Bill Lepper bought his property on Hornby Island 45 years ago and wanted to leave something behind to his part-time community.
When he passed away in 2018 at the age of 81, he did just that, making a “significant contribution” in the form of a financial donation to the Hornby Island Community Fund.
“We were one of the beneficiaries of his estate,” says Karen Ross, executive director for the community fund.
She could not specify the amount, saying the organization was asked not to make the figure public, but could say it was in the five-figure range. The Hornby Island Community Fund was established in 2000 and is held in trust by the Comox Valley Community Foundation. As with similar funds, contributions are made toward the fund’s principle while the interest accrued goes to support community groups on an application basis.
Rather than a legacy fund, or targeted fund, the contribution from Lepper’s estate will be used for the general fund of the organization, meaning it can support a range of groups on Hornby.
In 1974, Lepper bought 10 acres on Little Tribune Bay, where he built his first cabin soon after. Ten years later, he built an addition to the cabin, followed by a new house in 1998.
Lepper was described as one of the community’s “seasonal” residents, dividing his time between Hornby and Vancouver’s West End, but as a news release from the community fund said, Hornby was his “first love.”
“The board of the Hornby Island Community Fund, on behalf of the Island, are appreciative of Bill’s generosity and pass their condolences to Bill’s family on his passing,” the statement said.
Ross further described Lepper as a great conversationalist, adding he was fondly regarded by many Hornby friends and the “Little Tribune beach folks.” He was an avid supporter of the arts on Hornby, with a fine collection of works by local artists, and was a regular attendee at the Hornby Festival and other musical and theatrical events. Lepper also served as a member of the Hornby Island Arts Council from 2003 to 2005.