Special Olympics British Columbia British Columbia

Meet Athlete Morley Kilgren

21 February 2018

For Morley Kilgren, being a Special Olympics BC  Kimberley/Cranbrook athlete means so much more than just the final score.

As Kilgren approaches his 91st birthday in May, the 5-pin bowler may be SOBC’s oldest athlete, but he says he's still a kid at heart. Whether it’s at his residence at Pioneer Lodge in Cranbrook, or at the local bowling lanes, the one constant with Kilgren is his infectious smile.

Ivy-Lynne Stein, Kilgren’s current 5-pin coach, says her memories of him go back far beyond her coaching days. As a life-long resident in Cranbrook, Stein has known Kilgren since her childhood.

“Morley always had a smile and handshake for anyone,” Stein says. “As a girl guide, we would go there and sing to the residents and Morley always got up to shake all our hands and told us what a good job we did.”

She says anytime she passes Kilgren on the street, he’s quick to share a warm hello.

Stein’s sentiments are shared by Susanne Elliot, the Program Manager at Pioneer Lodge. She says he’s an “amazing individual who has brought so much joy to all those he has encountered.” 

That smile also landed Kirgren the job of playing Santa Claus at Christmas parties, says Stein.

He first signed up with SOBC in its infancy in September of 1984, just four years after it opened its doors in the province. Over the years Kilgren has also tried his hand at softball, running, soccer, basketball, bocce, and badminton.

“Being an athlete is good,” Kilgren says. “It is good exercise and good for my muscles.”

He says competing in athletics has also given him the opportunity to meet people he would otherwise never get the chance to. Whether it’s riding the bus to go bowling with his friend Bob, or he’s just going for a coffee, Kilgren enjoys the benefits and social skills SOBC has brought to his life over the past 33-plus years. He’s also happy to share some friendly advice to anyone considering signing up with SOBC. Just like the smile on his face, it’s wide and deep.

“Make friends,” Kilgren says.

SOBC _ Kimberley/Cranbrook athlete Morley Kilgren

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