Rugby Community Saddened By The Passing Of Greg Ashe

Loyal Rugby Canada supporter Greg Ashe passed away Sunday at the age of 55.

Born in Ottawa, Ashe would find love in the sport of rugby and in particular for the Ottawa Irish.

“Greg Ashe died far too young,” said Rugby Canada chairman Tim Powers. “He was a fantastic fellow who represented all the best characteristics of rugby – loyalty, passion and generosity of spirit. On behalf of Rugby Canada we send heart felt condolences to Greg’s family. He was an exceptional man.”

Ashe also suited up for Eastern Ontario as well as provincially for Ontario and was also a triallist for Canada. In the 80’s he spent a year in Ireland with Old Belvedere with his preferred playing position at either lock or No. 8.

“He along with the late Bill Foster were an absolute force in the pack for the Irish and their commitment to the ruck was a pleasure to behold but not so much for their opponents,” said former Canadian international Al Charron.

A lifelong fan of rugby, Ashe spent countless hours involved in the sport whether it be through coaching or fundraising, in particular for the National Player Support Program (NPSP), where he himself donated and encouraged others to do so too.

“His friends and family members glow about him as he was an inspirational person with a real zest for life,” Charron said. “He was a huge mentor, leader and friend to so many and influence on them in their career and life choices.

“He believed in people, saw the good in people and made people feel good about themselves in how he treated and deeply cared about them and their families.

As much as he was passionate about rugby, he was like that with his family. He loved his family dearly and bragged about them all the time.”

Ashe attended Hillcrest High School, as did Charron, and built a career in retail business that took him to Calgary in 1999 where he found affection in golf, skiing and the Rockies. For the past seventeen years, he had worked for Unilever. He previously worked for Steinberg’s and Hershey’s.

“I will miss his silly smile but I will miss most of all his friendship and what a friend he was to me and so many,” Charron said. “Rest in Peace big man. You can pack down with Big Billy Foster, Stormin’ Normin’, Jerry Animal Viet and fling the ball out to John JC Cannon in what is an impressive rugby roster being assembled in heaven this year by the real BIG Man.

“Greg and these men were taken all too soon but they were all impressive rugby players but more importantly good men. Here is hoping that roster is now complete. I do not envy the team that has to actually play them! If you hear rumblings in the sky this weekend it might well be a rugby fixture taking place and Greg will be there afterwards with a permanent smile and a cold frosty pint on offer to congratulate you on a match well played!”

Ashe is survived by his wife Faye as well as children Kyle, Melinda and Christopher. His funeral will be held Friday, Oct. 7, at 2pm local time in Calgary’s McInnis & Holloway (Chapel of the Bells, 2720 Centre Street North). In lieu of flowers, memorial tributes may be made directly to Rugby Canada. In living memory of Greg Ashe, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park.

To donate to Rugby Canada’s National Player Support Program, please click here.

With files from Matt Tidcombe, Rugby Canada Communications