Eric Eaton Coy
Born at Nottingham, England on 17 May 1911, eldest of three sons of Walter Frederick “Dick” Coy (c1888-1960) and Mabel Eaton Coy (1885-1970), he came to Manitoba with his family in 1915 and settled in Charleswood. In 1929, he joined the Manitoba Telephone System as an apprentice installer and, through a 48-year career, retiring from a senior management position in July 1977. During the Second World War, he served in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He spent two years on loan with the Bell Canada System as the supervisor of a Mid Canada Line site at Cranberry Portage.
He dominated Canadian field events from 1935 to 1954. He won his first Canadian championship in the javelin event in 1935. He added championships in the discus and shot put in 1938 and won a gold medal in discus at the 1938 British Empire Games in Australia. He was named Norton H. Crowe amateur athlete of the year in 1938. Coy was also a champion in snowshoe racing. He established Canadian records during the 1948 Olympic trials and represented Canada, in London, as Captain of the Track and Field team. After retiring from competition, he remained active as a coach and official at amateur track and field events. He worked as a local organizer of the 1967 Pan American Games at Winnipeg.
In recognition of his athletic excellence, he was inducted into the Canadian Track and Field Hall of Fame (1963), Canadian Sports Hall of Fame (1971) and Manitoba Sports Halls of Fame (1980). In 1970, an ice arena in Charleswood was named after him. Champion shot putter Garry Bachman credits his interest in the sport to a demonstration by Eric Coy that he saw while attending Lord Selkirk School.
On 28 May 1949, he married Helen Margaret Hindson (?-1995) at All Saints Anglican Church and they had two sons and a daughter.
He died at the Grace Hospital on 28 October 1985 and was buried in the Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens.
“Helen Margaret Hindson bride of Eric Eaton Coy,” Winnipeg Tribune, 30 May 1949, page 13.
Obituary [Walter Frederick Coy], Winnipeg Tribune, 10 February 1960, page 32.
Obituary [Mabel Eaton Coy], Winnipeg Free Press, 28 December 1970, page 28.
“Tribute to 48-year Plant employee and athlete: Eric Coy,” Telephone Echo Retirement Supplement, 19 September 1977.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 31 October 1985, page 60.
Obituary [Helen Margaret Coy], Winnipeg Free Press, 8 February 1995, page 25.
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
Garry Bachman, personal communication, 9 September 2011.
We thank Ric Coy for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 12 November 2023
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