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Society Mourns Passing of Two Legends
Providence, RI (10/1/2015): The Rhode Island Reds Heritage Society is mourning the passing of two of its legends, goaltender Gil Mayer and business manager Eddie Ellsworth, both on September 29, 2015.
Mayer, 86, entered heaven peacefully while holding the hands of his wife Marielle and his son Andre. He leaves two adult grandchildren, Chris and Danielle, and Andre’s fiancée, Reba Golden.
Mayer was born on August 24, 1929, in Ottawa, Ontario, and went on to become one of the greatest goaltenders in the AHL during the 1950s and 1960s. He also played for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
During his 14-year career in the AHL he won 346 regular season games and another 37 in playoff action. Forty-one (41) of his victories were shutouts. Nicknamed "The Needle" because of his 5-foot-6-inch stature, Mayer backstopped the Pittsburgh Hornets to Calder Cup championships in 1952 and 1955. Five times in a six-year span, Mayer captured the Hap Holmes Award, presented to the goaltender with the best goals-against average.
After his 7-year tenure in Pittsburgh, Mayer played seven more, with Hershey (3) and Cleveland (2), then finishing off with two years with the Reds. He was elected five times to AHL all-star teams, three first-team nods and two second-team berths. After sharing goaltending duties with a young Eddie Giacomin in the 1962-63 season, Mayer decided to put away his goal pads forever. Few know, though, that he finished that final season with a 2.91 goals-against average in 34 games played, nearly matching his 2.93 career record of 14 years.
Mayer was 2010-2011 recipient of the Heritage Society's Tops Award, the organization's highest honor.
At his request there will not be a wake. The funeral will be held on Wednesday October 7th at St. Jude’s Church, 301 Front Street, in Lincoln at 10A.M. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the RI Reds Heritage Society or Home and Hospice Care of RI.
Eddie Ellsworth, 96, who also died on Sept. 29, was business manager and comptroller of the Reds for 31 years under two ownerships, the Louis A. R. Pieri family and George Sage.
While at the old R. I. Auditorium and later at the Providence Civic Center, Ellsworth was involved in virtually every aspect of arena events. Besides hockey, he also served in business management for basketball, boxing, stage shows, ice shows and circuses.
After his retirement, he remained extremely active in community service as treasurer of the Masonic St. John's Lodge in Providence, which provides funds to qualified, needy organizations and individuals. He was very active in the Masonic Fraternity belonging to St. Johns Lodge No. 1, Providence and many other Masonic Bodies.
Ellsworth was a 2002-2003 recipient of the Tops Award.
Ellsworth was the beloved husband of the late Grace M. (Austin) Ellsworth.
Born in Norwich, Conn., a son of the late George M. and Gladys I. (Chapman) Ellsworth, he was a graduate of Norwich Free Academy and Bryant College. He served in the United States Army during WWII.
He is survived by his beloved sister Marie E. Noyes and her husband Charles of Bozrah, CT; three children: Carol J. Violet (husband the late William) of Barrington, Marian L. Revere (husband Robert) of Flora Vista, NM and Edward F. Ellsworth Jr. of Manchester, NH; and nine grandchildren and several great grandchildren. He was the brother of the late George C. Ellsworth and Louise Jacobson and grandfather of the late Robert Revere.
A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, October 4, at Barrington Baptist Church, 25 Old County Road, Barrington. Burial with military honors in the Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Exeter will be private. Visiting hours are respectfully omitted. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to Barrington Baptist Church. Remembrances may be shared at carpenterjenks.com.
For further information call 401-230-5905 or e-mail RIREDS15@gmail.com.