Art Drover and brothers, John Andrews, the Windsors – Alvin and Howard,Jim Whiffen, the Perry boys, Noels, Butlers, Paffords, Leonards, Pierceys, Pat and “Barley” Brake, the Peddles, Smiths, Dougal Warren, Gar Elliott, Dean O’Neil, Jerry Sharp and Jerry Bartletts, and many, many more too numerous to mention.
I can only hope my interest in drawing attention to Harry’s contributions to our lives, for the better no doubt, will revive memories of a good guy for a lot of other guy guys.

Snippets of the past as regards to our school and/or in just “bummin around” made at the swimming pool, at the Humber, Majestic, Regent or Palace, at “Siamons” on West Street, down in Petries courtesy of the bus, at South Brook Park, at “Bobby’s” pool hall, enjoying “knobs” or “Mrs. Piercey’s” chips, the cookies from “Rudolph’s”, the cuts of pie at what in those days we called “the Chinaman’s” and so on, all invovled Harry.
Cherished stages of life, subjects for reminiscence, require for posterity sake being looked back on in each and everyone’s own way, connecting with the life and times we enjoyed with a mutual friend.

Harry’s working life first involved a stint employed as a stockroom clerk at the then infant Humber Motors vehicle dealership on Mount Bernard Avenue. after that he was employed in Grand Falls, finally finishing up his income career at the Come by Chance oil refinery, from where health problems forced his early retirement. Harry loved his family and friends … and especially in later years, percious time with his two grandchildren. He was a lover of the outdoors, a character trait new to me, but I understand when we were less connected, he spent many hours cutting, hauling and sawing logs into lumber on his own home sawmill.

Such demanding physical pursuits, he told me himself last fall, he continued as long as he could, having to give up with no real choice. Realizing no way space will allow me inthis medium to note all the things, I realized with, know and have heard, talk of with respect to Harry’s life-time, I’ll conclude with a few quotes from Harry’s first cousin Lester Vey’s letter to me. I considered it to be the best description of him:
“Harry was a small man with a big presence – everyone seemed to know when he was present.”

Finally let me say that my friend Harry, in the great ball game of life, can’t be considered ever having been rained out. He not only talked a good game throughout, he always played on … and likely continues.

For Harry Vey, my friend.

Melvyn (Lou) Smith lives in Christopher’s Cove, Summerside, Bay of Islands and is a member of the Western Star’s Community Editorial Board.