Well-known fastball player Eli Soukeroff passed away last week at the age of 57.
“He was a Winlaw boy,” said friend Kevin Sutherland by telephone on Tuesday. “We’re the same age; my birthday is June 29 and his is July 29. We started the first day of grade 1 together. You don’t have that many friends who last that long.”
Sutherland said he and Soukeroff played ball with and against each other for 45 years; from the time they were nine years old until they both retired at 55.
They played in the Nelson senior men’s fastball league for one year — on different teams as they were both pitchers — before forming the Valley Combines the following year, which became one of the better Senior B teams in the area.
Sutherland said it was about three years ago that he last took to the field with his friend, and said that In fastball circles, Soukeroff was well known throughout Western Canada.
Sutherland said Soukeroff, who worked in the logging industry as a loader-operator with Slocan Forest Products for most of his life, was as reliable on the job as he was on the ball field.
“He was so dependable; trucks didn’t show up and wonder where he was… he was there on time,” said Sutherland.
Soukeroff passed away at the Kootenay Lake Hospital in Nelson, BC, on Thursday, April 4, 2013. Funeral Services will be held at the Winlaw Community Hall on Thursday, April 11, 2013 from 10 a.m. until noon, followed by interment in the Perry’s Siding Cemetery.
Soukeroff is survived by his wife Gail, two daughters, four grandchildren, brothers, sisters and many other family members.