M. Spencer Horsburgh
As the Kentville Advertiser reported on the occasion of his death in 1967, "When he was a young man, M.S. Horsburgh may have heard the advice of Horace Greeley, but he certainly did not heed it. Born and brought up in Saskatchewan, he went east rather than west, a decision which can only be regarded as fortunate for the district in which he made his home and lived his life."
Spencer, born in 1904, worked as a farmer and lumber retailer and graduated from Teachers' College before he and his wife, Helen, and their two children, Margaret Elaine and Robert Laurie, moved to Berwick during the Great Depression. Two more children, Herbert Spencer and John Richard, were born later in Berwick.
He quickly became active in business. He was first employed on two farms. He became manager for the Berwick Fruit Company from 1933 to 1946. From 1947 until his death, he was manager of United Woodville Ltd. He was also a director and vice-president of Scotian Gold Cooperative Ltd. He served, too, as president of The Nova Scotia Fruit Growers Association, vice-president of Maritime Cooperative Services Ltd., and president of the Nova Scotia Beekeepers Association.
He also contributed his leadership to community affairs. Among other contributions, he was mayor of Berwick for fifteen years, president of the Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival for seventeen years, and chair of the Board of Commissioners for Kings County Vocational High School.
He was also athletic. In Saskatchewan, he was a starting pitcher for a championship team called the Saskatchewan Sod Busters and, in his forties, he pitched for Berwick in the Halifax District League. He was an active curler throughout his years in Berwick. His son, Robert, remembers the big blue Macintosh coat he used to wear to the rink and he still has his curling hat with the many club pins on it. He also loved fishing, particularly for rainbow and lake trout as well as the brook trout around Berwick. He loved horses, too, having grown up with them. He had a thorough understanding of them and he gained a reputation for expert advice. One athletic activity he did give up soon after moving to Nova Scotia was swimming: having had all of his previous experience in the warm sun-drenched sloughs of Saskatchewan, one dive off the wharf into the water at Harbourville was enough to last him the rest of his life.
Spencer is already a three-time inductee into the Berwick Sports Hall of Fame: he was the manager/coach of the 1936-37 Berwick Bruins Senior Provincial Hockey Champions, the 1943-44 Berwick Bruins Intermediate Maritime Hockey Champions, and the 1944-45 Berwick Bruins Intermediate Provincial Hockey Champions.
He managed/coached many other Berwick Bruins hockey teams between 1934 and 1949, including the 1937-38 Senior Eastern League Champions and the 1945-46 Intermediate Provincial Champions.
He was also an active member of the Berwick Gala Days Committee from 1940 to 1960 as chair and judge of the Horse and Ox Pulling Competitions.
The Berwick Sports Hall of Fame honours M. Spencer Horsburgh for his longstanding dedication to sports in Berwick.
Inducted June 2006