Fred ‘Whitey’ Severson’s jersey was the first Victoria Shamrocks jersey to ever be retired. The 91-year-old died Monday. (Facebook/Victoria Shamrocks)

Shamrocks legend ‘Whitey’ Severson dies at 91

Lacrosse legend was one half of ‘the Gold Dust Twins’

Beloved Shamrocks alum Fred ‘Whitey’ Severson is being remembered for both his lacrosse legacy and infectious smile. Severson, 91, died on Jan. 27.

Severson set records for the Victoria team from 1951 to 1963, accumulating 869 points in a Shamrocks jersey and 1,202 in total throughout his lacrosse career.

Before he came to Victoria, he and famed teammate Archie Browning played for the New Westminster Adanacs, helping to earn the team the 1947 Mann Cup title. Both light-haired, the athletes played box lacrosse at a time before helmets, earning themselves the nickname the ‘Gold Dust Twins.’

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Both players joined the then brand new Victoria Shamrocks in 1951 and shared the Western scoring title in 1952. Severson was the solo scoring champion the year after.

Severson played in six Mann Cups and took home three wins. The Victoria Shamrocks Alumni group say Severson is one of few to participate in the Cup as a player, a coach and a referee.

Archie Browning (left) and Fred ‘Whitey’ Severson were known as the Gold Dust Twins for their fair hair and lacrosse skills. The pair played together for the New Westminster Adanacs before joining the Victoria Shamrocks in 1951. (Photo Courtesy of Walt Christianson)

Walt Christianson, Shamrocks Alumni president, knew Severson well, but never got the chance to see him play. Still, he often heard of Whitey’s legendary skills.

“Whitey was known for his passing and play-making and his scoring,” Christianson said. “The Shamrocks have only retired three jerseys and the first one was Whitey’s: No. 8.”

But the ‘golden twin’ was loved for more than his athleticism. Christianson remembers him as a “wonderful person” who would walk in the room with a smile, taking the time to talk to everyone there.

“Everyone was very fond of Whitey and talked about his smile and what a great person he was,” Christianson said. “He was very friendly and very social, very kind and loved by everyone.”

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Severon became an Honoured Member of the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1970 and was inducted in to the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.

The Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame calls Severson’s accomplishments on the floor “legendary” adding that after 80 years of organized lacrosse in Canada, only 10 other athletes have played more than his 540 games.

Severson earned a spot as a Saanich councillor in the ’70s and worked for the Victoria Fire Department until 1985, when he retired from his position as deputy chief.

Severson is pre-deceased by his wife Betty-May Severson, who died in 2018.

Victoria Shamrocks legend Fred ‘Whitey’ Severson has passed away at age 91.(Photo Courtesy of Walt Christianson)



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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