Approximately 300 people gathered into the hall at the Princeton Legion on Saturday, Jan. 14, to remember the life of Bob ‘Chief’ McIvor.
It was standing room only in the entranceway and a lineup extended onto the sidewalk.
McIvor died suddenly of natural causes Jan. 2. He was 70.
Dozens of people took the microphone to share a favourite Chief memory, and a slide show of hundreds of photographs of the man’s 100-watt smile, most of which included family, or fish, or both.
A local business printed stickers to hand around, featuring that so-familiar grin, and at one point the entire building was pumping fists in the air chanting: ‘Chief. Chief. Chief.’
Perhaps every sixth person who stood up to speak scanned the crowd and simply said: “Chief should have been here; he would really have loved this.”
One individual said he thought for the longest time that McIvor was the mayor, owing to the way he greeted everyone he met on the street with warmth and humour.
Regional district director Bob Coyne told the Spotlight in an interview that he admired many things about McIvor.
“He was very friendly, very outgoing and a champion for the underdog. He tried to be a role model for lots of young people.”
Coyne remarked on the impact one person can make.
“Some of the things that make living in a small town are great but are also awful,” Coyne said.
“We all know one another and when we lose one of our friends the whole community suffers.”
McIvor was remembered also for his hunting, fishing and hiking prowess, and his abilities as an athlete.
His granddaughter Tierra McIvor gave the eulogy.
“He was so full of knowledge and experience and was never hesitant to share any of it. He would go so far as to tell people his secret spots, even though we begged him not to,” she said.
McIvor was born in Princeton but was a member of the Stolo Nation Indian Band. He lived briefly in other Okanagan communities.
He is cherished as a patriarch, “the glue” as he has been described, and mourned especially by his siblings, children and grandchildren.