EDMONTON - Pauline Ingall travelled the world as a nationally ranked badminton player and referee, inspiring generations of young Edmonton players as a coach and cheerleader.
She dedicated her life to volunteer work, helped to found Edmonton's Royal Glenora Club and served on countless boards for hospitals, charities and racket sports.
Mrs. Ingall died of natural causes on Wednesday at the age of 89.
"She had this way of taking an interest in every kid, and so generation after generation of young athletes in Edmonton and across Alberta considered Pauline and her husband to be surrogate parents and a cheering section -- and I was one of those," longtime family friend Keith Spencer said Saturday.
"They were the heroes of all of us young kids," Spencer said. "There are a million Pauline stories. You just mention her name and somebody starts off. ... She was quite the character."
Born June 22, 1919 in Moose Jaw, Sask., Mrs. Ingall was raised playing badminton with her two brothers. As a young woman, she married meteorologist Alf Ingall, and together they immersed themselves in badminton and tennis, after moving to Edmonton following the Second World War.
They had no children of their own, but gave their time to generations of kids who played the racket sports they loved.
In 2000, Mrs. Ingall's devotion to her volunteer work earned her a place in the Edmonton Sport Hall of Fame.
In addition to founding the Royal Glenora Club, she served as director of Alberta Badminton for 17 years and became the first female president of the Canadian Badminton Association and a Canadian representative to the International Badminton Federation.
She officiated at the World University and Commonwealth games, and travelled as far as Indonesia, Japan and Sweden.
In her youth, she played competitively and won many city, provincial and western Canadian titles.
"When she was actively playing, she was a very good badminton and tennis player," Royal Glenora pro Michael Chan said. Chan met Mrs. Ingall in the late '70s when Chan was the coach of the Malaysian national badminton team. She helped Chan land the job as head pro at the Royal Glenora.
"When she retired from playing, she became a referee for tennis, as well as badminton," Chan said. "She had the rules and laws of badminton at her fingertips ... and she liked to have a hand in everything that was going on."
She also served as a member of the women's auxiliaries at Royal Alexandra and Alberta hospitals, and served on the board of the Canadian Cancer Society. In her later years, she sat on the board of the Association for the Retired and Semi-Retired, now known as the Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton.
Throughout her life, Mrs. Ingall also nurtured a deep love for animals, Spencer said.
Alf died in 1971, but Mrs. Ingall continued to play badminton throughout her 70s. A knee replacement got her back on centre court at age 80, Spencer said. "It is encouraging to think that she might have taken her racket with her and now she's starting up another game," Spencer said.
A memorial service will be held Oct. 16 at 1:30 p.m. at Connelly-McKinley at 10011 - 114 St., followed by a reception at the Royal Glenora from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
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