George Tiessen, 84, stands in front of the ball diamond that will be renamed in his honour at Centennial Park in Central Saanich on Friday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Kevin Menz/News Staff)

Cental Saanich ball diamond to be renamed after longtime volunteer

George Tiessen’s name to grace field across from diamond named after best friend

One of George Tiessen’s favourite memories of the late Peter Parsons starts on the ball diamond, before one of the many little league games the pair umpired together.

Parsons brought with him two pairs of gag Coke-bottle glasses, and he and Tiessen decided to prank the coaches at home plate.

“You can barely see through them,” Tiessen, 84, recalled. “He says, ‘Let’s put these on when we go out and get the lineups… [and meet] with the coaches at home plate.’”

The coaches — likely worried the umpires were nearly blind — didn’t know how to react.

“They were looking at us — I think — I couldn’t see — kind of strangely, and then we took the lineup cards. We were looking at them. Peter would go over to one of the coaches: ‘What’s that name there?’” Tiessen laughed.

Tiessen, who hung up his umpire’s gear many years ago, and Parsons, who died in 2007 at the age of 61, were inseparable. Tiessen’s wife, Ruthe Tiessen, recalled the two riding her husband’s motorcycle together to games, with the six-foot-four Parsons sitting on the back, holding his gear.

The two best friends and neighbours spent more than two decades together volunteering with the Central Saanich Little League, and, now, thanks to a request to the municipality’s council, their days of watching over games as a pair are no longer over — at least symbolically.

Last month, Central Saanich council approved a request from the league to rename Centennial Park’s Ball Diamond #2 — the one across from Peter Parsons Diamond — after Tiessen.

“I think it’s quite an honour,” said Tiessen, who was informed of the little league’s request about a week after council’s approval. “I didn’t expect something like that.”

Tiessen volunteered with the league for more than 25 years, starting alongside Parsons in the late ’70s when their sons started playing T-ball. He coached and umpired, serving at times as chief umpire and assistant chief umpire, and even re-designed the league’s logo, which is still used. He also, alongside Parsons, founded umpiring clinics for the league’s minors and majors divisions.

League president, Morley Wittman, said the decision to request naming the park after Tiessen was an easy one.

“We’re trying to encourage good role models and raise good citizens…. That’s really our main goal,” Wittman said. “George is a prime candidate for that type of role model that we’re looking for.”

Choosing the diamond across from Peter Parsons Diamond also seemed fitting.

“Both George and Peter Parsons were kind of a tag team for years, back in the ’90s and 2000s,” he said. “Both those guys would then be at the park… kind of overlooking the park, if that makes sense.”

Ruthe, Tiessen’s wife, said she shares the sentiment.

“I think that’s really touching. It’s going to be neat to have the two parks named after these guys,” she said.

The league plans to officially rename the field after Tiessen when next year’s season opens in April.

READ ALSO: Hampton doubles as Little League Canadian champions

READ ALSO: Central Saanich Little League ready to build new training facility


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Athletes gear up for Pan Am XC Cup at Bear Mountain Saturday

This is the first time Canada is hosting the championships

Petition aims to stop handyDART facility from being built in View Royal

‘Save Craigflower Creek’ has gathered over 1,000 signatures within a week

Coast Capital Savings in Saanich to re-open after COVID-19 scare

The branch closed ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Court hears of moments before Victoria father stabbed to death in the middle of Hillside Avenue

Sentencing hearing for Daniel Creagh, charged with manslaughter, began Friday

Saanich launches new tool to help residents learn about the budget

Tool launch will coincide with the Mar. 3 budget meeting

Toddler killed in Squamish grocery store parking lot

Child’s mother taken to hospital but her condition is not known

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

B.C. mother, daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Bald eagle hit by train in northern B.C. has a chance of survival

The raptor has been taken to OWL in the Lower Mainland for recovery

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Stories of sexual assault at B.C. tree planting camps ‘shocking but not surprising:’ advocate

Contractors’ association is working with trainers to create respectful culture

Most Read