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City mourning death of councillor Patrick Nicol

North Okanagan Regional District chair Patrick Nicol.
January 16, 2014 - 5:24 PM

“HE NEVER DID ANYTHING HALF WAY”

VERNON - A longtime Vernon politician will be remembered by colleagues, friends and the community as witty, generous, dedicated, and an all around class act.

Patrick Nicol had a 42-year career in radio broadcast, sat on City of Vernon council for 22 years and chaired the Regional District of North Okanagan before passing away this week after a long battle with cancer. He was 64 years old.

Kevin Rothwell, friend and former co-worker at Kiss FM, where Nicol worked for 42 years, saw Nicol earlier this week at a Winter Carnival meeting. Nicol was deeply involved in community events, and the carnival was just one of his many passions.

“He wasn’t feeling well but he always made a point of asking others how they were feeling,” Rothwell says.

Nicol was dedicated to his work until the very end. Rothwell recalls how Nicol gave everything for his community, working long hours, using money out of his own pocket, never claiming expenses for his role as councillor. 

“He’d get out to Cherryville, Lumby, Grindrod, and meet with the people in those communities, not just be in an office chair,” Rothwell says.

He remembers Nicol receiving a letter from a young girl asking for a park in her neighbourhood. Nicol made it happen.

“He never did anything halfway. If he got knocked down he’d get up, smile and continue. He worked so hard and set such a good example of what community service really is.”

Pete McIntyre, news director for Kiss FM, recalls how Nicol often paid for things at the radio station that no one knew about — jackets, lunches. A lot of people at the station are in tears today. Most who knew him were aware of his illness, but that knowledge hasn’t softened the shock.

“He was such a generous person,” McIntyre says.

Vernon mayor Rob Sawatzky will miss having Nicol at the council table. Sawatzky, a former physician, was the one to diagnose Nicol years ago.

“He functioned for many years with an illness that might have made lesser people unable to do the work he did,” Sawatzky says. “It’s a huge loss—30 years of his concern for the community and his wisdom.”

Sawatzky learned a lot from Nicol: respect, dignity, dedication, humour. He recalls how Nicol “smoothed the waters” of heated council discussions, always setting a respectful tone for everyone’s opinions, regardless of whether they matched his own.

“Sometimes, he would allow his wicked sense of humour some free reign and I always thought that was a real pleasure,” Sawatzky says. “He was a class act.”

Nicol had some legal troubles last year involving unpaid taxes, but he owned up to the accounting mistake, paid the taxes and fought it on principle. 

“If we could remember his example, that would be the thing that would most impress him,” Rothwell says.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infotelnews.ca, call 250-309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.

LINK: Big shoes to fill in wake of councillor's death - Infotel News Vernon

Image Credit: City of Vernon

- This story was updated at 4:40 p.m. to add reflections from friends and coworkers.

- This story was updated at 12:21 p.m. January 17 to include a picture from the City of Vernon.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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