Don Priebe

In the late '70s and early '80s, Don Priebe was a NGF Field Rep in Ontario, Canada. In fact, I think of him as our New Games "champion" in Ontario and throughout eastern Canada at that time. From his home in North Bay he was a great promoter of New Games. He led play sessions, had his own Earthball, Boffers, and parachute, and organized group trainings through the Foundation.


Bill Healey and I came to Sheridan College in Oakville, ON, to lead a training in 1981 organized by Don. In March 1982, Steve Butler joined Wildo and me for Snowplay '82, a winter New Games training Don arranged at a camp near Huntsville, ON. People came from southern Ontario and the Maritime provinces to learn the games, the philosophy and have a blast in the snow and cold. The northern Ontario weather lived up to its reputation. One highlight was playing Foe and Questors, an outdoor game Steve and others had created. Then there was our impromptu game with a single rule: dash across this snow-covered parking lot and jump into that six-foot high snowbank on the other side. A game everyone "won."


One year in the early '80s, my wife Beth and I were visiting her family in her hometown of Sudbury, and I drove the eighty miles to North Bay to visit Don and his wife, Sue. Don was gregarious, generous and so very welcoming whenever I saw him. Little did I know then that, 25 years later, when Beth and I decided to move closer to her folks in Sudbury that North Bay would become our new home. By that time, Don was a recreation therapist at the regional mental hospital. We both led busy lives, and didn't see a lot of each other, but our paths did cross several times. One time he brought his Earth Ball to help me out with a family play program I was leading at a local church.


I send this message now because just six months ago, Don was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The chemo and radiation treatments failed to slow the disease, and Don passed away on November 7, 2017, at the age of 63. It's been a long time since those Ontario New Games experiences, but I'll always cherish these memories and Don's playful, adventurous spirit.


Thanks to Tom Zink for sharing these memories



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Date Website Was Last Updated: July 2, 2019