Parkland baseball has lost a legend and the entire community has lost a great man, one that worried about others before himself.
Victor Fron passed away last weekend although a cause has not been provided. Fron has been front and centre in Parkland baseball for more than three decades. A Level 3 umpire, Fron was behind the plate for every level locally from minor ball to senior ball.
Bob Alm had the opportunity to work alongside Victor for many years.
"When I became an umpire about 15 years ago, he mentored me and helped me through," said Alm. "He was very knowledgeable. He was a fantastic human being, he will surely be missed."
There weren't many days during the summer months that Victor wasn't down at the ballfield. Even if he wasn't behind the plate or on the baselines, Victor loved the game so he would just watch some of the Parkland's best talent.
Victor also wasn't only seen as an umpire, he was seen as a mentor. He helped young umpires learn the ropes and in most cases, he formed them into the umpires they are today and there's no better story than Carter Williamson.
A big fan of baseball himself, Carter wanted to become an umpire as a young man, and Victor took him under his wing. He wasn't able to do it last year as Fron was already feeling ill; however, two seasons ago, Fron and Carter became very close. Victor helped Carter so much that he was named the Youth Umpire of the Year in 2017.
"Vic's impression on Dauphin minor baseball is insane, there is no doubt that he's the reason I'm the umpire I am today," said Williamson.
It was a beautiful summer day where the Brewers senior team was set to play. Carter got the call to ump a senior game for the first time and he was paired with Fron. Carter was extremely nervous and that's understandable, but that wasn't going to keep him off the diamond.
"Victor almost pushed me onto the field, he said we had to do it," continued Williamson. "If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be an ump at the AAA level and I wouldn't have won that award in 2017."
Carter went on to say "it's sad that we lost such a legend, it's truly heartbreaking,”
Rodger Sheldon of Ste. Rose has been a mainstay in the baseball community for decades and he became close friends with Victor because the passion for baseball was so evident for both. Sheldon has been involved in baseball for 34 years and Victor has been a part of all of it.
"Victor was a character; there is no doubt about that. He loved doing what he did, it was one of his main focuses," said Sheldon. "If we were running provincials or even just a tournament, Vic was the guy we would call to get umpires here. He will be greatly missed."
Olivia Sheldon recently attended a Level 4 umpire clinic and Fron was big in her early days as she learned the ropes. When it comes to Don Sheldon, he's been around Victor for as long as he can remember and he's also the head coach for the Dauphin Clippers high school team.
Don remembers when he was playing minor baseball many years ago and Victor was the umpire when Ste. Rose Minor Baseball was just starting.
"He was always very supportive of our high school team and he took on the job of assigning umpires," said Sheldon. "He also did most games himself, prior to last year when his health was failing."
So yes, Fron was as passionate as possible for the game of baseball. Whether it was on the field behind the plate or in the stands, Fron's legacy as an umpire in chief will never be forgotten.
"We have some big shoes to fill and I honestly don't think we'll be able to fill them for quite some time," added Sheldon.
Jodie Romanow has now been the President of Dauphin Minor Ball for about four and a half years. As she waits for this season to hopefully kick-off, she's taking this time to remember what a great man Fron was.
When she became president, Fron offered his services and he assured Jodie that he was always available.
"We were extremely sad to hear the news, it truly is a tough time," said Romanow. "We missed him not being a part of the baseball season last year. We were looking forward to seeing him this year; however, that won't happen and it's tough for everyone involved. He was such a huge resource to our organization, he will be greatly missed."
Front line service:
Victor joined the Dauphin Fire Department in October of 1979 when he was just 23-years-old. 21 years after he joined the force in November of 2000, Fron was presented with the Fire Fighter of the Year award which is voted on by his peers for going above and beyond the call of duty.
In 2007, Fron was named the Fire Chief, a title he held for four years before he retired in February of 2011 due to personal reasons. Fron also spent many years with the Dauphin Ambulance Service. His dedication to front line services lasted more than 31 years.
Fron was also a big reason why Cam Abrey is where he is today. In 2005 and 2006, Victor pushed Abrey to take the fire inspector course as the city was looking for someone to do the annual inspections on daycares and more. That was one of Cam's first steps with the DFD and now, he's the Fire Chief, a position that Fron held for four years. Fron was also the Deputy Fire Chief from 2005-2007.
"It was that push from Fron that turned fire service into a career for me," said Abrey. "He gave so much to everything he loved doing; he was an inspiration to so many and was to myself as well."
Abrey went on to add that Victor will be forever missed and he will never be forgotten.