Rowing — and all things related to the sport — is Ed Corr’s passion.

Ed, owner of Corr Distributors in Buffalo, New York, is the volunteer vice president of operations for the historic West Side Rowing Club, also in Buffalo. He first started rowing while in high school and in the mid-1970s was on the first rowing team at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York.
However, his college rowing experience didn’t exactly get off on the right foot.

“The first day I rowed for Colgate, I slipped and put my foot through the boat and cracked the shell,” says Ed. “It was an old, donated boat and the only one in the program. I could have destroyed the whole rowing program in one fell swoop, but we patched the boat and kept on going.”

After college, Ed went back to Buffalo to work in the family business. For the next 10 years he competed as a member of the West Side Rowing Club, finally retiring when his wife was pregnant with their first child. But rowing is in the Corr family blood, as all four kids eventually became rowers, too.

When his rowing competition days ended, Ed joined the board of the West Side Rowing Club. Founded in 1912 for the youth of western New York, the club has a rich history, including sending teams to the Olympics in both 1936 and 1956. Even today, the club frequently sends individual athletes to international competitions, including the Olympic and Pan American games. It’s Ed’s favorite non-profit organization, and he has served it in several capacities including as president, as treasurer (three times), as well as in his current role as vice president.

“My rowing experience when I was a young man really changed my life in a positive way,” says Ed. “I met great people and participated in a fantastic sport, and I’ve been grateful for that. I believe in the mission of the West Side Rowing Club. The values of hard work and everything related to it are important life lessons.”

As a board member, Ed helps organize regattas, raise money and do whatever else is needed to keep things running smoothly — for example, driving the club’s truck and boat trailer in Buffalo’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. One of his major projects has been getting a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed boathouse built and operating.

“It’s a design from about 100 years ago, originally intended for the University of Wisconsin, but never built,” he says. “[We named it] the ‘Fontana Boathouse’ in honor of Charles and Marie Fontana, whose son Tom Fontana, a famous writer and producer, was the lead private donor to the project.”

Between all his responsibilities at the rowing club and Corr Distributors, Ed still finds time to row. He’ll occasionally sneak out in a single scull (a one-person boat) and row in the canal.

“I usually do this when nobody else is around,” says Ed. “I’m kind of a geezer around the 15- to 25-year-old crowd.” 

Gretchen Roufs, an 18-year janitorial supply industry veteran, owns a marketing and public relations company in San Antonio. To suggest someone you think should be featured in “Freetime,” contact her at