David Folinsbee , St. Albert Jean (Waring) Folinsbee
David and Jean Folinsbee have both been active in the sport of badminton in Alberta since the late 1940s. David has been the most influential and important person in Canadian and Alberta badminton history. Jean was an incredible athlete who's playing career spanned 50 years. In 1988, they made the decision to build their own badminton club in St. Albert. The Red Willow Badminton Club is still operating at full steam today under their management, leadership, and coaching duties.
David Folinsbee was a true pioneer for the growth of badminton in Alberta and across the country. He started as a professional in Montreal, and then in 1949, at the age of eighteen, he moved west to work at the Glencoe Club in Calgary. David pioneered organized badminton at the club level, as playing time had been unstructured. He also initiated many events across the country, including the Canadian Open Championships. His coaching methods were innovative and included bringing international players to Canada for competitive and exhibition matches against his athletes. He also brought international players to help coach at the Glencoe Club in Calgary. His players were some of the first Canadians to achieve international badminton success, and Jamie Paulson was the first Canadian to win a world championship.
David was one of the biggest contributors to the National Coaching Certification Program and spent 10 years as the CEO of the Canadian Badminton Association. For ten more years, he was CEO of the Alberta Badminton Association and continued to promote the sport and teach coaches and players of all levels in Alberta.
In 1955, Jean (Waring) Folinsbee was competing at the Canadian Badminton Championships. While there, she became the first badminton player to capture both the Junior and Senior crowns. As a 17-year-old, she was also the first junior to win the senior event.
Jean's resume includes multiple city, provincial, Canadian, and World titles. She "was an incredible athlete, but she was also a smart player - picking apart her opponents and running them ragged with a mixture of strength and skill." During her career "she won often and she always did it with grace."
She started her remarkable 50 year competitive career by winning the 1952 Calgary Junior Ladies title. In 1956, she reached the quarter finals of the All England Badminton Championships. Jean returned to competition in 1986 and won her first of five Masters singles titles. At the World Masters Games, she won two singles championships; the first in 1989 and then again in 2005 in the 65+ category, where she also captured the Doubles title.
Jean received a Calgary Booster Club award in 1966 and was named Alberta's Female athlete of the year in 1967. Jean received Badminton Alberta's award in 1988 for outstanding contribution to the sport of badminton.
David Folinsbee lived his passion for Badminton his whole life. From the time he and Jean built the Red Willow Badminton Club in St. Albert in the 1980s, they resided and worked at the club. David passed away July 1, 2016. In his honour, the David Folinsbee Memorial Tournament was created. The first Memorial tournament consisted of mixed, men’s and women’s doubles formats and took place at the Red Willow Badminton Club November 3rd to 5th, 2017. Jean co-managed the club after David’s passing. Jean, along with the club’s members, celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the Red Willow Club in 2018. It remains her passion, her mission, and her home.