IVY GRANSTROM, CM. 1911 - 2004.
Passed peacefully from this world April 14, 2004.
Ivy Granstrom, Member of the Order of Canada, 1982 Sports B.C. Athlete of the Year, Eugene Reimer award recipient, Inductee into the Terry Fox Hall of Fame and, of course, Queen of the Polar Bears. An exceptional life and a singular figure both in blind sports and Masters track and field. She leaves behind twelve unchallenged world records and many people inspired by her positive outlook, bold competitiveness, beguiling charm and winning smile.
From humble beginnings and serious disability, Ivy never let her lack of sight stand in the way of a full life. The youngest of 7, she started working at age 12 cooking and cleaning for miners in Fernie, B.C. Through WW2, Ivy hid her failing eyesight and trained as a nursing aid working with the Red Cross (that is, until she was found out). In the 50's she worked The White Lunch and the Hotel Vancouver. With her sight steadily fading she turned inexplicably to athletic endeavours... and there she excelled. She became active with the CNIB. She did curling and bowling, mixed with some woodworking and caning. The story might easily end there, but seriously injured in a car accident, doctors gave her the grim news that she would be in and out of a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Ivy muttered some expletive and took to rehab by walking, soon jogging and ultimately running her way into Blind Sports competition.
Then, just around the time she was the subject of a 1979 National Film Board of Canada documentary, Ivy was encouraged to enter and compete against sighted athletes in the Canadian Masters Association. And it was there that she truly excelled. Ivy and her pacer (and constant companion) Paul Hoebrigs lit up the track at competitions around the world. She was cheered and feted across Canada and the United States - South Africa, Australia, Italy, Japan and many more. The awards and accolades fill volumes.
Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother. She was a loving person and a tenacious woman who saw no bounds. She displayed a complete disregard for restrictions, and that made her a hero to many. She will be missed.
Funeral services will be held on Tuesday April 20, 2004 at 10 a.m. from the Chapel of Forest Lawn F.H. 3789 Royal Oak, Burnaby, B.C.