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Ian Dore – from sportsman to funeral director

BY ANGELA PIDDUCK Sunday, March 28 2010

click on pic to zoom in
Ian
Ian "Chala" Dore...

At age 61, Ian “Chala” Dore, has made an amazing change in profession, from sports therapist/trainer to Funeral Director.

Dore’s sporting career started in the Belmont River.

“Good Friday in the river was a big thing with my father, Carl E Dore, himself a sports fanatic, organising jockey races with shaved pieces of wood, sandpapered and smoothed down with candle so it could cut the water, pitching marbles, and even playing snooker on the ground, digging pockets in the earth to putt in,” Dore told Sunday Newsday.

A lot of sporting people came out of Darceuil Lane, Belmont – former West Indies cricketers Bryan and Charlie Davis, the Hill sisters, the Thompson brothers, four of whom became airline captains, my brother Gary and I. We learned everything in the river, cricket, football, my father even tried hockey there too.”

Dore played football and cricket for Belmont Intermediate School and obtained, through Father Gerry Pantin, a sports scholarship to St Mary’s College, where he played cricket, football and hockey at Intercol level. Leaving school, he coached the St Mary’s under 16 football team.

“I was just 21,” he says, “and Father De Four put me in charge as coach and medic.”

While working in the corporate world, he played football and hockey for Queen’s Park’s first XI. The sports enthusiast migrated to Washington DC and completed two years study in Physical Education and the Prevention and Care of Sports Injuries, at Baltimore College.

“This was basically the turning point in my life in dealing with sports injuries, as I sustained an injury while playing for the college, and liked their methods of assessment and rehab treatment,” he says.

After six years, Dore returned to Trinidad and became part of the technical staff for the national football senior team and women’s national hockey team. He was appointed a member of the national technical team for the entire contingent at the Pan Am Games in Mexico in 1975, and thereafter for many other international tournaments both at home and abroad. Dore, an inaugural member of the Trinidad and Tobago Sports Medicine Association, still works with Queen’s Park and Mucurapo Senior Comprehensive football teams.

In the meantime he married national hockey player and Marionettes assistant musical director Susan (nee David), and they have daughters Melissa and Rebekah.Dore was employed in marketing with Canning’s Coca Cola (Neal and Massy Group) for about 13 years, when he went on a visit to the head office plant in Atlanta, more than 20 years ago, and one day saw a sign which read “Gupton Jones Mortuary Science School – tomorrow Friday Orientation Day.” He said to longtime friend Jerry Gellineau, “Tomorrow take me to this school, drop me there in the morning and just leave me there for the entire day. I want to learn everything about funerals.” Jerry’s reply was, “You mad or what?”

His interest in the funeral business went back to age 15 “when I saw my mother lying dead on the bed and wished I knew how to do CPR, which I eventually learned about in the States, and I still want to believe that if I knew about it I may have been able to save her then. I feel strongly that children in schools should be taught CPR and other life saving skills, because if somebody drowns at the beach you have to know what to do.”

Dore remembers his orientation day “as if it were yesterday. I was one of the first to register very early the next day. Jerry asked, ‘you sure you want to stay here boy, they are closing 6 pm’. I said come back for me at that time. I was so taken up and enthused about it all, embalming, how to make funeral arrangements, they showed you everything, that I was possibly the last to leave.” Having known Clark and Battoo’s Sean Jodhan from St Mary’s, Dore did speak to him around that time but says “I wasn’t ready yet” so he continued working for over 25 years with junior and senior football national teams, and with Joe Public senior and junior teams in the Professional League for over ten years.

In 2008, two family deaths were the catalyst which galvanised Dore into the funeral business. His youngest brother, Lindsay, died suddenly in New York in March and it fell to him to go to the USA and arrange the funeral, returning with the ashes. Then his father followed in December of the same year.

“I had kept in touch with Jodhan, who suddenly called last year Labour Day while I was in New York doing football business and asked if I could start with Clark and Battoo the following Monday.

“I was ready now and nobody forced me into it. This was the time, so I bought some funeral clothes in New York and Labour Day week-end notwithstanding, flew back to start on Monday September 7, 2009.” Since then Dore went to Maryland to arrange another family funeral, that of his sister-in-law, Simone David Deane, on November 3 2009.

As a funeral director, you are not a company director, but co-ordinate all arrangements, and says Dore, who is totally enjoying the field, “I have done a little bit of everything. I go into the hospital and remove the body. Removals give you a sense of belonging and you learn how to handle the families as for every loss you need to use a different method.”

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