Gordon McDonald/Margo and Dorene Thoms Bursary

Gordon McDonald/Margo and Dorene Thoms Bursary

Eligibility Requirements:
*Current active and registered umpires in British Columbia who are attending a recognized post-secondary institution.
*Son or daughter of a registered BC Umpire.
*If the applicant is a currently registered BC Umpire, they must have been registered for the two years preceding the application.
*If the applicant is a minor umpire then they need only be registered in the current year.
*Applicant must have COMPLETED one year of post-secondary school.
*A recipient can only receive the bursary on a one time basis. Unsuccessful applicants are encouraged to reapply when they meet the eligibility criteria.
*Deadline for submission is August 1 of each year.
*Successful applicants will be notified by October 15th each year and are encouraged to attend the Softball BC Awards Banquet to receive their bursary

All registered umpires who are attending a recognized post secondary institute are eligible to apply. Sons and daughters of a registered umpire may also apply for the fund.  Applicants must be currently registered and provide proof that they are attending any form of post-secondary schooling as of October 1st of the year the bursary is to be given. Please include a copy of your most recent post-secondary transcript.


Download the Application:  McDonald-Thoms-Application.


The fund was started in 1981 by Dorene Thoms upon the death of Softball BC Umpire-In-Chief Gordon McDonald. Dorene’s daughter Margo died a year later and her name was added to the fund along with all contributions made on her behalf. The fund started with contributions from friends and colleagues of the two individuals. The major contributor in the early years was the Vancouver Umpire’s Association. Softball BC started contributing one half of all the umpire crest money sold each year. Starting in 1986 $1.00 per registered umpire was contributed to the Scholarship fund. To date the fund has over $30,000 and is administered by the Provincial UIC and Brian Van Os. In 1992 the name of the fund was changed by adding the name of the fund’s founder and long time administrator Dorene Thoms. The move was made to recognize the efforts and dedication Dorene has made to this worthwhile endeavor.

Gordon McDonald was raised in Vancouver near South Memorial Park. He was involved in sports his entire life. His softball career went back to 1938. While in the service he was instrumental in organizing softball. Upon his return to civilian life in 1944, Gordon started coaching Eliers Jeweler’s Basketball Club. His teams went on to win 14 National Championships into the 1950’s. His basketball team attended two Pan American Games winning a silver medal at the first one. Gordon was a top ranked basketball official and worked basketball at the Pan American Games. He was the long time allocator of The Vancouver and District Basketball Officials Association serving that post well into the 1970’s.

Gordon’s greatest love however was Softball. He served as UIC for over 20 years for the Province of British Columbia. He was the long time allocator of the Vancouver Umpire’s Association and was the chief educator in the province, conducting rule clinics around the province. Mr. McDonald had a great feel for officiating. He understood the gray areas of the rule book. His common sense approach to officiating made him one of the top umpires for many years. His rule knowledge was unchallenged. He was always available to answer the “what if’s” of the game, many times taking calls late into the night.

Gordon suffered a heart attack while officiating a game in a recreational women’s league. He was sixty-one years old. He is survived by his wife Edith and four boys.
In 1982 Gordon Cameron McDonald was made a Life Member of Softball BC and in 1995 Gordon’s career was completed with his induction into the Softball BC Hall of Fame.

Margo was the daughter of Dorene Thoms who was a former Softball BC Board Member in the 1970’s and active umpire. Margo played softball in Burnaby in the Y.M.C.A. program as well as with the Burnaby Minor Softball Association (organized by Dorene and Jack Best). Margo played junior ball as a pitcher and was captain of the Kirby Misfits. As a member of the Kirby’s, Margo helped run the Softball BC Lottery for the first two years of its inception. Dorene and Jack Best were the originators of the first lottery program.

Margo volunteered many hours to Softball including the 1977 National Tournament at South Memorial Park. Her entire life was built around the love of softball. She was struck down in her early life while traveling to a softball game in Haney. Dorene and Margo had a close relationship with Gordon and it was that relationship that prompted Dorene to have all donations in lieu of flowers go to the bursary fund.

Dorene was involved with softball at all levels. She umpired for many years and most people will tell you she took no guff. She coached Minor and Senior softball. Her junior team the Kirby Misfits was one of the better junior teams in the late ‘70’s. During the late 1970’s Dorene served as a Board member. She was not afraid to speak up and spent countless hours defending and backing the officials of the Province. Dorene sponsored Major Women’s softball during the early 1980’s through her business Hiker’s. The team was one of the strongest in the country but usually finished second to the Alpha Sport Dynasty.

Since 1982 she nurtured and administrated the Scholarship fund. She was a dedicated lady who ‘told it like it was’ or as Dandy Dan says ‘told it the way she thinks it was’. She received the Hall of Fame Special Recognition award at the 1995 AGM. Shortly after that AGM Dorene was admitted to hospital where she died November 15, 1995 after a lengthy battle with cancer. She is survived by her husband Elmer of forty-eight years, son Mark and daughter Karen.

The fund offers up to three bursaries yearly of $1,000.00 each. All registered umpires who are attending a recognized post-secondary institute are eligible to apply. Sons and daughters of a registered umpire may also apply for the fund.

To date in excess of $25,000 has been paid out to help with the education of individuals from the Softball B.C. umpire community.

Feb 15 - May 1 Application available on line & forms sent to every umpire clinic
Aug 1 Deadline for applications to the Softball BC office
Sept 1 Ballots and other information emailed to voting members
Oct 1 Deadline for responses which go to the Softball BC office
Oct 15 Winners notified and monies mailed to winners

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