VICTORIA – Lorne Loomer, who founded the University of Victoria’s rowing program in 1965, passed away on Sunday, January 1. He was 79.

Before going into coaching, Loomer was an accomplished athlete, winning gold for Canada at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and silver in Rome in 1960. He also won a gold medal at the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, Wales.

Loomer has since been inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, the BC Sports Hall of Fame, the Olympic Club Canada, the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame and the UBC Sports Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the UVic Sports Hall of Fame in 2002 as part of the inaugural class.

Loomer’s signal contribution to UVic rowing was acknowledged on September 2 at a standing room only ceremony to name the Lorne & Elisabeth Loomer Rowing Room in the new Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities.

Elisabeth, Lorne’s wife, was an enthusiastic supporter of physical education, both as a teacher and as an accomplished yachtswoman. Together, they embraced the responsibility to give back to their community and support the next generation in achieving their dreams.

Lorne was also an accomplished artist whose paintings hang in houses all over Greater Victoria and beyond.