Remembering Randy Echlin

He was as passionate about baseball as he was about justice.

That’s a good way to remember Ontario Superior Court judge Randy Echlin, who passed away on Friday after a courageous battle with cancer at age 60.

Despite several conversations with Randy over the past decade, it wasn’t until about five years ago that I realized I was speaking to a judge. The modest Toronto native never boasted about his more than 30 years as Canada’s foremost authority on employment law.

With some research, I discovered that Randy had been one of Canada’s top employment lawyers with Borden, Ladner, Gervais for 25 years, representing some of the nation’s largest companies in labour disputes. Eight years ago, he became a judge at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and presided over more than 100 employment law cases. Along the way, he also authored seven influential employment law books.

But it’s as a baseball fan that I knew Randy. His knowledge of the game would’ve made him a great sports radio host and his tireless support of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame is one of the key reasons that the institution has survived. Most recently, he served as the chair of the inductee selection committee for the St. Marys, Ont.-based ball shrine.

Despite the lofty position he held in the courtroom, Randy was never above helping out the Hall of Fame with menial tasks, often chauffeuring celebrities back to Toronto after the induction ceremonies. I had the privilege of sitting with Randy and his son, Rob, at Baseball Canada’s annual fundraising banquet in 2009. His passion for baseball was evident at this function, as was his pride for his family. My condolences go out to Randy’s wife, Ann and his children, Rob and Libby.

Randy was also an avid reader of this blog and often encouraged me to keep writing when I was feeling particularly disillusioned. I’ll be forever thankful for his support.

In this sad time, perhaps his family can take some solace in knowing that Randy touched and influenced many lives – including mine – in a profound and positive way, and was highly respected in both Canada’s courtrooms and in the country’s baseball community.

A memorial service will be held for Randy on September 10 at 2 p.m. at the Leaside United Church, 822 Millwood Road in Toronto. Charitable and fully tax deductible donations in Randy’s memory can be made to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, Box 1838, 386 Church Street South, St. Marys, Ontario N4X 1C2. Condolences and memories can be shared online at www.humphreymiles.com

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7 thoughts on “Remembering Randy Echlin

  1. Randy Echlin was one of the nicest and most passionate baseball people I know. He did so much for the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame through his lifetime. Randy asked me to help him this year at the Induction Ceremony because he couldn’t attend. I was honoured to do so.

  2. Randy was an amazing person – he certainly touched my life. As a then-law-reporter, Randy was my go-to guy for information, advice and the most interesting quotes.
    He always had time for my questions, and he always knew what the heck he was talking about no matter how arcane or complicated the legal issue. Better than that, he could always phrase it in words the average non-legal person could understand and relate to.
    A tremendous human being – and a heck of a squash player!
    He will be sorely, sorely missed.

  3. Pingback: Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum » LIFELONG SUPPORTER AND GREAT FRIEND RANDY ECHLIN PASSES AWAY

  4. Randy was a wonderful friend to me but most of all a loyal supporter and friend of Tom. Actually the very first fan letter Tom got was from Randy. I’m so saddened to hear of his passing and my thoughts and prayers go out to Ann, Rob and Libby.

    Shirley Cheek

  5. I knew Randy from the time I was pretty young as my father and I sold sports memorabilia. He was always the nicest man, with kind words and advice for young man who wanted to be a lawyer. I was really sad last week when I learned of Randy’s passing.

    See I have not really been active in sports collecting or the CBHOF for a while now and I had lost track. Randy happened to come up in conversation and my father told me.

    RIP Sir, you led a great but short life. Robbie was always a great kid and had a fantastic inspiration!

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