“Dedicated, popular and loving” is how those close to Keith Marshall have described the sportsman after he died while out rowing with his children.
The super-fit 46-year-old had a suspected heart attack in South Bay.
Scarborough Rowing Club members desperately tried to resuscitate him before he was rushed to hospital, but the father-of-two died on arrival.
As Facebook tributes continue to flood in for a “true gentleman,” his family have spoken of their heartbreak of losing him. “He was a brilliant dad,” said 18-year-old son Joe, whom he coached, alongside dozens of rugby-mad youngsters as they made their way up Scarborough Rugby Club’s ranks.
“My dad loved a laugh, but as soon as he stepped on the pitch he was nothing but serious. But all the tributes since he died have been overwhelming.
“I don’t think he realised just how much of an effect he had on people’s lives.”
That effect was felt on the rugby pitch, coaching at Silver Royd and at Newby School.
But it was also felt off the field, in both business as a managing director – and as a friend to hundreds.
“He was a total gent,” said Mike Wingrove, who helped to coach alongside Keith after he brought his son to training seven years ago.
“We were his lackeys, his shifters and his gofers – but the strength of his character to take those boys along was incredible. He didn’t differentiate between anyone, and saw the good in everyone.
“He had an uncanny knack of taking them forwards, and he’s going to be a big loss, without a doubt.”
The tragedy unfolded while out at sea on Bank Holiday Monday with Joe and his daughter Annie.
The experienced rower suffered chest pains and the RNLI were called, while friends frantically offered assistance. But tragically it proved in vain.
Scarborough Coroner’s Office is aware of the death, and an inquest is now expected to be held for Mr Marshall, who lived in Holme-on-Spalding Moor but was a stalwart of both the rowing and rugby clubs.
The rugby club issued a statement through Facebook about the club’s transition officer, paying tribute to a man it says played a “huge part” in club life, travelling hundreds of miles every week to help youngsters.
“He was an inspiration to dozens of young players for years and his loss will be felt by all connected with both the rugby club and rowing club,” read the statement.
“Our heartfelt condolences and prayers are with Keith’s family and especially his two children, Joe and Annie, who must be experiencing unbearable pain at this devastating time.
“We will remember him for the dedication and commitment he gave so freely to helping others progress in their lives through the team spirit and comradeship playing rugby can bring.
“God bless you Keith.”